I had heard of some things done by the British such as the Amritsar massacre, and the poor treatment of Indian people, mostly from films, but I had no idea of the depths of depravity of those involved. I agree with other reviewers, that this kind of material should be taught in schools. I found the book both fascinating and horrifying, like a slow-motion wreck. I admire the author's passion and position on the subject, and his impeccable writing style. As noted by one of the critics, for a Brit, it is indeed uncomfortable reading.
A solid summary of the arguments against the supposed "benefits" of British Imperial rule of India from the mid 18th to mid 20th centuries. Tharoor moves quickly over a vast landscape as he refutes the many arguments put forth by Raj-nostalgics and neo-Imperialist writers.
As a student of Indian history it was good to be refreshed on how the Raj, like all Imperial regimes were all about extraction, suppression and discrimination ( to put it mildly) and not about providing benefits to India or Indians.
Former American Ambassador to the UN, Andrew Young, once created controversy by claiming Britain invented racism. This book is good evidence for that.
Tharoor himself is a divisive figure in India and his somewhat glib and supremely confident tone will turn some off but the substance he marshalls while not original is powerful.
It's emabarrassing to admit that I didn't realise the extent to which I'd absorbed imperialist British knowledge and values about India. This book is a tremendous corrective about topics such as the extent of British plundering of the Indian village economy, the arguable benefits of the railway system and British law, the suppression of independence movements.
The book we should have studied in school when I was growing up in the UK. I knew we were bad... but this incredibly well researched and accessible book takes this appalling chapter in Britain’s history to a new level.
A well researched and truthful recount of the colonial history of India. Not until I read this book did I realise the scale of looting and the systematic impoverishment of India by the British. I recommend this book for anyone interested in Indian colonial history.
Outstanding historical research. Have had the privilidge of seeing and hearing the author speak. Great depiction of the horrors of colonialism and how we in the West re write and interpret history in a highly racists manner. Highly recommended.
I am shamed by the particularly incisive comments excerpted by Amazon writers in their Editorial Reviews presiding the reader comments regarding this fabulous book.
As with other readers I have been submerged by the output of British favourable commentators who have swept the floor of any colonial material that taints those two hundred years of their rule over the sub-continent. India and much of her history is of recent interest to me; I have taken the odd Upper Division survey course but beyond that nothing.
Tharoor's superlative examination of the decades of British rule would be hard to supersede even coming from my mediocre judgement. The opening chapter, "The Looting of India" is of itself such a damning examination of Colonial rule by a European country hell-bent on denuding India of it's wealth a bit at a time. This chapter is the blueprint for the beaurocratic rafishment of the sub-continent over the many approaching decades.