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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never was there such a book... brilliant!
The book: an orphan in Lahore in around 1890 meets a wandering Tibetan priest and decides to join him in a quest to find a certain philosophical River; on the way they meet all India, adventures, and even his inheritance. But it is not (only) his inheritance that makes him grow up to what he is - it is his friendships, his nosiness, his persistence and his sense of...
Published on 21 Sept. 2011 by Henk Beentje

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72 of 79 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A simple conversion of a public domain text
This review is for Kim
Published by Start Publishing LLC
ASIN: B00ABDHYXW

This is a review of this particular edition, not of Kim as a book. Kim is a splendid novel by Rudyard Kipling. It's well worth a read.

This edition has text taken from Project Gutenberg, and is missing all italics and accents. It also has the errors in the text that...
Published on 21 Sept. 2010 by Paul Durrant


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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never was there such a book... brilliant!, 21 Sept. 2011
By 
Henk Beentje "Henk Beentje" (Kew, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Kim (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
The book: an orphan in Lahore in around 1890 meets a wandering Tibetan priest and decides to join him in a quest to find a certain philosophical River; on the way they meet all India, adventures, and even his inheritance. But it is not (only) his inheritance that makes him grow up to what he is - it is his friendships, his nosiness, his persistence and his sense of mischief. And while Kim becomes part of the Great Game, his Lama meditates upon life and earthly desires, and how to reach spiritual freedom. Wandering over the plains and in the hills, these two unlikely companions meet, it seems, all India, and some more besides.

My opinion: I am not sure whether Kipling is a great writer; some of his books don't move me, much. But this is certainly a great book. It has everything: growing up, espionage, adventure, travel, mysticism, fun. Set in colonial India ("the only democratic land in the world") and written by a typical empire aficionado, it shows respect for all classes of people (well, except maybe Russian and French spies) in a way I like, and that includes many religions. A wonderful book, re-readable at regular intervals, too; I think I am on my sixth reading, but it could as well be the tenth. Very Victorian, but also very timeless - brilliant.
And which edition to read? Well, I would say an old one like the thin-paper Macmillan ones, illustrated by J. Lockwood Kipling and smelling of long ago...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The great game is afoot, 12 May 2009
Although Rudyard Kipling has attracted his fair share of critics in recent years; namely for his strong views on Empiricism (he was very much for it and most of his works reflect this), he remains one of England's finest writers and poets. 'Kim' is a peek into the social and spiritual mores at the turn of the century before last, and despite being a little dated in tone and style it remains an accomplished work of literary fiction.

Kim O'Hara is the orphaned son of an Irish soldier, in this acclaimed novel set in India in the early Twentieth Century. Kim is a beggar, who just about scrapes a living on the streets of Lahore, until one day he comes into contact with a Tibetan holy man and agrees to become the man's disciple, accompanying the Lama on his journey to find a mystical river that will complete his quest for enlightenment.
A series of events lead to Kim becoming separated from his guru and sent to an exclusive English boarding school, where the Lama funds his education but where Kim eventually becomes indoctrinated into the world of espionage.
From hereon in, the novel becomes a study of the inherently unlimited capacity for deception in man, and how spiritual purity can be undermined by the world. The Lama becomes compromised and leads Kim back onto the path of Buddhism where he himself finally achieves enlightenment. The story ends with Kim standing at a metaphorical crossroads; the reader has to decide what his eventual decision and fate will be.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Passage To India, 12 Mar. 2007
By 
Rotgut "rotgut" (Warrington UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Kipling is an effective and powerful writer, here writing about a young European boy growing up on the streets of one of India's teeming cities, experiencing the dazzling sights, sounds and smells of the diverse cultures he encounters very much from the inside. Kim is certainly not an outsider, he joins the beggars, thieves, horse traders and mystics he lives alongside with enthusiasm. When he is sent to be educated as a European, it is clear where his sympathies lie, more, where his heart belongs. Consider the scenes where he sees the unpleasant youth from the military college racially abusing (to put it in modern terms) an Indian man.

It is impossible not to see Kim as, partly an autobiographical figure. Kipling himself spent his early years in India, and genuine love and respect for the country is shown here.

Certainly, the portrait is not sanitised, let alone idealised, and it is of course possible to argue the merits of the British being in India in the first place, but Kipling is an author, not a politician, and can only be expected to describe, not apologise for the world he sees.

