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1. Island Life : Inspirational Interiors
$21.56 $17.66 list($26.95)
2. Fragments of Grace: My Search
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3. Maximum City : Bombay Lost and
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4. Culture Smart! India (Culture
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5. The Great Game: The Struggle for
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6. The Cambridge Economic History
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7. India Untouched: The Forgotten
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8. The Humanistic Tradition, Book
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9. The Idea of Pakistan
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10. Gandhi An Autobiography:The Story
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11. Empire of the Stars : Friendship,
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12. Asian Biblical Hermeneutics and
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13. The British Conquest and Dominion
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14. The Essential Gandhi : An Anthology
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15. The City of Joy
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16. India Unbound : The Social and
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17. Jaipur : The Last Destination
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18. Provincializing Europe
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19. Princely Rajasthan : Rajput Palaces
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20. Woven Cargoes: Indian Textiles

1. Island Life : Inspirational Interiors
by David Flint Wood, India Hicks
list price: $40.00
our price: $26.40
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Asin: 1584793171
Catlog: Book (2004-03-01)
Publisher: Stewart, Tabori and Chang
Sales Rank: 24841
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

It's the ultimate escape fantasy: Trade in the rat race for life on a tropical island and all the languid luxury that it evokes. For India Hicks and David Flint Wood, the dream became reality when, after high-profile careers-she as a fashion model, he as an advertising executive-the couple left the city behind for the Bahamas. Five years and three children later, the husband-and-wife team have impeccably restored three houses and one hotel. Fusing traditional European design with Asian, African, and Caribbean influences, the resulting interiors reflect their love of intense color and their keen sense of style-inherited on India's side from her father, the renown interior designer David Hicks, and further enhanced by the family's travels.

In Island Life, the secrets of these sumptuous, unique homes-used as locations for Ralph Lauren, J. Crew, and Vogue magazine, among others-are revealed in intimate detail. With panoramic color photographs, David Loftus captures not only the eclectic combinations of antiques, flea market finds, and modern furnishings, but also the overall ambiance of the tropics. For those who share David and India's dream, this is where to start planning. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars Nice to look at....PERIOD
The cover was very appealing. First impressions etc;. The inside photos even more so. The writing however sounded like the ramblings of a spoiled child living in an unreachable reality sometimes and at other times, the snobbery of an aristocracy only appreciated in the mind of the writer and those who really believe that paradise can only be created by the writer.

I live in the Bahamas and so yes I have a paradise of my own, but does anyone really care about 'my personal paradise' so much that they would read about it. I think not. The thing that makes simple beauty, well simply beautiful is simply leaving it alone.

Final thot; Nice to look at.....PERIOD.

other books I own - CARIBBEAN STYLE; CARIBBEAN ELEGANCE; ISLAND STYLE.

4-0 out of 5 stars A gentle nod to British Colonial style
I enjoyed this book because it was full of accessible and affordable ideas, unlike so many interiors in magazines and design books that require you to be a millionaire before you begin to try and copy some of the ideas.

5-0 out of 5 stars Elegant and Charming
I am very interested in both the tropics and interiors, so could not believe my good luck in finding this book. It illustrates perfectly a timeless elegance in the islands and has been well written, with a charming personal touch.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointingly dull
I saw India Hicks on Larry King, so I got this book. Unfortunately, her decorating and style sense is a lot more dull than her personal life as a member of England's royal family. The island mood comes through in this book but the photos could have been taken ten or twenty years ago. I assumed the book would feature something newer.

2-0 out of 5 stars I expected so much more from this book
I couldn't wait to get this, and now I'm sorry I wasted my money on it. There are no new ideas here, and the book is simply dull. Given India Hicks' pedigree, I expected more spark and flair than this. ... Read more


2. Fragments of Grace: My Search for Meaning in the Strife of South Asia
by Pamela Constable
list price: $26.95
our price: $21.56
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Asin: 1574886185
Catlog: Book (2004-05)
Publisher: Brassey's Inc
Sales Rank: 75855
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

For four and a half years, Pamela Constable, a veteran foreign correspondent and award-winning author, has traveled through South Asia on assignment for the Washington Post. Following religious conflicts, political crises, and natural disasters, she also searched for signs of humanity and dignity in societies rife with violence, poverty, prejudice, and greed.

In Afghanistan, she made numerous visits while the country suffered under the hostile rule of the Taliban, attempted to reach the capital in a convoy that was ambushed and saw four journalists killed. She finally moved to Kabul in late 2001 to chronicle the country’s post-Taliban rebirth. In Pakistan, she covered a military coup in 1999, immersed herself in the mys-terious world of Muslim mosques and academies, and discovered both the extremist and tolerant faces of Islam. In India, she attended one of the largest spiritual gatherings of Hindu pilgrims in history and then rushed to the horrific aftermath of a devastating earthquake. She repeatedly visited the Kashmir Valley, where Pakistani-backed Muslim guerrillas are waging a seemingly endless war with Indian security forces. In Nepal, she covered the crown prince’s massacre of the royal family and journeyed to remote villages where communist rebels brought rigid moral order to life. In Sri Lanka, she explored a tropical paradise where reclusive insurgents trained children to become suicide bombers in pursuit of a utopian ethnic homeland.

Between extended sojourns in South Asia, Constable returned to the West to reflect on the risks and rewards of her profession, revisit her roots, and compare her experiences with Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity. Her book is a uniquely personal exploration of the rich but solitary life of a foreign correspondent, set against a regional backdrop of extraordinary political and religious tumult. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars My own fragments of grace
it is a good book. and this good book has a good title - The Fragments of Grace. i live in new delhi and commute everyday to a 9-6 office. in the morning rush hour, as my bus crosses over the yamuna river, we always get stuck in a traffic jam....the buses in which I travel are always clogged tight with sweating commuters and it feels like hell......in such a distressing situation im always reminded of nazi cattle cars used for transportation of jews......at times while trapped inside these baked tin drums, i happen to look out from a side window and see the calm, dream-like, majestic dome of emperor humayun's tomb standing just across the road.......somehow someway it always make me feel beautiful about myself. while being crushed, pulled, pushed and mauled by surrounding commuters, I always try to frame a phrase that would exactly describe that nice feeling on seeing that beautiful monument. but the quest for that perfect articulation always eluded me.......thankfully, pamela constable's book-title did that job for me......humayun's tomb stands out like a 'fragment of grace' even as all sort of maddening chaos continue to fret and fume round it........

there are many decent writers around but a good writer is one which helps to articulate the reader's own feelings and perceptions even if that was not the intention in the first place.....so i was very moved and almost screamed out saying 'hey, this is me' when constable talked about her parents: 'even when we are in the same room, we remain worlds apart".......or when she confessed "seeing friends and mates they were never able to accept"......such paragraphs in this intensely personal memoir made me pause and think about my own parents and about my own life.......and ms constable was bang on target when she said that her parents still try to "improve the way i look and dress'......how does she know so much about me and my parents? how come she took my innermost perceptions and family secrets out of ME and translated them into words for HER book?

