A rich, somewhat overlong history that should prove fascinating for students of Indian history.



A British expert in South Asian politics tackles the history of Britain’s conquest of India.

As Wilson (History/King’s Coll. London) shows, while India may have been subdued, it was never really conquered. A people who existed in an age of negotiation and open discussion would gladly have adapted to the East India Company’s needs, as long as it suited them. India was a culture of diverse societies. The Mughals fostered harmony, not homogeneity, were careful not to impose the will of a centralized state, and felt that enemies could always become friends. The British were really policemen and railroad builders. Rather than intending to settle the subcontinent, they were there simply to make money. Though the East India Company was interested in trade only, not political power, they still ruled and did so without engaging citizens. They made paper a surrogate for authority, reducing lives to lines in an account. It was not until Queen Victoria was named Empress in 1876 that India was actually united with England. Wisely, Wilson focuses on the view from the Indian side rather than that of the Raj, and he carefully and thoroughly describes the people of India, their ties to Persia, and their social and political lives. The history before the English is intriguing, as towns and regions were separate but equal. Though enlightening and clearly written, the detail-dense narrative would be a great deal easier to follow with maps showing the political changes during the time period. Wilson deals forcefully with those who supposedly “formed” India, including Thomas Macaulay, who spent three years in India in the 1830s writing a code of penal law without ever engaging a local; Robert Clive, aka Clive of India, who served as commander in chief of British India; and Warren Hastings, the head of the Supreme Council of Bengal in the 1770s and ’80s.

A rich, somewhat overlong history that should prove fascinating for students of Indian history.

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61039-293-8

Page Count: 592

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 10, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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