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The Story of India

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  439 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
In this lavishly illustrated companion to his BBC TV series, Michael Wood weaves a spellbinding narrative out of the 10,000-year history of India. Home today to more than a fifth of the world's population, the subcontinent gave birth to the oldest and most influential civilization on Earth, to four world religions, and to the world's largest democracy. Now, as India bids t ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published August 16th 2007 by BBC Books
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(showing 1-30)
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Terry Grigg
Dec 18, 2015 rated it did not like it
Some nice photography, but I found the writing style very dry and irritating, like you would get from a crusty old professor. The layout of the book was also very disjointed jumping from subject to subject in a very haphazard manner. Wood always seems to paint an upbeat Pollyanna picture of the world full of rainbows and pink unicorns, without getting to grips with the subject at hand. He's one of these guys who thinks that by 'going native', (he's given his daughters Indian names), somehow he b ...more
Karthikeyan Iyer
Dec 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
I am usually quite skeptical about books by non-Indian authors that attempt to recount the story of India. It can be a struggle for someone not exposed to the living culture of India to understand its mythology, separate facts from fiction and connect the dots. But Michael Wood has, in this regard, done a great job. The book is difficult to put down.
Jay Bostwick
Mar 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india, history
Wood struck a good balance here between sufficiency and brevity, which is a very difficult mark to hit when it comes to such an expansive history as India has. I would even say that for a casual exploration of India's history, this is probably your best choice.

The audiobook was especially enjoyable. Sam Dastor, the narrator, has a theatrical streak and actually mimics the voice and accent of those quoted (including Indians, Americans, and English voices). This struck me as a bit silly at first,
Nov 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can honestly say it was a breath of fresh air to be able to read a book about India where the author actually had an affection for the country as oppose to all of the those of the British Raj era who seemed to loathe the country and despise it. Michael Wood's enthusiasm for India made me want to visit and the detailed history made me realise we take certain countries and their people for granted.
Dec 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Fascinating overview. There is just so much to learn I feel like I need to read it again to solidify the events in my mind.
John Turlockton
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
It's more a thought diary as the author travels through India and meets a lot of people (including architects and knowledgeable people), certainly it's not a thorough history book. It's a very shallow overview of Indian history and contains a lot of speculation, and it also flits around from topic to topic, rather than delving in detail into the difference aspects of a society or particular empire.

Even a highly regarded historian shouldn't speculate so much without evidential backing, but this g
Amit Kumar
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
to start with its a beautiful book. writer takes U into the heart of India. You get a deeper understanding of the thinking and customs of India.
it gives only a brief outline though, but goes into details in some of the lesser known aspects of Indian history - for example- You get to know much about kushans and especially kanishka. there are very few details about him in other standard books. they ruled India for almost 300 years and had great impact on Indian thought. though few people kn
Jun 11, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have not seen the accompanying TV show.

The book as a very broad overview. Nothing is covered in detail but it does give a good flavour of the history of India. It's a good starting point.

The book is quite disjointed, which appears to be down to the fact that the history of India is not completely linear, and the author tries to throw in a travel guide layer to the book.

On the Kindle edition I found the maps to be awful (this is the same with pretty much any embedded map on Kindle) - far too sm
Alex Annear
Feb 11, 2017 rated it liked it
I certainly didn't intend, in reading this book, to spend a couple hundred pages reading (or several hours listening) about the ancient archaeological history, and the pre-Middle Ages history of the Indian subcontinent. I would've loved for the final couple chapters, about the Hindu Nationalist movement, the Muslim League, Partition, Gandhi, Nehru, and the even more modern history of the BJP Hindu Nationalists sweeping into political power, to be the major subjects of the book. But this book is ...more
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating history

Selecting key places for Indian history, Wood guides us through time, from prehistoric settlers to modern times. With fluid writing and lively narration this book is an excellent read.
David Stuart Ryan
Aug 30, 2013 rated it really liked it

I am always impressed by the intuitive grasp Michael Wood shows of his historical subjects, and being both an historian and chronicler of India myself, I was fascinated to see his take on the country. Not least his future projections for how the subcontinent will become an intellectual powerhouse for the approaching computer age, the Indian nation is already the second most productive software producer in the world after the USA.

I have to go along with Michael Wood's interpretation of the trip o
Alan Bartlett
Jan 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been a fan of Michael Wood ever since his first TV history In Search of the Dark Ages back in the late 70s (where has the time gone?!). I've also become increasingly interested in India over the last few years after two recent visits to that incresible country. This book is more of a snapshot of the history of India focusing on the key periods in its history and also a part travelogue. Wood's love of India shines through this book and it is a good easy introduction to the history of India. ...more
Jan 13, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, india
A gorgeous, insightful, but unsatisfying, survey of Indian prehistory and history. The book's plan roughly correlates with its excellent BBC companion series, The Story of India. But this is not a book for beginners.

