India: A History

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Grove Press, 2000 - History - 576 pages
8 Reviews
Jhon Keay's India: A History is a probing and provocative chronicle of five thousand years of South Asian history, from the first Harrapan settlements on the banks of the Indus River to the recent nuclear-arms race. In a tour de force of narrative history, Keay blends together insights from a variety of scholarly fields and weaves them together to chart the evolution of the rich tapestry of cultures, religions, and peoples that makes up the modern nations of Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh.

Authoritative and eminently readable, India: A History is a compelling epic portrait of one of the world's oldest and most richly diverse civilizations.

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India, a history

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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. Read full review

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Loved it, but the trouble with something that covers the entire sweep of history means that details get left out. This means it compares unfavourably with the other books of his which I've read, like The Spice Route or India Discovered. It's a handy reference, though.
It avoids hagiography, but this does mean some cherished ideals about the virtue of the Chozha empire get eroded a little. Even so, the fundaes about chakravartins and raja-mandala were brilliant.
And I'm still wishing for a comprehensive book that deals only with the interaction of India and the outside world.

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About the author (2000)

John Keay is the author of four acclaimed histories: 'The Honourable Company', 'Last Post', about the imperial disengagement of the Far East; the two-volume 'Explorers of the Western Himalayas' and 'India: A History'. His books on India include 'India Discovered', 'Into India' and 'The Great Arc: The Dramatic Tale of How India was Mapped and Everest was Named'. John Keay is married with four children, lives in Scotland and is co-editor with Julia Keay of the 'Collins Encyclopaedia of Scotland'.

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