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The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  338 ratings  ·  68 reviews
From the bestselling author of Return of a King, the story of how the East India Company took over large swaths of Asia, and the devastating results of the corporation running a country.

In August 1765, the East India Company defeated the young Mughal emperor and set up, in his place, a government run by English traders who collected taxes through means of a private army.<
Hardcover, 576 pages
Published September 10th 2019 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
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Harshwardhan Bajpai I am halfway through the book and so far I've enjoyed it. Having read the textbook version of events through academic sources, this was like watching…moreI am halfway through the book and so far I've enjoyed it. Having read the textbook version of events through academic sources, this was like watching a movie. Author writes very well.
Will try to write a review after I finish reading it. (less)
Shahbaz Ahmed Sir! please send post colonial analyses of the Anarchy

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Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The question of how a relatively small group of Englishmen was able to subjugate the entire sprawling nation of India is a source of lasting disquiet. Like all of William Dalrymple's books, this history of the East India Company inspires both awe and melancholy. The EIC arrived in India at a moment in which the power of the Mughal Empire had already been shattered. Aurangzeb had mismanaged his realms, and Maratha and Afghan forces were rising on its peripheries. The death blow to Mughal power ho ...more
David Wineberg
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The story of the East India Company, nominally of London, is a huge, sprawling, fascinating and gripping collection of great stories. The stories are of wars, battles, heroes, cowards, lovers, fools, incompetents, rape, plunder, torture and death. Lots of death. William Dalrymple has linked the stories into the history of the Company, that unregulated, arrogant and racist firm that took over the Indian subcontinent, piece by piece from the early 1700s, and held it and milked it until 1859 (when ...more
Ashish Iyer
Okay guys here is my longest review. To be honest I am not a fan of long reviews. Even if I come across any long reviews of my friends, I mostly ignore or just read 2 paragraphs. (I have huge respect for friends; it’s just me who is lazy enough to not read those long reviews). I am writing this review to justify why I am giving 2 stars to this book considering it has got 4.23/5 stars (199 ratings).

I had always been curious how the British had conquered India, with so few troops. The East India
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india
William Dalrymple tells how a single business operation replaced the Mughal empire to rule the Indian subcontinent. The East India Company was a first major multi-national corporation, and an early example of a joint stock enterprise. Most events occur between 1756-1803, around the time of the American and French revolutions. The story begins in 1599 with the charter of the Company, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and the lifetime of Shakespeare.

The Company was preceded by Walt
Amitava Das
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is another scholarly work of India’s colonial history , written with as much panache , passion and verve as I have come to expect from the finest living historian of colonial India , focusing on the anarchic period in Hindusthan triggering after the death of the last Mughal super power Aurangzeb in 1707 (an emperor who collected ten times more revenue than his contemporary King of France Louis XIV and contributed to a quarter of global GDP during his reign ) continuing till 1804 when the Ea ...more
Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
***I was granted an ARC of this via Netgalley from the publisher.***

Imagine if a multinational corporation not only was a global leader in trade but also had at its beck and call an army which it used to subjugate other countries to protect its profits and interests. It may seem like a farfetched scenario but in the past a corporation with these characteristics existed: The East India Company. The rise and excesses of what would become the world’s first great multinational corporatio
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Dalrymple's writing is so vivid, every page is full of colour. This is not an exception from the rule at all. He manages to make every page accessible to the wider public without losing credibility points from the academic interest either. This was like reading Treasure Island or a Wilbur Smith novel. Except why would you, if history is that bit more real, brutal and unforgiving?
Andrew Howdle
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Anarchy investigates a fascinating story: the rise and fall of the East India Company from the Elizabethan period through to the Victorian. The range of research and depth of narration is breathtaking. The result is a narrative filled with farce, horror, and perceptive analysis. For farce, imagine two mighty armies doing battle in a fog... well trying to but for the fact that they cannot see one another. For horror, conjure up treachery and rape as a political methodology. The book is a por ...more
Sahil Pradhan
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 1930, the American historian and philosopher Will Durant wrote that Britain’s ‘conscious and deliberate bleeding of India… [was the] greatest crime in all history’. He was not the only one to denounce the rapacity and cruelty of British rule, and his assessment was not exaggerated. Almost thirty-five million Indians died because of acts of commission and omission by the British—in famines, epidemics, communal riots and wholesale slaughter like the reprisal killings after the 1857 War of Indep ...more
Zeb Kantrowitz
How did a mercantile proposition turn into the largest private army in the world, that was able to conquer practically all of India (including Pakistan and Bangladesh). Originally given the Royal English Charter in 1600, to be the exclusive English rights to trade with South India, the East India Company (EIC, the Company) began with one ship and cargo until in the end they controlled directly or indirectly an area with a population of over 250 million.

