History shouldn't be used to judge even though a lot of people claim that history should be the best judge. To judge a historical period, one must also factor in the context then. Without appreciating the context, one may end up distorting history. Aurangzeb is probably the most hated Mughal for exactly this reason. He is hated by Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims alike!
Audrey Truschke, a professor in history cites various historical sources to build the context and leaves the judgement to the readers.
The Great Gatsby
When the going is good, everyone is 'friends' with you. But when the first signs of trouble appear, only the true friends remain. "The Great Gatsby" is a novel by Scott Fitzgerald that mashes friendship, love and betrayal in a story set in America in the 1920s (post the World …read more
My inventions: Autobiography of Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla may not be as famous as his contemporary Thomas Edison but his inventions (like the AC motor and his experiments in telephony) have had larger impact than Edison's.
If you keep the descriptions of his inventions aside, Tesla was an interesting character. He was a polyglot, believed in …read more
Three thousand stitches
"Three Thousand Stitches" is a collection of short stories by Sudha Murthy. Unlike her other short story books I have read, most of the stories here are anecdotes from her life and sound vain and righteous. Decent for a quick read.read more
Who moved my cheese?
The tagline of the book is "An amazing way to deal with change in your work and life" and summarizes the book perfectly. Dr Spencer Johnson creates four fictitious characters (2 humans and 2 mice) who are stuck in a maze trying to locate their cheese. One day, their cheese …read more
Why should the US claim independence from Great Britain? Well, it was "Common Sense" according to Thomas Paine, one of the founders of America. In this pamphlet later converted into a book, Thomas Paine lists out the various reasons for ceding from Britain and taking the next steps towards drafting …read more
Who were the Shudras?
How does one expose the hypocrisy of an orthodoxy? By studying their sources of 'truth' and invalidate them. That's the approach taken by BR Ambedkar in his book "Who were the Shudras?". He quotes the Vedas and other scriptures to demonstrate tampering and selective reading as a basis to prop …read more
"On Nationalism" is a collection of essays by historian Romila Thapar, jurist AG Noorani and journalist Sadanand Menon. The JNU sedition row of 2016 prompted these personalities to pen down their thoughts on the concept of nationalism and how vested interests misuse it (not just restricted to India but a …read more
The temple tiger and more man-eaters of Kumaon
I was aware of Jim Corbett's role as a conservationist where he spent a large portion of his life trying to save the tiger in the United Provinces (currently the state of Uttarakhand) but little did I know that he started off as a hunter. He would be commissioned by …read more
The First War of Independence
"The First War of Independence" is the translation of Vinayak Damodar Savarakar's Marathi book on the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. This is a book I will suggest all English readers to avoid because there are a lot of typos, grammatical errors, bad formatting and factual contradictions (within the book). These …read more