Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Confessions of a Thug” as Want to Read:
Confessions of a Thug
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Confessions of a Thug

3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  116 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Philip Meadows Taylor's Confessions of a Thug (1839) is the most influential novel about India before Kipling's Kim and was one of the best-selling crime novels of the nineteenth century. In the course of a confession to a white 'sahib' the imprisoned Ameer Ali recounts his life as a devoted follower of Thuggee, a secret religious cult practising ritual mass murder and rob ...more
Paperback, 602 pages
Published October 15th 1998 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1839)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Confessions of a Thug, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Confessions of a Thug

Paradise Lost by John MiltonKing Lear by William ShakespeareThe Gift of the Magi by O. HenryChristmas Stories by Charles DickensThe History of Tom Jones, a Foundling by Henry Fielding
The Haunted Bookshop Books
46th out of 96 books — 14 voters
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëWuthering Heights by Emily BrontëHamlet by William ShakespeareThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Oxford World's Classics
184th out of 198 books — 42 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 268)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
This turned out to be a fascinating novel, despite being written in a boring and slow manner. I think my main problem was the plodding pace from one event to the next with little variation of tension or conflict. Every page seemed about the same. Because of that, I felt that I had to slog through each chapter even though the material was interesting.

The story is about a man named Ameer Ali, who is based on an Indian man that the author knew. It is written as if the author were taking a dictation
Pramod Nair
A fascinating read which narrates the chilling tale of the cult of 'Thuggee' in the form of a crime thriller.

While there maybe contrasting opinions and arguments about the historic truth about the cult and the cult being a fictitious invention by the British, this novel from Meadows Taylor presents the reader with a spine-tingling tale of crime which is exciting to read. The author presents detailed accounts about the practice of Thuggee and the cult through the perspective of an anti-hero name
I wouldn't say I 'liked' it as much as I found it useful as a historical document. As scholar Parama Roy and others have argued, the cult of Thuggee was a figment of the British imagination. And here we have the text that popularized the figure of the Thug. The Thug served as a pretext for the nascent colonial administration to build a whole infrastructure devoted to eradicating this criminal fraternity. Through the Thug, the British were able to justify their own imperial designs: since none of ...more
The word "thug" comes from the Thuggee (deceivers) who allegedly plagued India prior to the arrival of the British. Though there is some controversy nowadays as to the extent of their existence, tales of their exploits made a strong impression on the 19th Century British and helped justify a stronger colonial presence on the Indian subcontinent.

Confessions of a Thug is the story of one of these men, Ameer Ali, a Muslim thug who led a long and successful career as a Thug before his luck ran out.
I got a copy of this book after searching many bookshops.The author colonel Taylor was a British resident in the small principality of Shorapur in Yadgir district of Karnataka state(around 1850 s).Though Colonel Sleeman was more directly involved in the capture of many thugs like Ameer Ali,it was Col Taylor who by his book made the English people more curious about this cult .I dont agree with some of the critics opinion that the idea of Thugee was a British innovation which they could use as a ...more
Barry H. Wiley
Originally published in 1839, this is the book that gave the word "thug" to the English language and is the first novel to make Thuggee its central theme.

[The word thug means deceiver, from the Hindi verb, thugna, which means to deceive. Thug is correctly pronounced Toog, slightly aspirated. From Col. Philip Meadows Taylor, Confessions of a Thug, Kegan Paul, Trench & Co., London, 1839.]

Unlike most, if not all, later books to incorporate Thuggee, the hero, or anti-hero in Confessions, is

A thriller this book is. A favorite of queen Victoria.Author Philip Meadows Taylor takes us through the late 18th century India where this cult was practiced.The book was published on 1839. The main character of this book is Syed Amir ali.

It is surreal and we are amazed that this was the state of India at that point of time. If truth is stranger than fiction absolute truth is so spectacular that lies are somehow better.

