"The Grand Rebel: An impression of Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha Empire" is Dennis Kincaid's love story for his personal hero. He pieced this book from compilations of folk tales, Marathi books, songs and poems. While most of the book is accurate, he seems to exaggerate Shivaji's political influence and resorts to referring to him as India's first Hindu king (a tagline also used for other kings like Prithviraj Chauhan). In the book, Dennis Kincaid portrays the traders of the East India company as righteous and ever helping whose sole purpose in India was to trade. Not sure if the irony dawned on him as a civil servant administering the Indian colony some 300 years later.
Why I killed Gandhi?
It was a coincidence that I started reading this book on the birth anniversary of Gandhi. "Why I killed Gandhi" is a transcript of the defence put up by Nathuram Godse in court. The foreword to this short book quotes a judge who claims that if the Indian legal system …read more
How can you write political satire that can be hard-hitting even when not very direct? You piggy back (pun intended) upon allegory. "Animal Farm" by George Orwell is a satire on Soviet Russia (under Stalin, I guess) drawing upon animals from a barn.
The animals in a barn rise in …read more
When Yuval Noah Harari had to teach history at university, he made notes and "Sapiens" was born from those. But don't let any of this guide your decision to read the book.
The book starts with the question, are we humans different? Does race, religion, gender etc define us? Or …read more
Small is Beautiful
EF Schumacher was a famous economist with the British government. "Small is Beautiful" is his collection of speeches. He covers a lot of topics like the energy crisis, pollution, capitalism, socialism etc. It is in this book that he first makes use of the term "Buddhist economics" which refers to …read more
The Razor's Edge
Can an incident in life affect you so much that you are willing to sacrifice your career and your love? Larry returns from the first world war as a different person. His lover, Isabel is anxious about their future together. Larry breaks the engagement because he wants answers to some …read more
Ashoka: The Search for India's Lost Emperor
Ashoka is a king we idolize, one who gave up violence to take up the path of the Buddha, one who spread Buddhism the world over. We learn about him as children and admire his greatness. But that's only now! Just 100 years ago, we weren't even aware of him …read more
We the living
After having been underwhelmed by Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead", I was reluctant to read another of her hyped books. "We the living" is set in the Soviet after the Czar was overthrown in a revolution.
Kira's family returns to Petrograd after being exiled by the revolutionaries. All family members struggle …read more
"Al Jazeera: How Arab TV News Challenged the World" by Hugh Miles is a biography of a TV network hated in the west as a mouthpiece of the terrorists and in the middle east as a mouthpiece of the west. If they are hated by everyone and yet have a …read more
Rome: The biography of a city
What's the first thing one picks up when intending to go sightseeing? Most likely a guide book? The popular guide books (like Lonely Planet) cater to more than sights ie food, experiences etc. Christopher Hibbert's "Rome: The biography of a city" is an unconventional guidebook that intertwines history of the …read more