Kim himself is an engaging mixture of two of Kipling's other creations : Mowgli, untamed wild savage, and Stalky, cunning Machiavellian schoolboy.

The adventures, in the "Great Game" that Kim stumbles on, perhaps, are dealt with somewhat sketchily, and do not amount to that much more than delivering important documents around the countryside. The main part of the novel, however, Kim's relationship with the Red Lama, unlikely and bizarre though it is, is dealt with in detail.

If this book was a Hollywood blockbuster, Kim and the Lama would have started out hating each other's guts and only come to mutual respect at the end of their long travels. Actually, of course, their relationship is less melodramatic, and the mismatched pair become an unlikely double act almost as soon as they meet.

The book, thereafter, becomes a chronicle of their journies, culminating in the Lama's search for a magic river ending with him falling in a water filled ditch. This cannot help but raise a smile in the reader, but Kipling has long since engaged our affection for his characters, so there is no danger of the reader laughing at this slightly silly ending.

On the contrary, as the damp Lama muses later, why shouldn't the divine water be wherever the seeker finds enlightenment?
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Great Game, 23 Sept. 2007
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Kim (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
In this book Rudyard Kipling gave us a better understanding of nineteenth century India, as well as the first modern spy story. Kim, a young European lad becomes embroiled in the 'Great Game', where Britain and Russia were carrying out espionage against each other in India. With the luscious backdrop of India we are immersed in the lives of Kim and his allies and foes leading very beleivable lives as they carry out their missions. Forget James Bond, this isn't escapism, but real life. I have read this story many times and it has never bored me yet, there is just so much in it. Also it has helped me in reading history and in the activities of the 'Great Game'. Reading this book is a real treasure and something that you will want to come back to time and again.
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72 of 79 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A simple conversion of a public domain text, 21 Sept. 2010
By 
Paul Durrant (Norwich, Norfolk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Kim (Kindle Edition)
This review is for Kim
Published by Start Publishing LLC
ASIN: B00ABDHYXW

This is a review of this particular edition, not of Kim as a book. Kim is a splendid novel by Rudyard Kipling. It's well worth a read.

This edition has text taken from Project Gutenberg, and is missing all italics and accents. It also has the errors in the text that are present in the Project Gutenberg text. It does have curly quotes and em-dashes, but that's the extent of the formatting. The verses at the start of chapters is very poorly formatted, and the in-line verses are even worse.

The are no illustration or annotations for the public domain text. This edition really has nothing to recommend it over the much better free version available at mobileread.

If you're looking for a Kindle edition of Kim, don't just search for "Kim". That only finds a few of the many editions. You'll need to used the advanced book search and search for title kim and author kipling and format Kindle Books. And also look for my review "Kindle Edition Choice is critical" for a review of all the available UK editions as of April 2013. I can't give a live link to the mass review here, but its web address is: http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R352D63HO69Y03/
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid Classic - adventure, spy, intrigue and loyalty, 27 Oct. 1999
By A Customer
KIM is a superb classic of spying, daring-do, intrigue, bizzare situations, a lost inheritance and one of the best descriptions of life in India under the Raj. I reread KIM at least once a year for the sheer joy of joining Kim O'Hara in finding his red Bull on the Green field, enjoying the wealth of different folks and playing the Great Game. There're the devious character, trader Abu Babi, the gentle Lama, and Kim's lessons in how to spy properly as well as the Widow, the English Colonel and the myriad of other well-drawn characters. Kipling remains one of the masters of story-telling. The yarn is far from 'old stuff' since Russian spying on Afghanistan has had a long history - "the pedigree of the white stallion" starts the action. (Of course, when the Russians invaded Afghantistan in this decade, I instantly reread KIM and chortled at their failure.)
KIM is also a tale of honor, loyalty and devotion as well as Kim's amusing antics for self-survival. The characters are exceedingly well developed, as only Kipling, with his appreciation of East and West, could weave for our enjoyment.
Anyone who aspires to be a writer should put Kipling high on their list of reading.
... After six decades I can still find delight in KIM and relive the thrill of setting out on a long and dangerous road, thwarting spies and saving two nations!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never was there such a book... wonderful!, 21 Sept. 2011
By 
Henk Beentje "Henk Beentje" (Kew, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Kim (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
The book: an orphan in Lahore in around 1890 meets a wandering Tibetan priest and decides to join him in a quest to find a certain philosophical River; on the way they meet all India, adventures, and even his inheritance. But it is not (only) his inheritance that makes him grow up to what he is - it is his friendships, his nosiness, his persistence and his sense of mischief. And while Kim becomes part of the Great Game, his Lama meditates upon life and earthly desires, and how to reach spiritual freedom. Wandering over the plains and in the hills, these two unlikely companions meet, it seems, all India, and some more besides.

