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

4.6 out of 5 stars 154 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Michael Wood
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: 2entertain
  • DVD Release Date: 5 Nov. 2007
  • Run Time: 300 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000VA3IZI
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,957 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

For over two millennia, India has been at the centre of world history. But how did India come to be? What is India? These are the big questions behind this intrepid journey around the contemporary subcontinent. In this landmark series, historian and acclaimed writer Michael Wood embarks on a dazzling and exciting expedition through today's India, looking to the present for clues to her past, and to the past for clues to her future. The journey takes the viewer through majestic landscapes and reveals some of the greatest monuments and artistic treasures on Earth. From Buddhism to Bollywood, from mathematics to outsourcing, Michael Wood discovers India's impact on history - and on us.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By KN VINE VOICE on 5 Mar. 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
After watching 'The Story Of India' on DVD I have to say that it was time well spent. Historian Michael Wood is a stellar choice for presenting this series. His innate passion for history and energetic style fits seamlessly with the colourful and vibrant subject matter that is India. This is backed up by engaging visuals and music, as expected from the BBC. The series also does well to go back as far as it does, starting off in the South and working its way around other areas of the Indian subcontinent (Pakistan) and even visiting neighbouring regions (Central Asia).

This series has the following 6 episodes on 2-discs.

1. Beginnings - Ancient rituals in South India and the Indus Valley Civilisation (3000BC) are explored
2. The Power of Ideas - covers the emergence of Buddhism around 500BC and the first Indian Empire led by the Maurya rulers.
3. Spice Routes and Silk Roads - India as a trading partner of Ancient Rome and Greece.
4. Ages of Gold - The Gupta and Chola Empires which marked the Golden Age of Indian history around 300-600AD.
5. The Meeting of Two Oceans - Covers the period of Mughal rule including Akbar the Great around 1600AD.
6. Freedom - covering British rule and the struggle for independence.

It is a great advert for India and it's rich history, placing it on a par with other civilizations like the Egyptians, Greeks, Persians, Romans and Chinese. There are aspects (Aryan Migration Theory and Indus Valley Civilisation) that some Indian historians will be very unhappy about (as Wood mentions briefly) but until some-one makes a comparable series with evidence to support alternative ideas, this is the best documentary out there. The reason I gave it only 4 stars was because I felt it could have had more content - possibly by having at least 2 more episodes. I personally would have liked more coverage of certain eras (such as 1000BC to 200AD) but I still recommend it highly.
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Format: DVD
The BBC produced a whole range of TV series this summer based around the anniversary of the partition of India and Pakistan. Michael Wood's series is by far the best in every aspect. It's excellent television (goodness me, it's what we pay our licence fee for!).

Wood is an engaging, enthusiastic historian who obviously has a passion for Indian history, Indian culture, and the peoples of India. So the series traces the development of the sub-continent from its earliest days, when men first populated the area, through all the major historical events that have shaped the people and the places. Religion inevitably forms a spiritual spine to the series, but Wood manages to explain the different belief systems without patronising and keeps their impact intact.

Wood also dares to go where other 'presenters' don't dare to tread. In the course of the series he visit Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq (where he's been several times before) and Tibet, in order to better explain the historical context behind the waves of invaders who populated and influenced India. Mind you, I'm not convinced that the footage with the Dalai Lama was a first-person interview...

I found the Ganges series to be pretty but overly dramatic, and the two other 'personality' journeys into India and Pakistan, hosted by well known TV people who were tracing their family roots, to be superficial and overblown. This series is none of those things.

Instead it is colourful, engaging, entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable. My one criticism is that the final episode, which deals with the days of the British Empire and partition, is maybe a little too harsh. But that's obviously because Wood is personally uncomfortable with the history of Empire... and it's a minor point.

Otherwise this is top-class documentary television. Well worth watching several times over.
And if you like it, then try Wood's book on a South Indian Journey, too!
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I had heard that this was going to be a good series, but it has far exceeded my expectations. What a fascinating, absorbing and completely educational programme from Mr Wood! Shamefully, despite being of Indian origin myself, I had very little knowlegde of the ancient history of my heritage. Mr Wood has a wonderful knack of condensing vast amounts of history into a language that is easily understood and relating the ancient past of India to its present. The photography and presentation is exquisite and I wish documentaries like these were compulsory in schools in the UK!!
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This series paints a picture of India like a Cezanne painting. Beautiful, enticing but not so packed with detail that the bigger picture is lost. It is very difficult to encompass 5000 years of history in 6 episodes and certainly this is not a comprehensive account of Indian history. Yet that was never the point of this series. It invites you to see the richness of indian civilisation, shows the rise and fall of dynasties, the movement of people, the start and regeneration of religions...
Ultimately we are left with a deeper understanding but wanting to know more... job done I think.
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Format: DVD
In a series of six episodes, Michael Wood has achieved an excellent, tightly bound narative that takes the viewer from the earliest days of the Indian sub-continent to India today. Without bias but with great insight, he presents and weaves together the different layers of Indian history, peoples, religions and cultures. He does this with great care and attention to fact. This is a highly intelligent series that will allow someone who with both little or great knowledge of India to walk way with a full and meaningful appreciation of the people of this land. As a businessman traveling in and out of India on a regular basis, it illuminated the country for me. Highly colourful with a captivating storey line. This is a must for anyone interested in India. It's certainly hugely better than the other series currently available (BBC's Ganges, for example) which are lovely travalogues but no more. This will entertain you, inform you, and leave you wanting to know more.
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