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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)
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Kelsey
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
...more
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
...more
P
I wouldn't say I 'liked' it as much as I found it useful as a historical document.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
Carlos
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.
...more
SANTOSH REDDY
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
...more
Srikanth

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
...more
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.
Maeve
Ameer Ali didn't choose the thug life, the thug life chose him. Seriously.
Mark
I never thought a book about a death cult could be so boring.
Isidore
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
Jack
A movie was made about the Thugee. Amazing story and reminds me somewhat of an entrenched political organization that is not public.
Seth

Imperialist, racist manifesto? Or, a secret jab at the hypocritical nature of colonialism? I guess we'll never know...
Padma
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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50296
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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