My opinion: I am not sure whether Kipling is a great writer; some of his books don't move me, much. But this is certainly a great book. It has everything: growing up, espionage, adventure, travel, mysticism, fun. Set in colonial India ("the only democratic land in the world") and written by a typical empire aficionado, it shows respect for all classes of people (well, except maybe Russian and French spies) in a way I like, and that includes many religions. A wonderful book, re-readable at regular intervals, too; I think I am on my sixth reading, but it could as well be the tenth. Very Victorian, but also very timeless - brilliant.
And which edition to read? Well, I would say an old one like the thin-paper Macmillan ones, illustrated by J. Lockwood Kipling and smelling of long ago...
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and sympathetic, 28 July 2010
The road story of the boy Kim and an aged redemption-seeking Lama told through the sights, sounds, characters, social structures and beliefs of British Imperial India, spiced up (unnecessarily, but enjoyably) with a spy yarn - compelling.

Kipling's devout love of all things Indian is written into every page and episode in this book, which is as much a travelogue as a piece of storytelling. It feels as if his real purpose was to share that devotion with his readers and, to hook them in, he cleverly bolted on a secondary plot about French and Russian spies in the sub-continent. To make these two elements work together Kipling created an unlikely pairing between the Teshoo Lama, abbot of the Himalayan Such-zen monastery who is in search of a miraculous river of redemption, and Kimball ("Kim) O'Hara, the son of a deceased Irish soldier who has pretty much grown up on the streets of Lahore and can pass for a native. Kim becomes the Lama's Chela (follower and pupil) as the Lama travels through India on his quest and this device enables the two to cover the country and meet the many and varied characters that fill it.

For me, that quest and their journey would have been enough as Kipling superbly captures the feel of India at that time; the heat, the smells, the dust, the food, countryside, railways, pilgrims, quacks, rich and poor are all explored along the way and between Kim's scampish youth and the Lama's respected holiness no doors are closed to them. This is a very deferential travelogue that treats India's cultures with reverence but simultaneously exposes the light and shade of its people. The contrast between the resourceful and down-to-earth Kim and the other worldly Lama makes for gentle comedy along the way. However Kipling obviously thought that a more conventional plot element was needed to draw in his readers and so causes Kim to be discovered by his father's old army regiment and, with the Lama's blessing, sent to school to learn to become a Sahib, except in the holidays when he again joins up with the holy man. As a quick-witted and persuasive scallywag, Kim comes to the attention of British Intelligence and is recruited as a junior spy in the Great Game of political intrigue between Britain and Russia played out in India's northern states.

The spy story is really pure macguffin and draws in a cast of shadowy ne'er do well characters - Mahbub Ali, a famous Pashtun horse trader and spy for the British, Colonel Creighton a British Army officer, ethnologist and spy, Lurgan Sahib a Simla gem trader and master spy and Hurree Chunder Mookherjee (The Babu) a Bengali intelligence operative working for the British and Kim's direct superior. Needless to say Kim manages to foil the bad guys but it's not all plain sailing emotionally or spiritually and Kipling leaves the reader nicely unsure as to whether his future lies with the Lama or the spies

