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Confessions of a Thug

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  147 Ratings  ·  18 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)
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Pramod Nair
Jul 15, 2015 Pramod Nair rated it really liked it
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 and chilling at the same time. The author presents detailed accounts about the practice of Thuggee and the cult through the perspectiv
Jan 15, 2011 Kelsey rated it liked it
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
Jan 13, 2010 P rated it liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
I wouldn't say I 'liked' it as much as I found it useful as a historical document.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
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
May 16, 2011 Carlos rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2009
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.
Aug 24, 2013 SANTOSH REDDY rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 13, 2016 Will rated it it was ok
"'Barik Alla!' exclaimed my father; 'your face is bright in our eyes, Bhudrinath; and I have no doubt, lads,' said he to the knot of listeners, 'that the old Khayet has abundance of money and jewels, and his plunder will help to see us on to Nagpoor: so if he does not come to us of his own free will, we must even waylay him, and that too in the next march. A short time will decide this; and if he does not come, some of you Lughaees must be off to prepare the bhil or place of burial.'

But we were
Jan 02, 2015 Srikanth rated it it was amazing

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.
Dec 06, 2013 Maeve rated it really liked it
Ameer Ali didn't choose the thug life, the thug life chose him. Seriously.
Feb 15, 2011 Mark rated it it was ok
I never thought a book about a death cult could be so boring.
Danai Kadzere
Jul 22, 2015 Danai Kadzere rated it it was amazing
It was really a fun read and excellently written. The use of nested narration was brilliant and, especially taken in context (as a commissioned propaganda piece), it really tells a lot about the English people at the time - more so than about the Thuggee group!
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
Dec 16, 2013 Chitranjan Tyagi rated it it was amazing
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
Muhammad Tariq
Feb 18, 2016 Muhammad Tariq rated it it was amazing
I read this book in Urdu translated.
Feb 21, 2011 Jack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A movie was made about the Thugee. Amazing story and reminds me somewhat of an entrenched political organization that is not public.
Feb 13, 2013 Seth rated it really liked it

Imperialist, racist manifesto? Or, a secret jab at the hypocritical nature of colonialism? I guess we'll never know...
Jul 23, 2007 Padma rated it it was amazing
Tremendously exciting, and a critical novel in the history of the Anglo-Indian novel. Sadly, it's very hard to get a copy.
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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
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