Cover image for India : a history
Title:
India : a history
Author:
Keay, John.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, [2000]

©2000
Physical Description:
xxviii, 576 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), maps ; 24 cm
Language:
English
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9780871138002
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

World-renowned South Asia expert John Keay spans more than five millennia in charting the history of the peoples of the subcontinent, from their ancient beginnings in the valley of the Indus through conquest, colonization, and independence. of photos.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

India's history is ancient and abundant. The profligacy of monuments so testifies, as does a once-lost civilization, the Harappan in the Indus valley, not to mention the annals commissioned by various conquerors, leading up to the better documented days of the British Raj and its successor states of Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. If one has time to read but one overview of the cultures and chronology of the subcontinent, Keay's work has a strong claim to be that overview. His history exhibits the complete panoply of cultures that have arisen on, or arrived at, the plain of the Ganges River. The wonder is that in such limited length Keay concisely conveys the bedrock features of Indian civilization, such as those of Hinduism reaching back to Vedic literature and going forward in time to those of Islam. Within this mix of cultures, Keay avers, Indian historiography is afflicted with the selective interpretations of nationalist writers: he corrects the defect by example in this evenhanded, informed, and enthusiastic illumination of the vastness of Indian history. --Gilbert Taylor


Publisher's Weekly Review

Sweeping from the ancient brick cities of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa, built in the Indus Valley around 2000 B.C., to modern India's urban middle class armed with computers and cell phones, this erudite, panoramic history captures the flow of Indian civilization. No apologist for Britannia's rule, British historian Keay (Into India, etc.) gives the lie to comforting fantasies of the British Raj as the benevolently run "Jewel in the Crown." For most Indians, "Pax Britannica meant mainly `Tax Britannica,'" he writes. Nor was British-ruled India peaceful, he adds, because India became a launch pad for British wars against Indonesia, Nepal and Burma, for the invasion of Afghanistan and the quashing of native revolts--often with the coerced participation of Indian troops. Finally, the Raj was "Axe Britannica," beginning the extensive deforestation of the subcontinent and the systematic suppression of its rural economy. Keay challenges much conventional scholarship in a dispassionate chronicle based largely on a fresh look at primary sources. For instance, the Mauryan emperor Ashoka, enthroned in 268 B.C., is revered because he preached tolerance and renounced armed violence, yet Keay notes that, contrary to popular opinion, Ashoka never specifically abjured warfare nor did he disband his army. Keay concludes this illustrated history by astutely surveying India's erratic progress in the half-century since independence, marked by communal violence, resurgence of regional interests and the rise of Hindu nationalism. This careful study serves up a banquet for connoisseurs and serious students of India. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

India's sprawling history in one volume, with 60 maps, tables, and charts to boot. From a noted historian of Southeast Asia, this is touted as the first single-volume study in over 20 years. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.