There are accusations against Kipling that he promoted British imperial rule in India, or at least failed to condemn it in this work. I don't think he was trying to make a political point either way but simply describing the India he knew and loved, and that's a place which I very much enjoyed spending time in with this book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sam Dastor's reading of "Kim", 9 Jan. 2005
By 
A. J. Davies (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Kim (Audio Cassette)
I discovered Kim in my 30s and I'm glad I didn't read it as a child, like some sort of boys-own adventure, because it is so much more than that. I won't go into the story here. Too many reviewers have already contributed their dodgy interpretations and peculiar personal opinions. It happens to be my all-time favourite book and I read and re-read it regularly, but that's just me - I respect those who do not see in it what I see. Read it for yourself and make up your own mind.
What I'd like to say here is that Sam Dastor's reading (get it unabridged, on cassette or CD) is absolutely superb. Not only does he read with incredible skill, but it is clear that he knows, loves and understands the story profoundly. In his voice the narrative flows like a perfectly paced piece of music and each character is alive as a real individual, each accent and way of speaking as familiar to me now as those of my own friends and family...
I could go on, but by now you'll realise that I reckon Mr Dastor did the job well. Sam, where are you? I'd like to thank you - in fact, I'd like to kiss the ground on which you stand!
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kindle Edition Choice is crucial!, 8 Aug. 2010
By 
Paul Durrant (Norwich, Norfolk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Kim is a splendid novel by Rudyard Kipling. It's well worth a read.

The problem is that there are a lot of Kindle versions of `Kim' available at the UK Kindle store. Lots of them are terrible. A very few are good. Unfortunately, the reviews for Kim are amalgamated into one big group of reviews, and so finding the best one to buy is difficult - near impossible. And so I make this review. Well -- and I do have an edition available for the Kindle myself.

Since I first made my review of kindle editions of Kim back in 2010, many new editions of Kim for the Kindle have appeared, and many of the old (terrible) ones have vanished from the Amazon catalogue.

So I'm updating this review, with information on all the editions of Kim that have appeared since I last updated the review, and I've removed the notes on all those that are no longer available. This review was last updated in April 2013

This review comments on each edition I've found, with a live link to the reviewed edition for the good editions and the honourable mentions. I can't link to all of the editions, because of a limit on the number of product links allowed in a review. However, I have given the ASIN for the other editions.

First, the ones that have a good quality of text and formatting. All of these have proper typographic quotes and dashes, and italic text where they should. They also have reasonable or good paragraph formatting.

Kim (Penguin Modern Classics)
ePenguin
An excellent version of the text. Occasional typos, probably only a few more than in the printed book.
The footnotes are hyperlinked both ways, so they're easy to follow.
This edition also comes with an introductory essay, but opens to that, rather than the start of the actual text of Kim.
This text is based on the revised text of the American 1941 Burwash edition, itself based on the English 1937-1939 Sussex edition. It therefore contains a few American spellings - chiefly of words that that take an 's' in British English and a 'z' in American English.
£6.99

Kim (Penguin Classics)
Penguin
A nicely formatted edition with lots of extras. Indeed, so many extras that I can't comment on the text, as the sample doesn't actually get to the text itself. Hopefully based on the same clean text as the ePenguin edition ASIN B002RI9KQ8. No illustrations as far as I can tell.
£5.49

Kim (Puffin Classics)
Puffin: B004WNA9BQ
A nice introduction by Susan Cooper and the text is well formatted, and seems very clean - it even has the correct u with macron character. There don't seem to be any extras except for the introduction - no annotations, no illustrations. This is a good, plain (if overpriced) edition, but nothing really to recommend it.
£2.99

Kim (Vintage Classics)
Vintage Digital
A very clean copy of the text. I only found two definite typo in the sample text (Kutu instead of Kulu, and Oh instead of Ohé). It's also very nicely formatted, with good formatting of chapter starts and paragraphs. Italics, curly quotes and proper dashes, of course. No real extras - a paragraph or two about Kipling is all, really. No illustrations or annotations.
£2.84

Kim (Modern Library Classics)
Modern Library
A first line indent and no spacing between paragraphs. But poor formatting fo the chapter starts. It has superscript numbers in the text that refer to a glossary at the end, but the superscripts are not hyperlinked. There is an introduction, and a map illustration. This text is based on the original 1901 version.
£1.89

Kim: Illustrated by J. Lockwood Kipling
Durrant Publishing
I believe that this is the cleanest version of the text available, i.e. with the fewest typos. It follows the Sussex edition rather than the American Burwash version as the ePenguin version does. So British spelling throughout. Hyperlinks (both ways) are used for the definitions of foreign and strange words - all of Kipling's definitions and lots more.
The illustrations by Kipling's father are included at appropriate points in the text. There are ten illustrations altogether, and the cover image is a detail from one of them.
No essay about the text though. And the Penguin editions have more footnotes, I think.
As you have probably guessed: this is my edition!
£0.79 (Yes, 79p)

