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Empire of the Soul: Some Journeys in India

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  103 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Paul William Roberts's journeys through India span twenty years, and in Empire of the Soul, he creates a dazzling mosaic, by turns tragic and comic, of the subcontinent and its people. From the crumbling palaces of maharajas to the slums of Calcutta; from the ashrams of holy men to a millionaire drug dealer's heavily guarded fortress on India's border with China, Roberts c
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Hardcover, 368 pages
Published October 29th 1996 by Riverhead Hardcover
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Angie
Mar 23, 2008 Angie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is thick with history and visuals of India -- my cheap substitute for traveling there. You can smell the Chicken Masala when you open this book.
James
Sep 07, 2011 James rated it liked it
To me, going to India to find "truth" or "meaning" has always kind of seemed like something shallow people did in the 1970s. A kind of false awakening in a land where it's easy to shop around for a belief system that allows one to justify his/her preexisting views and opinions while claiming to have changed. Perhaps this is unchanged today (Eat, Pray, Love?)... Paul William Roberts confirms that this is indeed the case for many Western visitors to India. Especially in the 1970s, during which abo ...more
Carol Mcintosh
Feb 09, 2013 Carol Mcintosh rated it really liked it
This is the book that stared my long term long distance love affair with India. I have read it several times and have owned two copies. I really like the author's writing style, use of humor and ability to see both the good and the bad - and boy are there both in this book. After the first time I skip the parts dealing with his drug dealer acquaintance - it's very seamy and upsetting to me. I love how he uses history to enhance the story, and the array of different people he meets and deals with ...more
Arun Mor
Jun 29, 2014 Arun Mor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is an account of the visits that the author had to India during the seventies and nineties. He came to India in search of truth and explored various methods and visited many places to find it. He adds the historical details of the places he visits to add more life to them. My favorite chapters from the book were Goa and Baneras. The Goa chapter contains a brilliant summary of its history which generally gets ignored in the modern times.
The concluding chapter of the book is on Baneras a
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Reymond Page
Many wonderful moments in this book that make it worth the read. Part way through the book, I thought it was going to be the best book I'd ever read. By the end, I was happy I'd read it, but also happy I'd finished it. I think it was just a bit too long, and the wonder he carried into the writing could not be extended over that many pages.
If you like India, you'll definitely enjoy parts of this book.
Donna
Jan 06, 2008 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in India
He is from Cambridge and traveled to India in his late 20s and then 20 years later (in the 1990s). First trip was hippie times - drug but also searching out religious answers. In the later trip he goes back to the ashrams and has a change to analyze India and how it has changed in 20 years and how both trips affected him. Interesting book IF you are interested in India.
Van Powel
Sep 15, 2012 Van Powel rated it it was amazing
By far my favorite book on India. (Read this after I'd been there a couple times.) But then I love Roberts' satirical perspective on almost anything.
Jeremy
Apr 08, 2012 Jeremy rated it really liked it
Recommended and lent by Russ. The adventure through India that I wish I experienced.
Latha Lokanath Pradeep
Mar 05, 2013 Latha Lokanath Pradeep rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Latha by: My Guru
Love books on travel - this is one of the best I have ever read on travels in India.
Christine Rondeau
Nov 21, 2008 Christine Rondeau rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully written. Very entertaining and inspiring.
Maureen
I'm reading this to remind me of India.
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“People – Americans, mostly – realise how attached they are to material comforts when they arrive in India.” 3 likes
“In India, the past refuses to die, undisturbed by new realities.” 2 likes
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