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The Story of India Paperback – 3 Jul 2008


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The Story of India + The Story of India with Michael Wood: Complete BBC Series [DVD]
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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Books (3 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846074606
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846074608
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.9 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 119,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Michael Wood’s approachable (but highly informed) manner is a gift for TV presentation of a diverse selection of subjects, ranging from archaeology to foreign countries to Shakespeare, and as the book to accompany the epic BBC history series The Story of India comprehensively proves, those attributes transfer smoothly to the printed page. In this sumptuously illustrated volume, Wood tells a fascinating, turbulent story -- nothing less than the 10,000 year history of India. Over a fifth of the world's population is crammed into a subcontinent which was the initial progenitor of one of the most significant civilisations on the planet. And in a period when India becomes a global economic force to be reckoned with, it is the perfect time for Wood to show us how this massively achieving country relates to the demands of the modern world, while celebrating the awe-inspiring riches of the country's past. Taking us from the Himalayas to the sultry jungles of India's deep South, Michael Wood presents every aspect of the country, from its cultures, regions, religions and major historical figures (such as Gandhi and Nehru). The influence of Indian ideas on the rest of the world has long been a potent force, and Wood takes that on in a clear-sighted way; some might wish he tackle more rigorously the more controversial aspects of Indian society and religion, but this is not that kind of book. And the remarkable colour photographs perfect complement this ambitious and enlightening history and travelogue of one of the world's great countries. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"An entertaining history of one of the world's most fascinating places" (Daily Telegraph on the hardback edition)

"A marvellously vivid portrait of India's 10,000-year-old cultural and religious history...Gorgeously illustrated and intelligently written, this is both an erudite and entertaining history" (Sunday Telegraph on the hardback edition)

"This is a beautifully illustrated cultural history, a traveller's tale and a compelling and readable guide to the rise and rise of a civilization" (The Good Book Guide on the hardback edition)

"Michael Wood is the maker of some of the best television documentaries ever made on history and archaeology." (Times Literary Supplement)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 60 people found the following review helpful By J. Galea on 29 Aug. 2007
Format: Hardcover
I've always found Michael Wood's books full of passion and insight and after watching his spectacular programme on Friday, I looked this up online immediately. I've just read it cover to cover (in one sitting!) and was relieved to find that what Michael Wood shows so elegantly on screen....is just as good in print! There is so much about ancient Indian history that gets overlooked and I would recommend this to anyone looking for a thorough, in depth account. I found it just as impressive as his other books, but really enjoyed the journey aspect to this - beautiful scene setting and pictures that make it feel like an epic.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mr. N. T. Baxter VINE VOICE on 4 Jun. 2008
Format: Hardcover
I am an avid history reader, but before I read this book I knew only a rough outline of Indian history - perhaps even that's an exageration! So for me much of this was new and exciting. As usual, Wood's enthusiasm and writing skills make his work a pleasure to read, and also gives a real sense of the place and people.

I particularly enjoyed the first chapter looking at the earliest prehistoric times, especially the section on the fire cults and mantra based rituals that could go back almost as long as mankind has walked the earth. Mind boggling.

India is such a rich, interesting and diverse country that it is far beyond the scope of a single volume to cover everything important in sufficient detail, but as a sweeping overview full of colour and interest this book is a real gem.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Jim on 8 Sept. 2007
Format: Hardcover
Michael Wood has done it again - brought a relatively little known period of history to life in thrilling fashion. This is totally absorbing and the pictures are absolutely stunning. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 July 2009
Format: Paperback
In 300 pages the historian Michael Wood gallops us through the history of India. He charts the rise of immense cities in 4000 bc, all the way through to the rise of India as an emerging, 21st century global power. It is, of necessity incomplete. To cover in detail everything he outlines would take volumes.

This is a companion piece to the BBC tv series of the same name and in my opinion this book should be used as a guide and a reminder to the series in order to get the best out of it. The visual delights of the series and Wood's compelling narrative work so wonderfully that the book can only really be a pale imitation, fascinating though it is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Antenna TOP 500 REVIEWER on 11 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback
With many colourful illustrations, this serves as an attractive souvenir of the BBC series, although the DVD is obviously better. The chapters themed by chronological time periods provide much intriguing information if you have the time and patience to tease it out of the somewhat rambling text: the followers of the Jain religion who gather annually to pour "great vats of milk, paste, saffron and vermilion over the giant statue" of their guru Babuballi; the ruler Ashoka, advised that he had to be "cruel to be great", who converted to Buddhism in later life, leaving his kingdom scattered with carved pillars instructing his subjects on how to live as he removed the death penalty, calling for the conservation of forests and respect for the beliefs and practices of others and so on.

I was looking for a book that would combine history with culture and politics, but to be fair this does not claim to be more than a history. With friends and contacts to ease his path, Wood presents a somewhat rose-tinted view of India: the squalor, dirt and pollution are cunningly omitted from all his pictures, and the ancient monuments and paintings gleam with colour, with little sign of the ravages of time. If you are reading this for a standard sightseeing tour, you may be a little disappointed by the often harsh and worn reality.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sampath on 30 Sept. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book accompanies the TV series and the DVD release of the series. An excellent book to have if you liked the programme and have the DVD as well. Nice to read it when you have watched the programme and for some additional information. I was born and grew up in South India so had some doubts about one image atleast which appeared to be a photograph arranged (without adequate research) for this book. But this is a minor issue when you consider the passion with which Michael Wood presents India. Far better than many programmes produced in India.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. R. Patel on 15 May 2011
Format: Paperback
I have always enjoyed Michael Wood's documentaries particulary those concerning Alexander the Great and did not know he was an indophile until I saw his documentary on India, which was superbly made. I carried this book around with my on my journey of india and it may only glance much of the depth and history of the continent but it does manage to un-pick: a complex cultural identity and how the nation and country came to be such a melting pot of ideas, religion and culture.
Recommended
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By Kashyap M on 31 Dec. 2014
Format: Paperback
Excellent read. Mr. Wood's narrative includes anecdotes from his travel and first hand experiences. He rightly weaves the book around religion. Indeed, the search for wisdom has been a defining thread of Indian life and culture over the centuries. The other aspect of the book that I liked was his focus (and obvious love) of South India and Tamil Nadu.

The missing chapter in the book, is of course, on Adi Shankara. Mr. Wood has devoted a considerable portion of the book to the Buddha and his ideas. This is completely justified as these ideas are, perhaps, the greatest export of Indian thought to the World two thousand years ago. I would have liked to see more on the impact of Adi Shankara and how the Advaita philosophy catalyzed the decline of Buddhism in India.
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