Next, some honourable mentions. These are better than most, but still with various flaws:

Kim by Rudyard Kipling - Full Version (Annotated) (Literary Classics Collection)
G Books
Introductory notes and a general timeline of Kipling's era, and a few other extras, but no illustrations. Proper quotes, italics, dashes, but often open quotes are used for closed quotes or apostrophes, and closed quotes for open quotes. The unusual character u with macron is included as an image rather than as a character, and so does not scale with the other letters. Occasional OCR errors (e.g. zero for capital O) and incorrect extra paragraph breaks. The footnotes in the introduction are not hyperlinked. The footnotes/glossary entries in the main text of the book (of which there are a large number) are hyperlinked, with link numbers rather than linking directly from the word. A nicely linked table of contents. The text gives a blank line between each paragraph, as well as indenting the first line, and some of the extras could be formatted a little better.
£1.89

Collins Classics - Kim
HarperPress
This has quite a nice text, although based on an early edition, without the later minor changes that Kipling made. There are some odd errors in it: A space in the middle of a word (ador ation), extra characters at the end of a word (trunnionsbu) and occasionally an open quote that should be an apostrophe (``Tis).
Having said that, it does have italics and typographic quotes and proper dashes. It even has the correct u with macron character. Paragraphs all have a first line indent, even the first in a chapter. But the chapter verses and verse in the text is nicely done. According to the table of contents, it has some extras at the end, but no illustrations, and no extra annotations that I could see. Not too bad an edition, if it wasn't for the weird typos.
£0.99

Kim (Dover Thrift Editions)
Dover Publications
A brief introductory note, but no illustrations. Proper quotes, italics, dashes. The unusual character u with macron is included as an image rather than as a character, and so does not scale with the other letters. No extra annotations. A nicely linked table of contents. The text gives a small space between each paragraph, as well as indenting the first line. The verse formatting is quite good.
£1.89

And now for all the others. Since I first wrote this review, Amazon has, thankfully, deleted many of these editions. But, alas, several more have been added. For all these, I downloaded the sample, and compared against both a printed copy and my edition. Not that it usually took very long. While there are variations among them, they're almost all quick conversions of whatever was the latest text at Project Gutenberg when the Kindle book was made. I can't recommend any of these versions, not even the free ones. You'd be much better off getting the nice free version at Mobileread.

KIM (Annotated and Illustrated with full author biography and related pictures)
ASIN: B006R1T3AE
Publisher: No publisher given.
No Italics. Straight quotes. Large gaps between paragraphs. u instead of '. Older version of the text, with some typos (dried for fried, for example).
It does have a little bit of biographical and other info at the front.

Kim [Annotated]
ASIN: B000FC1D36
Publisher: Neeland Media LLC
No italics. No accents. Straight quotes. Dashes are hyphens. A first line indent and no space between paragraphs. No illustrations or annotations that I could see in the sample. There is an introduction.

Kim
ASIN: B00ABDHYXW
Publisher: Start Publishing LLC
No italics. No accents. But curly quotes and em-dashes. A first line indent and no space between paragraphs. No illustrations or annotations that I could see in the sample. The usual errors in the text (pincers for pencase, etc.).

Kim
ASIN: B00865NF12
Publisher: Neelkanth Prakashan
No italics. No accents. But curly quotes and em-dashes. A first line indent and no space between paragraphs. No illustrations or annotations that I could see in the sample. The usual errors in the text (pincers for pencase, etc.).

Kim (Illustrated)
ASIN: B0083I7XWY
Publisher: No Publisher Given
No italics. No accents. Straight quotes. Dashes are hyphens. A first line indent and some space between paragraphs. Illustrations at the start of each chapter. No extra annotations that I could see in the sample. The usual errors in the text (pincers for pencase, etc.).

Kim (Annotated Edition)
ASIN: B00AV0GJBI
Publisher: No Publisher Given
No italics in main text. No accents. Curly quotes. Proper dashes. A first line indent but also a full line space space between paragraphs. No illustrations. No annotations that I could see in the sample. The usual errors in the text (pincers for pencase, etc.).
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