Each chapter in the book deals with her sojourn in some south asian country and ends with a deeply intimate interlude. reading the latter made me slightly uncomfortable, hesitant and anxious. it was like as if i had secretly tip-toed into somebody's attic one sleepy afternoon and was going through personal correspondence with half my alertness distracted towards the door from where that 'somebody' can enter anytime and catch me redhanded........at one point when constable wrote about a sudden in-your-face meeting with a long-lost journalist friend, once very intimate, in a crowded press conference, i felt embarrassed as if i was intruding into her privacy. indeed it makes for a very brave and kind person to write so gracefully about events so personal. thankyou pamela.

i may be sounding melodramatic but i loved the ending of this book. it was a gradual close. it was like a fading piano tune echoing from the stone walls long after the concert has ended and the audience has returned home....

finally if pamela constable happens to read this review, i want to tell her that many a times i have passed over that yamuna bridge on the banks of which lies a shanty where the elephants live. everytime i pass over that part of the city, i always instinctively look down under to wonder about those sad-looking elephants. i even made a guess after looking at some hoardings that it must be a muslim settlement. now after reading this book , whenever i will pass over that bridge again, i will know that delhi's total of 23 elephants camp there and that i know the name of at least one mahout who resides there - ghayar ali. constable should know that I too have noticed that place, that tiny fragment of grace.

really it is a book not to be borrowed and read but to be bought and read and re-read....

5-0 out of 5 stars Insighful, compelling, important
I read this book in one day, just could not put it down. Pamela Constable has led what by any measure is an extraordinary life, full of courage and compassion. Her descriptions of the places and people she encounters in her work are lucid and lyrical, and brought to me an level of understanding I have not previously been able to manage for myself.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
coming from pamela constable, expectations always run high. and just a decent book won't do. as someone who has almost religiously followed her articles on south asia, one expects nothing below a 'fine' book. weighed down by the baggage of such high hopes, ms constable's book on south asia has come at a time when the bookworld is already cluttered with emotional outpourings (sometimes too sentimental for a coherent and sensible read) from western correspondents who sounds either too patronising or too much in awe of this part of this world with all its engrossing exotica of soulful sufidom, AK-57 style violence, religious fanaticism, pathetic poverty, terrible tragedies and so on. not surprisingly as i opened the book, i had already started feeling a partial sense of disappointment fearing that this well-intentioned book too will end up as a hugely inflated exercise in self-important all-knowing arrogance of one of those foreign correspondents.......

now the surprising part: all my fears were uncalled for. one of the best thing about pamela constable is obviously the fact that she is a great reporter and has a clever skill of unravelling the story behind the headlines in a very unobtrusive, unreporter-like manner.....that is in a very humane and sympathetic way..... but good correspondent she may be, she is even a better writer. a very good writer indeed! and 'Fragments of Grace' proves just that thing.

as a book-lover perennially struggling to somehow reconcile his books-buying sprees with his limited personal finances, i strongly insist that this book is worth it. if there's is one book you want to buy this year, then let it be this. it has to be part of one's private library! i assure you that there wont be regrets. in this book, we see south asia through ms constable's eyes and it looks fascinating. most of the books, especially by correspondents reporting from hotspots of the world, tend to be of current-affair variety (think all those books about iraq, Afghanistan currently clogging the bookshelves) which usually manage to sustain interest till the time their biggie-big newspapers shift to some other headlines and some other editorials. such books are engrossing to read, indeed riveting and at times enjoyable, but they are then placed back on the shelves never to be taken out. 'Fragments of Grace' tends to be different. it is a book that may be contemporary but happily it also has a eternal quality about it. something that will linger on in the heart and mind long after one has finished reading it. even for those much-informed folks who think that srilanka is in south america and nepal lies on north of Botswana. even they will love this book. yeah!

anyway im planning to read it yet again......read it! ... Read more


3. Maximum City : Bombay Lost and Found
by SUKETU MEHTA
list price: $27.95
our price: $18.45
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Asin: 0375403728
Catlog: Book (2004-09-21)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 757
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4. Culture Smart! India (Culture Smart)
by Nicki Grihault
list price: $9.95
our price: $8.96
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Asin: 155868705X
Catlog: Book (2003-03-01)
Publisher: Graphic Arts Center Publishing Company
Sales Rank: 33720
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Culture Smart! Is a new series of travel guides written for the traveler on the go. Each volume is a quick, accurate guide to customs and etiquette. Outstanding features of CULTURE SMART!

* all the essential cultural and etiquette points are covered, making you confident in a variety of situations.
* You will know what to expect in each particular culture
* You will learn how to behave in specific social and business situations
* Essential attitudes and values are clearly explained
* You will find each topic a quick, easy read due to the concise writing style
* Small and light, it tucks into your pocket or purse for on-the-go use.
* Your Culture Smart! Books are written by a staff of experts who consult on world travel as a profession. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Culture Smart, India
This is the kind of book every first-time traveler to India needs! It is short and to-the-point, and gives a very concise guide to customs and etiquette that is required learning for Westerners. Other version of the Culture Smart series are available, so if you're traveling outside the U.S., be sure to get one of these incredibly handy guides. These books are small enough to take with you to for a quick refresher course, too! ... Read more


5. The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia
by Peter Hopkirk
list price: $17.00
our price: $11.56
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Asin: 1568360223
Catlog: Book (1994-04-01)
Publisher: Kodansha Globe
Sales Rank: 7144
Average Customer Review: 4.59 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

In a phrase coined by Captain Arthur Connolly of the East India Company before he was beheaded in Bokhara for spying in 1842, a "Great Game" was played between Tsarist Russia and Victorian England for supremacy in Central Asia. At stake was the security of India, key to the wealth of the British Empire. When play began early in the 19th century, the frontiers of the two imperial powers lay two thousand miles apart, across vast deserts and almost impassable mountain ranges; by the end, only 20 miles separated the two rivals.

Peter Hopkirk, a former reporter for The Times of London with wide experience of the region, tells an extraordinary story of ambition, intrigue, and military adventure. His sensational narrative moves at breakneck pace, yet even as he paints his colorful characters--tribal chieftains, generals, spies, Queen Victoria herself--he skillfully provides a clear overview of the geographical and diplomatic framework. The Great Game was Russia's version of America's "Manifest Destiny" to dominate a continent, and Hopkirk is careful to explain Russian viewpoints as fully as those of the British. The story ends with the fall of Tsarist Russia in 1917, but the demise of the Soviet Empire (hastened by a decade of bloody fighting in Afghanistan) gives it new relevance, as world peace and stability are again threatened by tensions in this volatile region of great mineral wealth and strategic significance. --John Stevenson ... Read more

Reviews (58)

4-0 out of 5 stars History as it should be written
"The Great Game" is a well-written and gripping account of the British and Russian machinations in central Asia during the 19th century that reads more like a novel than a dry history book. What's even better is that the story is quite relevant to the geopolitical realities of our century.

Although a few forays are taken into Turkey, the Caucasus and the Far East, most the action takes place in central Asia (including the Pamirs and western China), and much of that was in the buffer region that is now Afghanistan. After having spent centuries subjugated by Mongol invaders, an expansionist imperial Russia began trying to secure its borders by extending its sphere of influence into central Asia. Meanwhile the British had colonized India and were concerned about protecting her northern borders. 'The Great Game' was an expression coined by an early participant and later immortalized by Rudyard Kipling to describe the often-shadowy means these two great powers used to pursue these goals.

At the beginning of the 19th century few westerners had gone into central Asia and almost none had seen the great cities of the area. Into this void came a series of British and Russian adventurers seeking information about the terrain, population, and cities, and who in many cases sought to create alliances with the local rulers that could be used to further Britain's and Russia's imperial ambitions and cement their desired security zones.

The book is written around the stories of these adventurers, many of whom, but by no means all, were soldiers. The early explorers had the advantage of entering a region where no westerners had been before and could often pass themselves off as Indian traders. Eventually they were able to penetrate far enough into central Asia to meet local rulers who were so isolated that they understood 'Britain' and 'Russia' to be simply powerful tribes in their general vicinity. The British and Russian envoys would try to outdo each other in attempting to indicate the sizes of their respective countries (which, in the case of the UK, would include its vast colonial holdings for maximum impact).

