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India’s history begins with a highly advanced urban civilisation in the Indus valley, regressing to a tribal and pastoral nomadism, and then evolving into a uniquely stratified society. The pattern of inward invasion plus outward migration was established early: from Alexander the Great via the march of Islam and the great Moghuls to the coming of the East India Company and the establishment of the British Raj.
Older, richer and more distinctive than almost any other, India’s culture furnishes all that the historian could wish for in the way of continuity and diversity. The peoples of the Indian subcontinent, while sharing a common history and culture, are not now, and never have been, a single unitary state; the book accommodates Pakistan and Bangladesh, as well as other embryonic nation states like the Sikh Punjab, Muslim Kashmir and Assam.
In this brilliant new edition, John Keay continues the narrative of India’s history – covering events from partition to the present day and examining the very different fortunes of the three successor states: Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Republic of India. Based on the latest research, this is an indispensible history of a country set to be a definitive influence on the future of world economics, politics and culture.
‘A delight…one of the best general studies of the subcontinent.’ Andrew Lycett, Sunday Times
‘Ambitious, colourful and fascinating.’ Lawrence James, The Times
‘It is hard to imagine anyone succeeding more gracefully in producing a balanced overview than John Keay has done in ‘India: A History’…a book that is as fluent and readable as it is up-to-date and impartial. Hardly a page passes without some fascinating nugget or surprising fact…one can only hope that John Keay’s ‘India’ will be widely read, and its lessons taken to heart.’ Guardian
‘Certainly the most balanced and lucid history…his passion for India shines through and illuminates every page…puts Keay in the front rank of Indian historiographers.’ Spectator
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'.