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on 29 January 2008
Diana and Michael Preston succeed in bringing the Mughal era to life in this book.

Though the title of the book suggests that it deals with the building of the Taj, the authors describe the whole Mughal dynasty in depth.

The book starts with how Babur invaded the Delhi Sultanate and set up his empire in Northern India. The story goes with the exploits of his descendants - Humayun, Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangazeb.

The book is extremely well written, with a narrative style less like a documentary and more like a romantic tale - describing the rise of one of the most powerful and richest empires the world has known .... and how its eventual downfall came about.

The most interesting feature of the book, in my opinion, is the descriptions of the court life of the emperors. The Prestons give details of the reforms carried out by Akbar, life in the imperial harems, filial rivalries leading to bloody battles for the throne and the love lives of opulent rulers. What makes all of this truly fascinating is that it was all true - at least to a large extent.

The book quotes most of its sources and very little is based on the authors' conjectures.

I found it difficult to put the book down once I started reading it.

The only negative thing I can say is that the book could have included more pictures and diagrams of Mughal buildings. Many people who have not seen the buildings being written about will find it difficult to imagine the scale of these structures without some pictures.

All said, this is a fantastic buy for any history buff. Even if you aren't the most avid fan of history - it's a great read - just for learning about how a powerful dynasty rose and fell , and what life was like in the Indian subcontinent during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.

Must read.
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on 20 April 2009
I read this book prior to visiting The Taj Mahal. Really enjoyed it. It was well written and very informative. If you're going to visit the Taj you must read it before you go as it really brings it all to life. I think I appreciated The Taj Mahal so much more having learnt more about it and its history.
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on 10 June 2011
As was expected this is an excellent book about the story behind the Taj well worth a read if you're really into that sort of thing. The only thing that spoilt it for us was it's condition on arrival; clearly there were remnants of other stickers on the covers suggesting it had already been in a sale elsewhere.
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on 5 November 2013
Wanted some basic information before going to visit next year. This was much better than I thought. Lots of easy to read facts within a story setting. I am now reading for the second time to make notes that will be relevent . why wasnt learning history made this simple when i was at school --many years ago.
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on 26 February 2014
Love the detailed history of the building of the Taj Mahal, especially from a surveyor/architect's point of view. Congratulations to the writers.
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on 8 September 2008
I was looking for an account of the history of the Taj Mahal and this book is it. It is well written and researched. Easy to read and follows a logical timeline for easy understanding. During the read it becomes apparent that there are aspects which you will want more detail but this book covers basic facts and will requuire you to seek out further books for more detail. Some more illustrations would have been handy as sometimes it would help to visualise what a fantastic era it was. Over all a great introduction and history of the Taj Mahal and the people behind it - recommended.
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on 1 August 2015
Excellent good condition
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