Much of the book is devoted to the first and second Afghan wars in which the British tried to install their monarch of choice and were eventually routed as a result of both their incompetence and the fierce Afghan fighters. Some of the accounts of Afghanistan today could almost have been taken directly from 'The Great Game'. Life for many in the region appears to have changed very little in the intervening years.

Hopkirk has written this book from an unabashedly pro-western and pro-British perspective, but it is a fascinating story and one that still has great pertinence to world affairs today. I can highly recommend it to anybody who would like a better understanding of both the history and current reality of central Asia.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent History of the 'Great Game'
Peter Hopkirk's book 'The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia' is a great historical account and a very enjoyable book to read. It is very rare nowadays to find a book that holds your attention throughout, without finding one boring section, this is one of those books. In over 560 pages (paperback edition) Peter Hopkirk tells the amazing stories of a number of early British and Russian officers and men involved in the great imperial struggle for supremacy in Central Asia.

I found myself reading late into the morning, at times I couldn't put the book down. Most of the time I had heard of the places and people involved but a lot of this story was new to me. The narrative read like a novel, gripping but informative, never boring and full of information, breathing life into history in a way that is hard to find now-a-days.

This is a great book and I fully agree with the quote on the front cover of the book by Jan Morris "Peter Hopkirk is truly the laureate of the Great Game." If you ever wanted to learn something about this large and remote area then this is the book to start with. If you enjoy military history then this book has it, if you enjoy historical accounts of exploration then this book has it, if you just enjoy good history then this book has it all.

The story of Britain and Russia carving out their Empires in India, Afghanistan and the surrounding areas is truly fascinating and I was amazed at the brave and resourceful men who carved their name in history during this period. Most people have heard of the Khyber Pass and places like Chitral however I had never heard of the Pamirs and Karakorams mountain ranges or of the Kerman and Helmund deserts nor of some of the fierce and warlike tribes that lived in these areas.

After reading this book I yearn for more information about this region and I intend to buy the rest of Peter Hopkirk's books. I would rate this book one of the better ones I have read this year and to finish my review I would like to quote Byron Farwell from his review in 'The New York Times':

"Those who enjoy vividly told tales of derring-do and seek a clear understanding of the history of the emerging central Asian countries will find this a glorious book."

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Story
If you like history told on a grand scale, you'll love Peter Hopkirk's "The Great Game." The author has done a superb job making an obscure epoch of nineteenth history come to life in an easily accessible and immensely entertaining narrative. Employing a style and approach highly reminiscent of such bestsellers as David Fromkin's "A Peace to End All Peace" or Robert Massie's "Dreadnought," Hopkirk uses a number of harrowing expeditions by young, intrepid (and mostly British) army officers and diplomats to convey the drama, intrigue and danger of the imperial contest that Rudyard Kipling christened "The Great Game."

A quick word of caution: this book isn't really a primer on current events in Afghanistan and the surrounding areas. I mention that because there are some exerts to that effect on the cover of the new paperback and I suspect that angle has been pushed by the publishers to promote sales. Yes, there are some graphic tales of western forces being mutilated by Muslim mobs incited by the harangues of mullahs in Kabul and other now familiar cities, but that is where the potential similarities end. In short, this is a book about nineteenth century imperial competition; Islam in general and Afghanistan in particular are elements of that story, not the focus. It is told primarily from the British perspective and focuses on their century-long cold war with imperial Russia. The borders of their global empires became, in London's opinion, uncomfortable close in the mid-1800s as Moscow's borders expanded inexorably southwards in search of new economic markets and trade routes until they encroached upon the mountain passes to northern India, thus threatening the "crown jewel" of the British Empire. For over a hundred years the British worked to parry this threat, oscillating between a proactive policy of military presence in Persia, Afghanistan and elsewhere (known as "the forward school" and leading to three wars) and the withdrawn, passive defense of India (derisively dubbed "masterly inactivity").

I found two things to be particularly remarkable in this tale. First, it is difficult to underestimate just how little the British and Russians knew about the inhabitants and topography that filled the critical buffer zone between their two great empires. It would be no exaggeration to claim that we know more today about the surface of Mars than British knew about the Pamir region north of Kashmir in the late nineteenth century. Second, most of the leading characters that explored and charted these unknown areas for their respective governments were in their mid-twenties at the time of their heroic missions. Few episodes of international grand strategy and policy have been so directly shaped by the deeds of such young men.

A number of modern historians have dismissed the threat that imperial Russian expansion presented to India, but Hopkirk asserts that the challenge was genuine and the British response reasoned and legitimate. In the process, one can't help but get the impression that after long years of close study, the author has concluded that the "forward school" was the correct one, his specific claims to be non-judgmental notwithstanding.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Good Overview
My brother introduced this book to me 5 years ago, but its size intimidated me, so I put it aside. Big mistake. I finally started reading it and found it completely intriguing. I had NO idea of any of the history of Russian expansionism into Central Asia. Zip. Zilch. It's a tragedy that this topic is not covered in American high school curriculums. Our teachers and professors blathered on about the cold war, but I had no idea of how Russia and the Soviet Union came to be what they were/are in the 20th and 21st centuries. I would have appreciated a better background on Russian and Soviet acquisitions of surrounding territories. This book provides all that and more in a very readable, summary fashion, as a tale told around individual historic figures. Very entertaining and hard to put down.
-pj

5-0 out of 5 stars Filling a gap in world history
This books fills a gap in world history. All have heard of Marco Polo and most of Dgengiz Khan; some might know about the Russian advances towards India into Central Asia and might even place the British defeats in Afghanistan in the mid 1800s in the same context; however, no book could have filled that gap in my knowledge as good the Hopkins' Great Game. Not only interesting, but moreover entertaining. Once caught, it will be impossible to put it down. ... Read more


6. The Cambridge Economic History of India: Volume 2, c.1751-c.1970 (The Cambridge Economic History of India)
list price: $170.00
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Asin: 0521228026
Catlog: Book (1983-03-10)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 719029
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Book Description

The Cambridge Economic History of India, published in two volumes, aims at tracing the changes in the economy of India from the thirteenth to the middle of the present century and beyond. The second volume covers the period 1757-1970, from the establishment of British rule to its termination, with epilogues on the post-Independence period. Part I opens with a broad description of the economy in the middle of the eighteenth century, then describes general economic trends in four main regions up to the middle of the nineteenth century, and includes a discussion of changes in the agrarian structure up to the end of 1947. Part II takes up various themes for the economy as a whole, while Part III deals with post-Independence developments in India and Pakistan. The Cambridge Economic History of India will be widely accepted as the standard work of reference on the subject, and the volumes will be of relevance to fields other than economic history, being the first major collaborative work of its kind to explore the shift of an advanced Asian civilization from pre-colonial times to independence. ... Read more


7. India Untouched: The Forgotten Face Of Rural Poverty
by Abraham George
list price: $26.95
our price: $17.79
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Asin: 1594111227
Catlog: Book (2005-02-01)
Publisher: Writers' Collective
Sales Rank: 441383
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8. The Humanistic Tradition, Book 2: Medieval Europe And The World Beyond
by Gloria K. Fiero, Gloria Fiero
list price: $25.00
our price: $25.00
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Asin: 0072317310
Catlog: Book (2001-11-06)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages
Sales Rank: 88757
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Book Description

Beginning with the birth of Christianity and of Buddhism, the second book of The Humanistic Tradition offers a wide-ranging look at the period from 0-1300 C.E.