Beginning in the middle 1700s,
There was a lot of good and interesting information in this book, but it was hard to get through. I think it just need to be trimmed and cleaned up a bit.
Sep 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reads much like a textbook and you must really be interested to do more than skim. The photos are really helpful.
Patrick Elsey
This book is ok, but it suffers a massive case of pre colonial nostalgia. The Mungal Empire was just guilty of any of the things the EIC did but the author seems to forgive that so it fails a but as a book
Karan Singh
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Quick two-word review: Effin awesome!

[Slightly longer version below]

An obscure trading outfit run from a London office only five windows wide comes to control vast swathes of land, people, and resources across the world.

How? By what means? Under whose aegis? Governed by which legal framework?

Provocative questions. Complex and emotive. As he tries to stitch together some answers in The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company, the author runs into four problems tha
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
From the first paragraph of the Introduction, we're left in no doubt: this is all about loot, which is, I now know, a Hindi word. The East India Company was a legal gangster enterprise dreamt up by men, many of whom we would regard as pirates, during the reign of Elizabeth I. It's a page turner, which is quite something for a work which also appears to have impeccable scholarship.

Few people come out of it well: the Indian aristocracy are greedy and foolish, the British are greedier and unscrupulous.
Mike Glaser
Very interesting history of the East India Company and their rise in the Indian subcontinent. A number of lessons that are still pertinent today and another reminder of how Great Britain stumbled onto their empire.
Mohammed Khateeb Kamran
Outstanding book. The author has done a tremendous job of showing how it was more due to the personal and moral failings of the nawabs and the aristocracy that led to their decline. It was not due to lack of technology but it was the Indians' tyranny, decadence, backstabbing, laziness and arrogance that led to their conquest by the British.

Looking forward to reading Seir Mutaqherin by Syed Ghulam Hussain Khan and Ibrat nama by Fakir Khair ud-Din Ilahabadi on which this book is mainly
Risto J
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dear William, may your moustaches never grow grey Sir!

What a splendid book. Pacey narrative, a lot of historical details compiled from all sides.
Farrukh Pitafi
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I have read this season.
S Ashok
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anarchy – The rise of the East India Company

The rule of British in India was started by a company based out of London the East India Company. Surprisingly, it was not the British government that conquered the Indian subcontinent but a small company based out of London. This is surprising in many ways because typically conquests have been done by rival powers from different parts of the world. Like the Mongols, the Mughals, etc but the East India Company was a group of merchants who w
So who were the East India Company? In this short video DalrympleWill introduces his new book TheAnarchy The Relentless Rise of the East India Company, out now.

