India: A History
This book represents the best one volume answer to everything you ever wanted to know about India but were afraid to ask. Starting with the earliest civilizations (the Harrapans of the Indus Valley) and wendi ...more
The fundamental difference, of course, is that while South Africa and India have both been inhabited fo ...more
India is far to eclectic to try and cover it's thousands of years of history for all parts into one book. The south and the north have very different histories. The rise and fall of kingdoms to be covered in one book comes across very rushed and hard to follow.
I would find it much more beneficial to pick an area ...more
Keay's meticulousness and resourcefulness are quite evident in the book. Referenced from many excellent sources - old and new; western and indian - it is extremely informative and fluent. It's like an old wise man sitting beside you and recounting what all he has s ...more
The book presents the facts in an unbiased manner. This is evident in the initial chapters, where the author provides different accounts of the Indian Gods. He makes a very good attempt to cover the earlier civilizations and medieval India, of which there are not m ...more
Only shortcoming I found was that the narrative felt a bit rushed at times. But that may be unavoidable considering this is a single volume history of a subcontinent spanning 6 millenia and not missing any notable event that. Highly recommended
Where facts were available, the book suffered from the fact that it was extremely difficult to relate what was happening in Nort ...more
There may be a reason why foreign writers are better to read if one want to read Indian history in an unbiased manner without any ideological spectacle and this book is an example of it. He tries to play a role of an umpire among various sides but in current day scenario just as umpire can make error of judgment and have his own faults, he too is not fully impartial as a third umpire should be.
India by John Keay can be the most apt reading if one want to understand more than 5000 year old Indian ...more
This is THE book for all amateur history buffs. History was never so fascinating, John Keay has a knack with words and facts. He chisels them, embellishes them with interesting anecdotes, polishes them and finally leaves it to the reader to paint his own picture on it. Vivid, sprawling, ambitious and worthy of an epic. Truly is a classic and leaves the reader wanting for more.
John Keay has done us a great service by laying out the book in sections age wise, which makes the history easy to follow. The history of the country has been extremely turbulent, with shifting borders, loyalties and influences. It can be bewildering, and the manner in which the book has been written and laid out mak ...more
The biggest negative of this book is that its approach is far too top-down. There is a virtual absence of subaltern history; particularly as the time-line tends towards Modern India; there is a decen ...more
Maybe for India these developments don't ...more
Keay is often sardonic, funny, sarcastic, witty and biting, and yet manages a neutrality that my saffronised history texts substituted with a deci ...more
I completed this book in a period of about two months, reading 10-15 pages each day, and there was not a single day when I was dispappointed. Each day revealed some amazing fact and left me craving for more.
Although the book covers each period in not too much detail, as that would span several volumes (see The History and Cult ...more
What is consipicuous by absence is the adequate coverage of the "people's history" i.e the cultural, social and religious changes happening at the hinterland away from the centres of political power. Though this particular aspect , mire ...more
This book gives an overview of 4000 years of history. It is history in the old-fashioned sense, full of names, places, and dates. Reading this book has helped me sympathise with people who complain that history is "boring", cause it's just about long lists of kings and such. I don't want to say that Keay's book is boring; but as a westerner with ...more
So why do I read history? For a person like me, who perhaps asks ...more
Wow, this book took a long time to finish. It attempts to cover a huge amount of history in not that many pages. The book can be a bit difficult to stay focused on, especially when covering older history which is heavily based on speculation.
The book does assume a lot of knowledge about Indian geography and culture that was a bit frustrating. I spent a lot of time googling Vedas or maps.
Really the best part of the book were the little bits like "they had scarcely begun the mysterious business of...more
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Thanks and enjoy and let me know your thoughts about this book in my book club
Dr. Afshan Hashmi
John Keay is the author of about 20 books, all factual, mostly historical, and largely to do with Asia, exploration or Scotland. His first book stayed in print for thirty years; many others ...more