The book addresses the interaction between religion and culture in emerging Islamic societies while also drawing on art, music, literature, and architecture to draw a vivid portrait of life in Medieval Europe.It concludes with a discussion of the art and culture of medieval Asia - India, China, and Japan.
... Read more


9. The Idea of Pakistan
by Stephen Philip Cohen
list price: $32.95
our price: $26.36
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Asin: 0815715021
Catlog: Book (2004-09)
Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
Sales Rank: 17631
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Book Description

In recent years Pakistan has emerged as a strategic player on the world stage—both as a potential rogue state armed with nuclear weapons and as an American ally in the war against terrorism. But our understanding of this country is superficial.

To probe beyond the headlines, Stephen Cohen, author of the prize-winning India: Emerging Power, offers a panoramic portrait of this complex country—from its origins as a homeland for Indian Muslims to a militarydominated state that has experienced uneven economic growth, political chaos, sectarian violence, and several nuclear crises with its much larger neighbor, India.

Pakistan’s future is uncertain. Can it fulfill its promise of joining the community of nations as a moderate Islamic state, at peace with its neighbors, or could it dissolve completely into a failed state, spewing out terrorists and nuclear weapons in several directions? The Idea of Pakistan will be an essential tool for understanding this critically important country. ... Read more


10. Gandhi An Autobiography:The Story of My Experiments With Truth
by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Mahadev Desai, Sissela Bok
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
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Asin: 0807059099
Catlog: Book (1993-11-01)
Publisher: Beacon Press
Sales Rank: 4983
Average Customer Review: 4.44 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Gandhi's nonviolent struggles in South Africa and India had already brought him to such a level of notoriety, adulation, and controversy that when asked to write an autobiography midway through his career, he took it as an opportunity to explain himself. Although accepting of his status as a great innovator in the struggle against racism, violence, and, just then, colonialism, Gandhi feared that enthusiasm for his ideas tended to exceed a deeper understanding. He says that he was after truth rooted in devotion to God and attributed the turning points, successes, and challenges in his life to the will of God. His attempts to get closer to this divine power led him to seek purity through simple living, dietary practices (he called himself a fruitarian), celibacy, and ahimsa, a life without violence. It is in this sense that he calls his book The Story of My Experiments with Truth, offering it also as a reference for those who would follow in his footsteps. A reader expecting a complete accounting of his actions, however, will be sorely disappointed.

Although Gandhi presents his episodes chronologically, he happily leaves wide gaps, such as the entire satyagraha struggle in South Africa, for which he refers the reader to another of his books. And writing for his contemporaries, he takes it for granted that the reader is familiar with the major events of his life and of the political milieu of early 20th-century India. For the objective story, try Yogesh Chadha's Gandhi: A Life. For the inner world of a man held as a criminal by the British, a hero by Muslims, and a holy man by Hindus, look no further than these experiments. --Brian Bruya ... Read more

Reviews (50)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Gandhi Introduction.
I approached this book with some trepidation as my Indian friends are divided in their attitude to Gandhi (some regard him almost as a saint, others are far more ambiguous). There's no doubting Gandhi's place as a major figure in twentieth century history, but would learning more about him create a good or disappointing image?

I would start with a word of caution. This book only covers Gandhi's life from 1869 to 1921. Therefore I treated this book as an introduction to the man, a preparation for further reading. I suppose an equally legitimate method would be to adopt an opposite approach and start with a biography then finish with this book.

I reflected that any comments I made here might only serve to reveal my ignorance of Indian culture and history - I'm sure I missed (or misinterpreted) many nuances. Full appreciation of this book may only be possible if you are either Indian or have a better knowledge than mine.

Nonetheless, I found it an easy book to read - the short chapters helped me keep up a good pace. Indeed Gandhi's style is to pick episodes from his life and reflect on them. Although the book is written chronologically, it very much has a "dipping in and out" feel rather than a linear narrative.

I was left with the impression that this man was no saint (and would have been horrified at the very thought). There were aspects of his character I found puzzling or frustrating: I've never been impressed by anyone who advocates physical self-denial after having produced a litter of offspring; much of the book is devoted to dietetics - a subject Gandhi was so obsessed with it affected his health very badly; and his treatment of his children was, well to be charitable, distinctly odd.

I felt that there was a large amount of self-righteousness in the man, and an obsessive delight in self-denial. Yet withal, should we expect any human to be without fault, and how should Gandhi's faults be judged when compared with his role in securing Indian independence - without Satyagraha would it have been even more bloody than it was? That might be a better mounument to him than this book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Gandhi: A Man of Peace, a Man of Peas
Once upon a time there was a man who took nothing for granted - no philosophy, no theology, no lifestyle - for how could he know which were proper, which were true, which led to the Divine, to knowledge of God? How could he know unless he tested them himself? So that's what he did. No, I'm not talking about Alan Greenspan. Mohandas Gandhi was that man and GANDHI, AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY: MY EXPERIMENTS WITH TRUTH is his story. The Autobiography is a description of how he developed and applied his personal philosophy to his life, or rather, how his spirituality evolved as he experimented with differing lifestyles and theologies in his search for Absolute Truth. But be careful. This book may not be what you expect. Want to know about the life of Gandhi from a historical perspective? You're better off looking elsewhere. Gandhi didn't intend for his autobiography to be such a book. A good alternative is Ved Mehta's MAHATMA GANDHI AND HIS APOSTLES (Viking, 1977), which stresses the historic context and social relevance of Gandhi's life. If you want insight into the origins of Satyagraha (non-violent resistance) directly from its creator, you will find one of Gandhi's other books, SATYAGRAHA IN SOUTH AFRICA (Greenleaf, 1979), to be a much better source. Although Satyagraha may be the most influential experiment of his life, it was by no means the only one.

You see, Gandhi tells us his life was a series of experiments, nothing more. He actively sought lifestyles and philosophies different from his own, tried the ones with merit, and adopted or rejected them based on his experience. In his own words, "I simply want to tell the story of my numerous experiments with truth, and as my life consists of nothing but those experiments, it is true that the story will take the shape of an autobiography," (xxvi). By following this path, he believed he might find self-realization and ultimately come face-to-face with God.

Despite this ethereal theme, the story is quite mundane. Gandhi's experiments took place in the real world, not just in cerebral debate and introspection. His story falls within a historical context, leading him on a path toward a lifestyle few are willing to emulate, a life of self-denial and simplicity. From strict vegetarianism (fruit and nuts only) to celibacy (he swore off having sex with his wife (or anyone else, for that matter)), to the rejection of the most meager creature comforts, Gandhi's commitment to principle seems extreme and obsessive to us. This commitment to principle became both the key asset and primary flaw in his character. More than once, principle led him to deny medical treatment to seriously ill family members so he could experiment on them with harebrain "water," "earth," and dietary cures in which he believed. And yet, this same commitment to principle was the crucial component to his achievements toward peace and equality. Gandhi was a serious man whom you probably wouldn't invite to your bachelor party.

On the practical side, Gandhi is true to his word, giving us an undecorated account of his spiritual journey - the good with the bad. The book is stylistically straightforward, written chronologically in chapters brief enough to absorb during the average sit.

On the other hand, it is often tedious and screams for annotation. The litany of south Asian names can be difficult for westerners to keep track of or pronounce. Gandhi discusses historical figures and events in passing without introduction or background, so keep a reference book handy. At the same time, he dwells on information you will find irrelevant. And then, of course, there's the problem all autobiographies have - you don't get to see how the story ends. Gandhi published the autobiography in 1927 and went on to live another twenty-one years before being assassinated - active, important years you might want to know about.