It starts with the Amir Ali narrating to the author in the jail about his l
Melissa Jackson
A repetitive and Bibilically stylized text, Thug offers no actual engagement with the characters/situations they find themselves in and you thoroughly despise the protagonist. I realize the book stands as a symbol of British Imperialism and that it was Queen Victoria's favorite novel but personally, I couldn't see the analogy through all the strangling and Ameer Ali's ego.
Ameer Ali didn't choose the thug life, the thug life chose him. Seriously.
I never thought a book about a death cult could be so boring.
If you're looking for redemption and a happily ever after tale look elsewhere. Confessions of a Thug is the story of how vile humans are to one another. What that vileness creates in others is put on clear display. Ameer Ali, the anti-hero of the narrative, starts out as a promising boy and quickly evolves into a pitiless killer of men, women, and children on a mass scale. Through Taylor's unadorned writing style the reader can see that we all have the easy potential of evil inside us if merely ...more
Jason Shaffner
How can you go wrong with a charismatic murderer "confessing" his crimes of marauding India and strangling more than 700 people in the name of "Thugee" and rupees? For a book written in the mid 1800s, the prose is surprisingly clear and uncluttered -- it has a popular-fiction feel. And there are some wonderful moments of disgust, humor, and surprise. But it is just too long, repetitive, and often pointless. An abridged edition would make a better read!
Chitranjan Tyagi
Read this book while serving in the district of Seoni, the main playground of Thugs. Seoni is located almost midway between Sagar and Nirmal. The land is full of forest and there is folklore of Thugs related to almost every significant place on the road from Seoni to Sleemnabad (Police station established by Captain Sleeman to control Thugs). There is a village named Bori, inhabited by Pathans depicted as native village of Amir Ali is also located in the district of Seoni. It was great to read a ...more
A movie was made about the Thugee. Amazing story and reminds me somewhat of an entrenched political organization that is not public.

Imperialist, racist manifesto? Or, a secret jab at the hypocritical nature of colonialism? I guess we'll never know...
Tremendously exciting, and a critical novel in the history of the Anglo-Indian novel. Sadly, it's very hard to get a copy.
Cynthia Jones
Cynthia Jones marked it as to-read
May 26, 2015
Karishma Chopra
Karishma Chopra marked it as to-read
May 26, 2015
Shruthi Mudireddy
Shruthi Mudireddy marked it as to-read
May 23, 2015
Ajay Khandal
Ajay Khandal marked it as to-read
May 14, 2015
Rishabh Tiwari
Rishabh Tiwari marked it as to-read
May 14, 2015
Michael marked it as to-read
May 13, 2015
Ajay Mishra
Ajay Mishra marked it as to-read
May 01, 2015
Cynthia Coletti
Cynthia Coletti marked it as to-read
Apr 30, 2015
Christopher York
Christopher York marked it as to-read
Apr 30, 2015
Rajesh marked it as to-read
Apr 29, 2015
Bulbul is currently reading it
Apr 08, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Nether World
  • The Life of P. T. Barnum
  • Three Gothic Novels : The Castle of Otranto ~ Vathek ~ Frankenstein
  • A Child of the Jago
  • The Works of Algernon Charles Swinburne
  • The Natural History of Selborne
  • Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery
  • The History of Pendennis: His Fortunes & Misfortunes, His Friends & His Greatest Enemy
  • The Ordeal of Richard Feverel
  • The Life of Buffalo Bill: Or, the Life and Adventures of William F. Cody, As Told by Himself
  • Tropical Gangsters: One Man's Experience with Development and Decadence in Deepest Africa
  • Folly Du Jour (Joe Sandilands, #7)
  • A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier: Some Adventures, Dangers, and Sufferings of Joseph Plumb Martin
  • Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas
  • The Ring and the Book (Broadview literary texts)
  • Fantastic Fables
  • Captured by the Indians: 15 Firsthand Accounts, 1750-1870
  • The Lincoln-Douglas Debates
Colonel Philip Meadows Taylor CSI, an Anglo-Indian administrator and novelist, was born in Liverpool, England. At the age of fifteen he was sent out to India to become a clerk to a Bombay merchant. The merchant was in financial difficulties, though. In 1824, Taylor gladly accepted a commission in the service of the Nizam of Hyderabad, to which service he remained devotedly attached throughout his ...more
More about Philip Meadows Taylor...
Tippoo Sultaun: A Tale of the Mysore War Tara: A Mahratta Tale: Historical Novel of India A Nobel Queen, Volume I of Volume III A Nobel Queen, Volume II of Volume III A Nobel Queen, Volume III of Volume III

Share This Book