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Sikhism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) [Paperback]

Eleanor Nesbitt
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

22 Sep 2005 Very Short Introductions
The Sikh religion has a following of over 20 million people worldwide and is one of the largest religions in the world. However, events such as the verbal and physical attacks on Sikhs just after September 11 indicated that Sikhs were being mistaken for Muslims, and suggests that the raising of sufficient and appropriate awareness about Sikhism still needs to be addressed.

This book will introduce newcomers to the meaning of Sikhism, and its practices, rituals, and festivals. The key threads in the fascinating history of the religion will be highlighted, from the Gurus and the development of the Sikh look, to martyrdom and militarization in the 17th and 18th Centuries and the diaspora. Eleanor Nesbitt brings the subject completely up to date with an examination of gender and caste, referring to contemporary film, such as Bend It Like Beckham, and media reports.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (22 Sep 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192806017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192806017
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 16.6 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 64,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"This book on Sikhism is a little gem. Nesbitt writes beautifully and succinctly... There will be no excuse for not knowing something about Sikhism in the future." (Carrie Mercer, Shap World Religions in Education)

About the Author

Eleanor Nesbitt specialises in ethnographic study of the UK's Hindu and Sikh communities. She is Reader in Religions and Education at the Institute of Education, University of Warwick. Her books include: Intercultural Education: Ethnographic and Religious Approaches; Interfaith Pilgrims; The Religious Lives of Sikh Children: A Coventry Based Study; Guru Nanak (with Gopinder Kaur) ; and Hindu Children in Britain (with Robert Jackson).

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Sikhism is sometimes described as the newest and smallest of the world's religions. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Accurate but insipid 26 Oct 2006
Nesbitt's book has all the positive qualities one associates with the VSI series: it is clear, well-presented, readable and accurate. Just the sort of book Sikhs might think about giving to their non-Sikh friends and colleagues. There's a bit of theology, a touch of culture; politics makes an appearance, as does sociology. All the boxes seem to have been ticked.

But there's the rub: reading it feels like a box-ticking exercise. Nowhere does the author try to capture the allure of Sikhism. Why would anyone want to be a Sikh? What is it about the faith that its believers find so attractive? What does Sikhi feel like from the inside?

Of course the author can't answer those questions - she is not a Sikh. But she can ask them, both in her capacity as an ethnographer and, as she puts it, an intellectual questioner. One for the second edition perhaps?
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Introduction to the Sikh Religion 9 Aug 2006
This book is titled "A Very Short Introduction to Sikhism" yet manages to cover all of the main points about Sikhism in an interesting and readable manner. A great strength is its contemporary feel, and its up-to-date references ensure that it becomes more than just another book about religion. Dr Nesbitt demonstrates her detailed knowledge about Sikhism describing the evolution of Sikhism from Guru Nanak Dev Ji to the modern day, making this book extremely readable by describing the `story' of Sikhism, with each chapter building on information presented in the previous one. I can recommend this book to anyone who requires a concise yet lively and well informed text on the Sikh Religion & Sikh History. A very welcome addition to the bookshelf of anyone who is interested in Religion in general, and Sikhism in particular.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat uninspiring 4 Feb 2010
I couldn't agree more with the review entitled "accurate but insipid"- the book reminded me a little of the drab and uninspiring textbooks handed out in RE lessons, though thankfully questions and written exercises didn't punctuate the text! While there is nothing wrong with the information given, you wonder whether the author set about writing and researching the book as a factual rather than spiritual exercise- and religion is not required in the case of the latter, just a genuine curiosity and interest. I also don't remember reading about the Gora Sikh movement in America in the 60s under the guidance of Yogi Bhajan either, which is a shame because he made a great contribution.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I had expected 7 April 2011
By Dr. Bojan Tunguz TOP 500 REVIEWER
My interest in Religion stems primarily from the desire to learn about faith and beliefs, and their metaphysical underpinnings. So when I pick up a book in order to learn about a religion that is different from my own, I have an expectation that the major part of that book will deal with the subject matter of those beliefs. Regrettably, that is not the case with this very short introduction. The Sikh beliefs are dealt with briefly and in a very superficial way. Most of the book deals with Sikhism as a social and ethnic category. Of course, those considerations should not be neglected either, but this was not why I decided to pick up and read this book. If, on the other hand, you are interested in those "demographic" aspects of Sikhism, this very short introduction will provide you with plenty of information. This, however, makes for a very boring read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Short Introdcution 11 April 2014
As the author of "How the Sikh Gurus Can Change Your Life" I know what it's like to aim to provide a short introduction to the absolutely massive wealth of insight that Sikhism can provide!

I agree with reviewers who thought this introduction feels very much like a survey, looking at Sikhism from the outside and touching on everything a little bit. But if you just want quick short information on history, religious context and main tenets of Sikhs this is a good place to start.
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