Does Gandhi make a good case for his method of experimentation and for the conclusions he reached through these experiments? That, dear reader, is for you to decide. But it is interesting that the more he experimented, the further he settled upon the uncompromising life of a Hindu ascetic. His exposure to the world brought him back to his roots, to the religion of his homeland, and implicit in this choice is the rejection of the values and theologies he found elsewhere. This is a troubling thought. Did he find no elements of Truth outside Hindu asceticism? Is he suggesting that each of us lead lives of celibacy and self-imposed poverty? Gandhi responds that there are many manifestations of the Divine. The path he chose made sense to him, but it is up to each individual to find his or her own way, to conduct his or her own experiments with Truth, just as he had done.

Some treat the Autobiography with a reverence due scripture. Scripture it is not, nor is it great literature. Nevertheless, you may very well find inspiration and insight for your own life, and you will certainly learn much about Gandhi, how he saw himself, his place, and his purpose.

5-0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this book
In his own words, Gandhi takes us through some of the experiences in his life, with each chapter forming at least one important learning lesson to him. All experiences, whether good or bad, had a positive learning lesson on him and contributed to his goal of seeking the truth.

One of his main beliefs was using non-violence as a means of protesting against acts of oppression and using international law to seek justice. This meant he never raised his fists or lowered himself to barbarism however much he was provoked, violated or attacked. In fact this seems to be the opposite attitude demonstrated by all terrorists and most countries (West, Middle East and East) where the belief is that violence and war works. As Gandhi says "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind".

As we have now entered the third of the world wars, where the weapons are horrific and the consequences unimaginable, Gandhi's words have never been more important. All politicians and world leaders should read this book. In fact everyone should read this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars The honesty in this book is absolutely relentless.
As notable as they are, Gandhi's political successes are not what attracts me to this man.He had a sincere desire to know his own faults and arrogances (and to therefore, rid himself of them).This is the key to curing human relations.In my own life, this is what I look for in people.They don't even have to like me, so long as they are genuine in their attempt to see me as I truly am, and themselves for what they truly are.
Gandhi's infamous 'non-violence' beliefs and abstaining lifestyle sprout from this attitude.I think it is imperative that we realize that noble actions are the 'sprouts', whilst the courage to face one's own arrogances is the 'core' of successful humanity.I mean, what happens when the 'actions' are credited as core? eg.Many people express noble slogans like "NO RACISM", yet feel hateful whilst doing so, perhaps even desiring harm come to the racists.Isn't yielding a peaceful slogan whilst feeling hateful, putting across mixed messages? Gandhi expressed genuine compassion for his 'enemies'.He wanted them to learn, not hurt.Even if 'non-violence' is a noble slogan, it isn't guarenteed to have positive effects.A slogan-yielder must show genuine desire to learn of his own arrogances (and not just desire to point out the target's arrogances), otherwise -the target will feel that you expect more of him than you do of yourself (hence, he will inevitably rebel).Brainwashing (nasty word!) is ALWAYS negative, regardless of how well-intended the founding cause was.Hence, Gandhi's successful influence on people was actually founded in his attitude toward himself.He was well trusted by people because his 'lack of hateful feelings' corresponded with the 'words they heard him speaking'.
What is the true nature of non-violence? Gandhi obviously meant this spiritually, even though he applied it to physical actions.He is 100% correct that violence has no role in the spiritual realm.But physically? His physical application is undoubtedly a rebellion against the human habit passing off ill-intended action as acts of neccessity.(eg. Nazi's later would explain away their racial exterminations as "survival of the fittest").
My definition of survival (and 'competition'); "survival= gain for the self, at the least cost to all else".Humans currently neglect the "at the least cost to all else" part of the equation.And Gandhi rebelled against this neglect.But, in his abstainance he may have overshot, with the naturally occuring "gain for the self" part lagging behind.As selfish as that phrase may sound, it is only selfish if "in absence of the other part" of the equation.However, abstainance can be a great learning experience so long as it is free flowing and freely chosen, and isn't obsessive or guilt-driven.Gandhi did inherently abstain with nature/God/love in mind.But, it did eat away at him also.So, it wouldn't be accurate to say that he'd perfected a balance, despite getting many things right.

Does all this mean I'm claiming he was incorrect? No.I'm merely claiming that his philosophy was incomplete.He made great spiritual progress, obviously.His advancement of humankind's understanding of physical combat's true role, is endlessly helpful.But to make sure his wisdoms don't go to waste, we mustn't sell ourselves short by assuming that we can't possibly add to his wisdom with our own (as if we daren't know something that he didn't).We need to allow ourselves to build on Gandhi's platform.That's the whole reason he set the platform.Not so we'd stagnate on it.
On a side note; I can relate to some reviewers using the word 'boring' to describe his writing (though I dare not use it myself, thru fear of UNhelpful votes.ha, ha).It's just that; Compassionate people are so determined not to feed arrogance into their world that -in abstaining their negative attributes, some of their positive ones can accidentally get caught up in the abstainance also.Hence the phenomenon "nice guys finish last".Nice people do risk 'being boring', in their efforts to not just -blurt out absolutely every (potentially destructive) urge that goes through their bodies and minds.So, I urge (controlledly 'urge', i assure:)) readers to be patient with him.You'll find no cheap comments here designed to 'pheign' being interesting.He much prefered to actually 'be' interesting.Much harder an art.

4-0 out of 5 stars What the Truth Reveals
In the book's introduction, Gandhi ascribes these words of the Hindu poet to himself:

Where is there a wretch
So wicked and loathsome as I?
I have forsaken my Maker,
So faithless have I been.

The cause of this wretchedness, Gandhi wrote, was "the evil passions within that keep me so far from Him, and yet I cannot get away from them." These thoughts echo those of the Apostle Paul who, while desiring to do good, found that evil worked within him. He bemoaned, "Oh wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from the body of this death?" Both men realized they could not perform what the truth required, and because they loved truth, it made them feel wretched.

Who then is righteous, if not Gandhi and Paul? The prophet Ezekial spoke of God's promise to "put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes." But such righteousness is seldom seen. Gandhi wrote disapprovingly of one Christian acquaintance "who knowingly committed transgressions, and showed me that he was undisturbed by the thought of them." Paul saw among his own converts in Corinth such immorality "that does not even exist among the heathens."

The promise does not fail, but faith wavers. The promise must be put to the test, as an experiment with truth. Then those who love the Truth may be revealed. ... Read more


11. Empire of the Stars : Friendship, Obsession, and Betrayal in the Quest for Black Holes
by Arthur I. Miller
list price: $26.00
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Asin: 061834151X
Catlog: Book (2005-04-25)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Sales Rank: 21466
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Book Description

In August 1930, on a voyage from Madras to London, a young Indian looked up at the stars and contemplated their fate. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar —Chandra, as he was called — calculated that certain stars would suffer a most violent death, collapsing to virtually nothing. This extraordinary claim, the first mathematical description of black holes, rankled one of the greatest astrophysicists of the day, Sir Arthur Eddington, who in 1935 publicly ridiculed Chandra, sending him into an intellectual and emotional tailspin — and hindering the progress of astrophysics for nearly forty years.

Tracing the rise of two great theories, relativity and quantum mechanics, which meet head on in black holes, Empire of the Stars is the dramatic story of this intellectual feud and its implications for
twentieth-century science. It"s also the moving tale of one man"s struggle against the establishment and of the deep-seated prejudices that plague even rational minds. Indeed, it wasn"t until the cold war that scientists realized the importance of Chandra"s work, which was finally awarded a Nobel Prize in 1983.