The author, British historian Michael Wood, assumes that the reader already has an decent understanding of the subcontinents' geography, languages, history, and culture. (An assumption that is undoubtedly more justified in the U.K. than in the the U.S., given England's colonial conne
Dilpreet Singh
Dec 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It a great work, which makes the reader (or listener) well acquainted with the history, culture & the political situation of India both in the past as well as the present.

The author has subtly intertwined the past as well as the present of India with perfection. It takes us on a journey called INDIA, painting the canvas with its rich history & enlightening the reader with the diverse aspects of the nation and finally closing the masterpiece with the present.

The author has undertaken the
Don O'goodreader
I'm planning a trip to India. This book turned out to not be what I was looking for. India is Michael Wood's travelogue where he reminisces about his extensive visits to the subcontinent, but his desire to be a historian overwhelms the narrative with long historical digressions ... heavy on adjectives and short on details.

"It is a long and tortured story, full of splendors and miseries, of pride and greed, and of fantastic cultural crossovers..."

I expect there are better travelogues and better
Mar 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
I have admired the work of Michael Wood for some years now and this book clearly shows that this admiration was no folly on my part.

The Story of India is a rich, sumptuous and delighful travelogue through the history and culture of a truly great nation.

The book abounds with delighful images - striking, not only in thier honesty and clarity - but also in the vibrancy of their colour.

It is not often that you can feel proud to own a book, or have read a book - I am both with this.
Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
This is a pretty good introduction to the long and often complicated history of India, especially if you also watch the BBC series. However what really annoyed me about the book was that it had only one map, which obviously had been included without any regard for places mentioned in the book, because a lot of the important sites such as Mathura, Ayodhya and Tanjore weren't on it. That's just not good enough! Bad, Michael!
Jan 23, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book in the New Delhi airport right before the 15h flight to Chicago. It is Michael Wood's book written to accompany the BBC/PBS miniseries with the same name.
The book tries to be a travelogue and an episodic history book at the same time. I don't think it succeeds being either.
At times a hard read. I recommend you watch the miniseries instead.
Feb 03, 2010 rated it did not like it
Had to stop listening to this one early. The book's focus is on ancient India, which is not what I was expecting going into it. I was hoping to learn more about Gandhi and the Indian Revolution. Instead I'm learning about archaeology - a subject I don't find particularly interesting.
Vikas Lather
Oct 31, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I am not very impressed by this book. I feel that somehow, Wood did not make honest attempt to reflect Indian history; I felt that he was stuck with the idea of appeasement to religious sentiments. I don't like non fiction books that do not follow trajectory of factual accuracy.
Sep 01, 2010 rated it liked it
The Story of India goes far back into the history of ancient times, old civilization and the beginning of some world religions. It is a complex book with many details brought to light from the ancient texts, traditions and years of archaeological researches.
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Informative even if too short for its scope. At times, the book is too oriented towards its main conclusions and not critical enough. On the whole, a good book for most of us Indians too for a genuine view on history
Susan (the other Susan)
Jan 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I only wish that every time I opened the book, the gorgeous and mesmerizing documentary series sprang to life in my hands. Is it fair to subtract a star because the book isn't quite as compelling as the TV series? Of course not. But still.
Jul 27, 2012 rated it liked it
I didn't care that much for the author's style, which frequently meanders between the actual history and his personal travelogue. Nothing wrong with it, it just didn't appeal to me. I would rather have just had the history without the "personal touches".
Meenakshi Sundaram
Mar 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have seen the BBC documentary series a few years back loved it. Thought would read the books too and see how they are.

Lizanne Whitlow
Highly recommend this author!
Matthew Stanfill
Jul 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Its a nice quick overview of the history of India... Its nothing too deep but its entertaining if you know nada of India.
Sham Al-Ghazali
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
Yeah. Something unappealing about reading the history of a country from an orientalist point of view. Never again.
May 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book. Covers almost the entire history of India.
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you want to understand India, this book is the one that is right. A story of creation , the coming of aryans, the mauryas, the cholas, the India we live now.
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Librarian Note: There's more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Michael David Wood is an English historian & broadcaster. He's presented numerous tv documentary series. Library of Congress lists him as Michael Wood.

Wood was born in Moston, Manchester, & educated at Manchester Grammar School & Oriel College, Oxford. His specia
More about Michael Wood...

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