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A Concise History of India (Cambridge Concise Histories)

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  228 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
In a challenging new history of modern India, the authors explore the imaginative and institutional structures that have changed and sustained the country. While previous histories have been composed as handmaids of British nationalism or as products of emerging nationalist identities, this book challenges the notion that a continuous meaning can be applied to social categ ...more
Paperback, 324 pages
Published December 3rd 2001 by Cambridge University Press (first published October 1st 2001)
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Priscilla Ferrara
A great resource for South Asian history, which is quite a feat! India has a very complex history and it was very hard for me to crack into it. However, the book provides a great reference point and overview to refer back to. The only setback of this book was the dry writing style.
Tarun Gupta
Feb 19, 2012 Tarun Gupta rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, ias
D. Metcalf has tried well to present the Indian history in a very small book. be concise and sense of completeness is very hard to accomplish. This book is base for awareness building about India.
Sydney O (Сидней О)
I really enjoyed this book. The information was presented chronologically in a way that made it easy to follow and easy to keep track of the people involved. (The writing is academic, not flowy- which I found helpful in this case). There was a lot of detail, but you have to remember that it says 'concise' in the title; so, there are quite a few points missing.
Overall, there was a lot of useful information in this book, and it was presented in a fairly neutral manner with a lot of details that he
Scott Strand
It's exactly as advertised: concise (very), historical (in the academic sense of the term), and focused on Modern India (with regrettably little exploration of the profound depths of political and religious history that led to modern events).

The Metcalfs deserve applause for condensing 450 years of history - in a region better classified as a continent than a country - into 362 pages. More than a year a page! Seriously, wow! They cover the highlights, the major figures (their sketch of Nehru's
Sep 11, 2014 Colin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
India is a really fascinating country. Unfortunately, this is possibly too concise to really do it justice. There is little time to cover many things in great detail, which leads to it being rather difficult to get in to. Additionally, I wasn't too impressed by the quality of the prose. There are several sentences that are very heavy on subclauses, with some that could do with being left to the end of sentences or cut out entirely. Nevertheless, in a short page limit Metcalf seems to do a good j ...more
Feb 10, 2014 Bertport rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this is a good way to get yourself orientated with Indian history from the Mughal period to the present. I was mainly just trying to get to know the lay of the land, so to speak, establishing some rough familiarity with major events, people, and trends. There were some interpretive surprises for me, too, though. The authors write that in the Mughal Empire, Muslim and Hindu had more in common, and worked together more harmoniously, than has been commonly thought, and that the social diffe ...more
James Benenson
Jan 07, 2008 James Benenson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After going there I realized I knew next to nothing about the factors that shape modern Indian views of the world; after reading this I realized I barely knew anything at all about India.

This is a fascinating, dense, readable history that i would highly recommend to anyone with plans to travel to India, or who wants to better understand this up and coming world power.

Aug 30, 2008 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: academic
This is not a recommendation to pick this up unless you have an assigned interest in the subject, but for what it is, it's probably the best survey available. Indian history is very challenging and ridiculously diverse - probably the most difficult history I've ever tried to wrap my brain around. A good survey is useful to have on hand.
Jan 01, 2010 Neelroop rated it really liked it
Read it on my trip to India, it's extremely well written and surprisingly engaging. The authors depict India's history from an academic perspective and put events in a global context, enabling the reader to understand the nation and its current sociopolitical environment.
Xianglong Yu
Jun 09, 2014 Xianglong Yu rated it it was amazing
Shelves: english
From pre-colonial India, the East India Comapny Raj, to the Nehru's speech, this book presents the ups and downs of the modern India society, triumph and tradedy, shinning or others. That is a good story 'with clear and friendly eyes'.
Feb 28, 2015 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Complete waste of my time
Feb 28, 2012 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really great--moves along at breakneck speed historically but manages to be detailed and general at the same time. Quite the feat.
Though this book was a bit much at times - there are LOTS of difficult names in Indian history - I felt like it was a well-written, *interesting* history book.
Nov 17, 2007 Deb marked it as to-read
I won't have even started this, I think, till after I return from Hyderabad. Ah well. A gift from Chris' parents, I'm sure it's a good primer on Indian history.
Shaheera Pesnani
Deatiled but Metcalf & Metcalf are quite sympathetic towards the British.
Feb 08, 2010 ih marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, own
This is informative, fairly short (i.e. fits my attention span), and interesting! I read it chapter by chapter for a class, but I'd like to think I would have read it on my own.
Nora W
Read during Mrs.Foley's History of India class, Upper Spring.
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Barbara Daly Metcalf is a Professor Emeritus of History at the University of California, Davis. She is a specialist in the history of South Asia, especially the colonial period, and the history of the Muslim population of India and Pakistan. She previously served as the Dean of the College of Letters and Science at the University of California, Davis, and as the Alice Freeman Palmer Professor of H ...more
More about Barbara D. Metcalf...

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