Set against the waning days of the British Empire, this sweeping history examines the quest to understand one of the most forbidding objects in the universe as well as the passions that fueled that quest over the course of a century.
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12. Asian Biblical Hermeneutics and Postcolonialism: Contesting the Interpretations (Bible & Liberation Series)
by R. S. Sugirtharajah
list price: $20.00
our price: $14.00
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Asin: 1570752052
Catlog: Book (1998-10-01)
Publisher: Orbis Books
Sales Rank: 235135
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13. The British Conquest and Dominion of India
by Penderel, Sir Moon
list price: $123.50
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Asin: 0253338360
Catlog: Book (1989-09-01)
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Sales Rank: 547761
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14. The Essential Gandhi : An Anthology of His Writings on His Life, Work, and Ideas (Vintage Spiritual Classics)
by MAHATMA GANDHI
list price: $13.00
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Asin: 1400030501
Catlog: Book (2002-11-12)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 9943
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Mohandas K. Gandhi, called Mahatma (“great soul”), was the father of modern India, but his influence has spread well beyond the subcontinent and is as important today as it was in the first part of the twentieth century and during this nation’s own civil rights movement. Taken from Gandhi’s writings throughout his life, The Essential Gandhi introduces us to his thoughts on politics, spirituality, poverty, suffering, love, non-violence, civil disobedience, and his own life. The pieces collected here, with explanatory head notes by Gandhi biographer Louis Fischer, offer the clearest, most thorough portrait of one of the greatest spiritual leaders the world has known.
“Gandhi was inevitable. If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable. . . . We may ignore him at our own risk.” –Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

With a new Preface drawn from the writings of Eknath Easwaran

In the annals of spirituality certain books stand out both for their historical importance and for their continued relevance. The Vintage Spiritual Classics series offers the greatest of these works in authoritative new editions, with specially commissioned essays by noted contemporary commentators. Filled with eloquence and fresh insight, encouragement and solace, Vintage Spiritual Classics are incomparable resources for all readers who seek a more substantive understanding of mankind's relation to the divine.
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Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Easy to Read Impossible to Forget
The best anything I've ever read about Gandhiji! I read this over 6 weeks when I was visiting India in the Fall of 2000 to see my mother for the last time. Every night I was so eager to read the book from the place I left the night before. At the end, the book was in several pieces but I still remember the highlights. A great author to write a great book about a unique soul!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Message for Today
Gandhi's words have never been so pertinent as they are today. This is an anthology of his writings, edited by topic in chronological order. It's an autobiography revealing Gandhi's evolution from a fearful young man, afraid of the dark, to a fearless leader who feared no rebuke by an empire. More than an aesthete in a modern world, Gandhi's complexity is revealed in each passage as he penitently reveals his transformation into selfless service and living simply. His words and actions inspired others to follow without fear of retaliation and could guide today's leaders to a peaceful resolve. The book reads like a primer on non-violence.

Eknath Easwaran's 18 page Preface is worth the price of the 339 page paperbound book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Must Read For All
This book is one of my favorite non-fiction books. The beauty of this book is that the main points are in Ghandi's exact quotes while the flow of the arguments are edited by his biographer, Louis Fischer, to give a great feel of direction. Because Ghandi edited his own newspaper his life-changing views are abundant and easily accessible. If only this book were read by all leaders of people.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Gandhi book available.
I have read every Gandhi book i could get my hands on, such as all his autobiographies, and this book is by far the best and just as accurate. With this book and the writings that are on his official website, you will have all the information you will ever need. One thing to keep in mind, that many people seem to forget, is that Gandhi was a normal man like you and me. He made mistakes just like every other man, but had the courage to always follow his 'inner voice' even in his unperfectness. This is a life changing book for those who dare to look within themselves.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Thoughts from a Great Man
This is a mind opening, life changing book. The thoughts and writings, spaning over the entire course of Gandhi's life, offer a glipse into the mind and habits of one of God's greatest followers. His peaceful approach to life and his undying love for friend and foe alike will motivate any reader to the highest level. This is a must read for anyone, regardless of nationality or creed, who wishes to see the potential all humans have within them. ... Read more


15. The City of Joy
by Dominique Lapierre
list price: $7.99
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Asin: 0446355569
Catlog: Book (1990-05-07)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 60941
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This is the story of living saints and heroes-- those who abandoned affluent and middle-class lives to dedicate themselves to the poor. ... Read more

Reviews (26)

5-0 out of 5 stars Moving
In Dominique LaPierre's book, "The City of Joy" we learn of the struggles of every day families trying to survive in the abject poverty of Calcutta, India.

The streets of Calcutta come alive in "The City of Joy" as we read about the struggles of a rickshaw driver and his family and an American priest trying to become accepted into the culture of Calcutta. We learn of the efforts of people like Mother Teresa to help the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, the lepers.

I have not seen the movie based on this book, but if it is half as good as the book , I am sure it is great. "The City of Joy" is a book the explores the depths of the human spirit, the strength of human emotion and the desire of a few good people to help. In all of the glory of his other books, LaPierre scores another hit with "The City of Joy." I recommend this book, you will be a better person for having read it. Plus, a percentage of the profits from the book are donated to the ongoing effort to help the lepers in Calcutta.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book is the best ever!
City of Joy captures the true life and love of the people in Calcutta. Never have I experienced such an incredible city or book. I felt like I was back in Calcutta as I read this masterpiece!

1-0 out of 5 stars cardboard cut-out disease porn
There is no context or depth to the one-dimensional, facile and perverse moralizing in this book. I read it over a decade ago, before travelling and speakign with people around the world. For a suburban college student, it was a shocker. As an adult, I found it to have the exact lack of context, multi-dimensionality and context as pornography. Substitute graphic sex for graphic disease and you have City of Joy. A huge disappointment.

3-0 out of 5 stars Typical westerner's view of India?
The theme of this book is really worth to read. A missionary comes to India to service poor people and live with them, participate in their joy and sorrow of them really makes you gel with the book. But I don't understand the view of the foreigner's about the sanitation condition of India(from Seinfeld to this authour). They always view that as an adventure(true it is disgusting in some places, including where I lived) and wanted to explain that ad nauseum, but my suggestion would be India is not a land of lacking sanitation and dirt as the media claims in the other side of the world. It has its true colors and history and people who dedicated their life like Mother Teresa. Please write about them. Another thing to mention about is referring Kama Sutra(like mentioning drug cartels in most of the south american books). Please note that in majority of Indian home, Kama Sutra book is viewed as Playboy or PlayGirl in a conservsative american home.

Apart from that, this book never wavered from the reality. About a peasant's life, how his life turns upside down when the city takes him in, how the missionary adapts the life in India and how the rich and poor view their life has been well documented. Definetly worth to read.

1-0 out of 5 stars A formulaic piece of garbage
I just finished reading The City of Joy. Normally I would be embarrassed to admit that I had been stupid enough to actually finish such a terrible book, but it was required for school that I do so.
The premise of the book isn't so bad - a bunch of poor people on a farm lose their land and possessions, and go to live in the city of joy, Calcutta's famed slum. However, the book is written terribly and uninterestingly, by some French imbecile who couldn't write his way out of a medicine cabinet. In addition to that, the plot that he decided on was formulaic and uninteresting (they faced hardship and perservered, wow!! so original and so interesting!!), thus meriting a 1-star rating.
In conclusion, don't read this horribly formulaic, boring, poorly-written, and ultimately overrated, piece of garbage. ... Read more


16. India Unbound : The Social and Economic Revolution from Independence to the Global InformationAge
by GURCHARAN DAS
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
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Asin: 0385720742
Catlog: Book (2002-04-09)
Publisher: Anchor
Sales Rank: 19483
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description


India today is a vibrant free-market democracy, a nation well on its way to overcoming decades of widespread poverty. The nation’s rise is one of the great international stories of the late twentieth century, and in India Unbound the acclaimed columnist Gurcharan Das offers a sweeping economic history of India from independence to the new millennium.