Description: William Dalrymple's new book tells the story of how the East India Company transformed itself from a small trading company into a powerful colonial force that used its
Oct 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somewhere between pages 350-400 into The Anarchy a man by the name of Sir David Ochterlony is called to facilitate communication between the Mughal emperor Shah Alam and East India Company’s Lord Lake. Sir David is fluent in Urdu and Persian and having been in India for many years, is familiar with the customs of the place. More than that. Sir David has gone native. He has numerous Indian wives and is so smitten by the country that he would rather never leave. He is also an old friend of the aut ...more
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Anarchy recounts South Asia’s history during the second half of the 18th century, a violent 50 years in which the sub-continent transitioned from Mughal to Company rule. More than anything else, the story is a tragedy, but Dalrymple also utilizes the narrative to provide a stern warning to modern readers living in a highly corporatized global society. From his conclusion, “...Our world is far from post-imperial, and quite probably never will be. Instead Empire is transforming itself into for ...more
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, history, indian
The Anarchy is a popular history book on the East Indian Company(EIC) in 18th Century India. Dalrymple regale us the rise of the EIC from a Tudor privateering operation full of ex-Caribbean privates to an imperial power. Considering that the British were pretty late to the spice trade in India compared to the Portuguese, Dutch, and the French, their raise as an imperial power is extraordinary.

Rise of of the first Multinational Corporation:

East Indian Company(EIC) basicall
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ugh, I wish Goodreads allowed for half-star ratings because this is a 4.5 if ever there was one. The Anarchy is a grand William Dalrymple history of South Asian history during the British colonial period, ala Return of a King, The Last Mughal, and White Mughals. So it is, of course, stupendously researched (especially in South Asian sources) and splendidly written.

But the narrative here is also a lot bigger than those previous books, which generally centered on fairly concentrated events. By tr
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a deeply researched engrossing account of the evolution of a rapacious company from its humble origins as a group of ambitious British merchants.
The book starts appropriately with this sentence, "One of the first Indian words to enter the English language was the Hindustani slang for plunder: loot. This word was rarely heard outside the plains of north India until the late eighteenth century, when it suddenly became a common term across Britain."
It ends ominously:
The East India Company remai/>
Radhika Roy
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such an interesting read ! I loved how Dalrymple maintained an objective view throughout the text, not favouring any character or any party. He enlisted the positives and negatives of all.

The Anarchy is an indictment of the East India Company. An apt warning categorising the influence that corporations have on the way governments function. Corporate lobbying, in this day and age, being the prime example of corruption spread by a company and legitimised by the government.

The East India Company
Andrew Clough
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book hoping to figure out how the British were able to conquer India despite the fact that it was so far away and getting large numbers of soldiers there was hard. One part of the answer seems to be that their profits let them hire enough natives to form small armies trained to European standards. Another is that soldiers with muskets with bayonets firing volleys by rank were a lot more effective than what the Indians had at the moment, though the Indians had had rough technological ...more
Ajay Goel
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is Romila Thapar meets Wilbur Smith. Rarely have I read a piece of researched history which is such a page turner; of its 500 pages, about 100 are devoted to footnotes and references. And it deals with the systematic pillage of wealth from Indian subcontinent, by a corporation that was formed to trade, and ‘wage war’, as necessary.
The book starts with 1599 when the East India Company (EIC) charter was approved, covering the next 200 years of EIC operations in India. About four-fifth o
Jayesh Thakur
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this book author writes about the beginning of the east India company ,Their starting of trading in India in 1600,how it rose to become the largest multinational corporate organization in the world. contemporary companys from the other parts of the world ,Politics in India.
After that Authors turns his focus on the era of 1750 in the India,politics in the bengal state ,situation of India in 18th century and power struggle between the rulers and how east India company started benefiting o
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William Dalrymple was born in Scotland and brought up on the shores of the Firth of Forth. He wrote the highly acclaimed bestseller In Xanadu when he was twenty-two. The book won the 1990 Yorkshire Post Best First Work Award and a Scottish Arts Council Spring Book Award; it was also shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize.

In 1989 Dalrymple moved to Delhi where he lived for six
“as Edmund Burke famously put it, ‘a state in the guise of a merchant’.” 0 likes
“Roe could on occasion be dismissively critical of Mughal rule – ‘religions infinite, laws none’ – but he was, despite himself, thoroughly dazzled. In a letter describing the Emperor’s birthday celebrations in 1616, written from the beautiful, half-ruined hilltop fortress of Mandu in central India to the future King Charles I in Whitehall, Roe reported that he had entered a world of almost unimaginable splendour.” 0 likes
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