Das shows how India’s policies after 1947 condemned the nation to a hobbled economy until 1991, when the government instituted sweeping reforms that paved the way for extraordinary growth.Das traces these developments and tells the stories of the major players from Nehru through today. As the former CEO of Proctor & Gamble India, Das offers a unique insider’s perspective and he deftly interweaves memoir with history, creating a book that is at once vigorously analytical and vividly written. Impassioned, erudite, and eminently readable, India Unbound is a must for anyone interested in the global economy and its future.
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Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars marvellous
A well written and passionate summary of economic and political changes in India since independence. It was an eye-opener in many ways: readers of Ayn Rand would appreciate parallels to situations described in Atlas Shrugged. Coming from a former CEO of P&G India, the book offers a useful perspective on economic policies and changes over the last few decades. Though often repititive in its ranting against policies of earlier Indian governments, the book is still fairly engrossing.

4-0 out of 5 stars Understanding Indian political Economics.
Its a wonderful book for all those who are interested in India or for that matter even those who aren't.I'm sure in the last decade or so Indian Economy has shown promising growth, which makes it impossible to undermine importance of India in overall Global trade.
This book throws light on the economic path that India followed after Independence and the influence of Politics in the initial phase and the absence of the same on the Economy in the last few years.
Very good reading with sound analytical observations.

4-0 out of 5 stars Growth Unlimited - India Unbound
This book has become one of my favourite for two reasons. 1.) The author has written it in such an engrossing way(full of anecdotes) that you crave for more at the end of every chapter.
2.) It talks about present India.
This book does not give a picture (snake charmers, elephants, magicians, poverty...)which has been depicted for years. India Unbound traces meteoric rise of India after liberalisation and explores the reason behind it in Indian culture and tradition. It talks about deep rooted culture of Indian Business Community which has survived everything to see this day. I recommend India Unbound to everybody who wants to understand present Indian scenario. A must read for all.

4-0 out of 5 stars Das is a thorough Pollyanna
India Unbound presents a thesis which is good to read but might not be as practical as one would like.

Das has definitely written a highly readable commentary and for that he gets the four stars. The material is anecdotal and is highly redundant at times. He keeps repeating themes throughout the book which might be deliberate to drive the point home.

All in all a good read for anyone interested in India economics and a good dose of why capitalism-is-good-for-all rhetoric. Now, if only the Indian youth actually reads this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars On the slow but steady road to prosperity
As former CEO of Procter & Gamble in India, Gurcharan Das seems eminently qualified to describe how policy reforms in the early 1990s finally broke the stranglehold of the License Raj on Indian's enormous economic potential. His prognosis that half of India could turn middle class by the first quarter of this century, while somewhat optimistic, is not out of line with what many analysts agree is certainly possible.

Much of this book is an indictment of past policy failures and an relatively upbeat assesment of India's future economic prospects. Das delivers this in elegant, readable prose with analysis which is generally well backed by statistics.

There are many quotable extracts from this book, but I will limit myself to one which draws from his comparison of India's economic performance to the faster growing East Asian economies until the onset of the 1997 crisis QUOTE India did not participate in this great adventure. We grew up believing that our mixed economy - the mixture of socialism and the free market that grew out of Jawaharlal Nehru's idealist vision - though not as efficient as capitalism, was better because it cared for the poor. It was better than communism because it preserved political freedoms. But its problem was of performance, not of faith. If it had worked, most of the Third World would be more prosperous today. Indians have learned from painful experience that the state does not work on behalf of the people. More often than not, it works on behalf of itself. UNQUOTE

Not having grown up in India, I am less sure whether readers in India will find many parts of this book as informative as it certainly will be for many, if not most foreign readers. But they will surely share much of Das' view that a profound transformational change is underway in this nation, even if its boat to prosperity has been slower than elsewhere. ... Read more


17. Jaipur : The Last Destination
by Aman Nath
list price: $75.00
our price: $75.00
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Asin: 1860640427
Catlog: Book (1996-12-15)
Publisher: I.B. Tauris
Sales Rank: 260568
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Jaipur: The Last Destination brings alive nine centuries, pulling history out of the realm of text books and making it a wondrous narrative of war and bravery; migration and settlement; loyalty, deceit and murder; of medieval connoisseurship of the architecture and the arts; of splendour, opulence and extravagance.
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars The past is reborn!
Being a Rajput whose father is from the Jaipur dynasty, I was very impressed with this book. Like the latest book (please refer to "Maharaj's Jewels"), I found this book very ornate with beautiful pictures and rich historical details. The book is full of facts and intersting tidbits a reader will find facinating. Like all table top books, this one will add integrity to one's collection...

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent work
keep it up we must talk as i am a landscape photographer from india but in dubai uae we could work something together pl email me and see my books elements

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Images on Jaipur
Jaipur: The Last Destination which was among the six books chosen by Christie's first catalog of art books under its Islamic/Oriental/Indian Section and recommended for its "stunning images." Published by St. Martin's Press in North America and I.B.Taurus in Europe, the book also received a national award from the Indian government, and has become a landmark in Indian art book publishing by having four reprints. ... Read more


18. Provincializing Europe
by Dipesh Chakrabarty
list price: $19.95
our price: $17.95
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Asin: 0691049092
Catlog: Book (2000-09-15)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 97693
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Can European thought be dislodged from the center of the practice of history in a non-European place? What problems arise when we translate cultural practices into the categories of social science? Provincializing Europe is one of the first book-length treatments on how postcolonial thinking impacts on the social sciences. This book explores, through a series of linked essays, the problems of thought that present themselves when we think of a place such as India through the categories of modern, European social science and, in particular, history.

Provincializing Europe is a sustained conversation between historical thinking and postcolonial perspectives. It addresses the mythical figure of Europe that is often taken to be the original site of the modern in many histories of capitalist transition in non-Western countries. This imaginary Europe, Chakrabarty argues, is built right into the social sciences. The very idea of historicizing carries with it some peculiarly European assumptions about disenchanted space, secular time, and human sovereignty. Measured against such mythical standards, capitalist transition in the third world has often seemed either incomplete or lacking. Chakrabarty finds that "Nativism," however, is no answer to Eurocentrism, because the universals propounded by European Enlightenment remain indispensable to any social critique that seeks to address issues of social justice and equity. Provincializing Europe proposes that every case of transition to capitalism is a case of translation as well--a translation of existing worlds and their thought-categories into the categories and self-understandings of capitalist modernity. Chakrabarty demonstrates, both theoretically and with examples from colonial and contemporary India, how such translational histories may be thought and written. Provincializing Europe is not a project of shunning European thought. It is a project of globalizing such thought by exploring how it may be renewed both for and from the margins. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Well written book on Indian culture
"Provincializing Europe" by Dipesh Chakrabarty (no relation of mine), a professor of history at the University of Chicago is a delightfully written book on rather serious topics. The basic thesis propounded by Chakrabarty is about the predominant influence of European thoughts and ideals shaping the socio-political systems in India and its neighboring countries. Despite the recent uproar by many minority groups as well as women against the predominance of "dead white males" in the core curricula of most universities, we have to admit that these authors shape the economic and political models. Chakrabarty here has attempted to portray the integration of the non-western minds with the western ideals and philosophy.

In doing so Chakrabarty covers a wide territory in terms of ideology, time and geography. The chapters on Marx and Heideggar are heavy reading; but it is worthwhile to spend one's energy to go through them. Because, he has very expertly explained the the!oretical basis of the tenets of these philosophies that attract the Indian mind, particularly, the Bengali mind. These chapters provide a good background to understand the basis of cultural differences between the west and the east. I find this extremely valuable not only for the students of humanities, but also students of International business.

Several of the important facets of Indian, Bengali in particular, society are discussed in great length. The chapter on widows and women in general is a very valuable topic. Plight of women Indian society is not new by any means. Even the Indian epic, Mahabharat through the questions of Draupadi to the Kuru elder Bhisma introduces the issue of women's freedom. But neither Bhisma in Mahabharat nor the leaders of Indian society provided a definitive solution. Chakrabarty and I share the view that economic independence (and therefore proper marketable education) is the necessary condition for betterment of women's lot.
I was delighted to read the chapter on "Adda", a unique Bengali culture. In Europe, café culture comes close to it. The French had the "salon" culture. Having participated in many "adda" in my youth in Calcutta, I miss it while living in the US or in Europe. Chakrabarty does a favor to my occidental friends by properly explaining what it means and what it did for Bengali social system.

Summing up, I would recommend this book to several groups of people. First, if you want to learn about the intricacies of the Indian, particularly Bengali, culture, this book is for you. Second, of course, this book is a required reading for any serious student of India and Indian culture. Third, students of international business should also be interested in this book as it lays the foundation of the many cultural tenets that are important in economic activities.

3-0 out of 5 stars Whither subalternity?
Pace Chakrabarty, "Provincializing Europe" is replete with intellectual antics, including an inventive chapter devoted to re-reading "Das Kapital", and charged with 'ubiquitous obliquity' (to borrow Tom Stoppard's phrase from another context). However, it is not the detailed argumentation of the book that concerns us here; its essence will suffice to indicate the direction neo-Subalternism has taken. Chakrabarty's book aims to dismantle historicism itself, identified as that evil of the Enlightenment which views social phenomena as unities and historically developed. To achieve this, it proposes the disruption of metanarratives grounded in a 'single and secular historical time' (Chakrabarty 2000, 16 et passim) - (neo)colonial, nationalist, Marxist, whatever - by introducing authentic 'difference' thereto. This difference is sought in religion and the inclusion of gods and spirits as agents of history. Meanwhile, despite the repeated insistence that this is still Subalternist historiography, the subaltern meanders in the wings of Chakrabarty's stage, while his world of the Bengali middle-class male comes to constitute his 'archive' (Chakrabarty 2000, 117-236). As for the question of power, the analysis of relations of domination and subordination internal to society has given way to the power struggle between the oppressive Enlightenment and the recalcitrant historian in the new brand of "Subaltern Studies". Here, power is indeed entirely dispersed and only appears to coalesce in the Enlightenment and its intellectual heritage.

While enticing in its intellectual sharpness and breadth (Chakrabarty discusses Einstein and Marx in one fell swoop), there are a number of problems with this approach. The most urgent among these is that it paralyzes organized secular politics, lends credence to the politics of the religious right wing, and hence legitimates communal and sectarian carnage - a fact of life in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Furthermore, the fact that religion is the traditional stronghold of patriarchy as well as exploitation based on caste appears to escape Chakrabarty's notice. Only intellectuals located at a distance of oceans and continents from the destructive forces they valorize can afford to be so blasé about the very real threat of annihilation faced by minority groups in the context of an ascendant right. Polemics and reality (that specious construct) aside, and on a more scholarly note, the problematic of power stands sidelined. Subscribing to the idea that power is universal, and refusing to acknowledge that it coheres in concentrated form at certain sites (between subaltern and elite) is counterproductive to understanding power as it is exercised in systems of domination and subordination. By no means is such anxiety limited to the scholarship being released under the banner of Subaltern Studies. Susan Pedersen recently voiced similar concern over the direction of feminist history. Her eloquence merits citation in extenso: "[I]nsights that have proven so productive for cultural analysis - insights about the multivalent, collaborative and web-like nature of power - tend to be less useful for the study of narrower political processes. For, once we assume power is everywhere, it usually turns out to be nowhere very much; if it is analytically directionless, it scarcely needs to be taken into account. Our acceptance [...] of the truth that power is everywhere and that the weak, like the strong, play the game of power, has led us away from grasping the other truth that the players are not equal, that even multivalent systems can have internal movements preponderantly in one direction or another, that there are degrees of power, that a middle ground exists between an assumption of total agency and an assumption of total fixity - and that it is on this crucial middle ground that the most interesting questions are found and much interesting history happens."

Finally, the fact that Chakrabarty's archive is the Bengali middle-class male and that he, along with his associates, is mired in theorizing to the neglect of substantive research of subaltern history speaks for itself. .... ... Read more


19. Princely Rajasthan : Rajput Palaces and Mansions
by George Michell, Antonio Martinelli
list price: $65.00
our price: $40.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0865652406
Catlog: Book (2004-10-14)
Publisher: Vendome Press
Sales Rank: 9781
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Book Description

Rajasthan is a growing destination for both Indian and Western visitors, who are attracted by the region's history, tradition, luxurious hotels, and cuisine. This lush new book, written by a leading architecture and social historian, traces the evolution of palace architecture in Rajasthan from the 16th to the early 20th century. George Michell focuses on the major capitals of Rajput power, including Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, and Bikaner, as well as the lesser centers of Alwar, Bundi, Kota, and Jaisalmer, providing a glimpse into the lives of the often-colorful maharajas who lived in these and other fantastic palaces.

From the early fortresses of Chitor and Amber to the spacious city complexes in Jaipur and Udaipur and the Art Deco-style Umaid Bhavan in Jodhpur, Princely Rajasthan is at once a remarkable architectural history and a sumptuous visual evocation of Rajput courtly life. Antonio Martinelli's dazzling photographs bring to life the magnificent settings of the palaces, their outstanding architectural features and murals, and the royal collections of paintings, furniture, palanquins, and armor. AUTHOR BIO: George Michell trained as an architect and has a Ph.D. in Indian archaeology. He has published numerous books on Islamic and Indian architecture. Antonio Martinelli is an internationally renowned photographer who has worked extensively in India, Europe, and Japan.
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20. Woven Cargoes: Indian Textiles in the East
by John Guy
list price: $50.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0500018634
Catlog: Book (1998-10-01)
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Sales Rank: 457903
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Book Description

The dazzling cloths presented in this book are the visual record of one of the great untold stories of Asian cultural history: the trade in Indian textiles to Southeast Asia, China, and Japan. Outstanding among them are the tie-dyed silk patola made for Indonesia and the patterned cottons--the famous chintz--that were unmatched anywhere in fineness of design and permanence of color. The chintzes made for export to Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are now well known, but for over a thousand years these trade cloths were exchanged by merchants of all nations for the spices and valuables of the East. They were a key element in the formation of colonial maritime empires and, in the countries that sought to possess them, they clothed kings, served as prestigious diplomatic gifts, and even preserved wearers from death. John Guy explains the weaving techniques involved and describes the history of the trade in the Malay world, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, China, and Vietnam. He draws on a vivid range of contemporary sources, including the records of visitors, merchants, and trading companies; on paintings and engravings; on modern ethnographical studies; on his own firsthand research; and above all on the textiles themselves. ... Read more


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