Top positive review
39 people found this helpful
A highly lucid and intelligent series of essays on India.
on 13 January 2000
I adored this book. Instead of the usual bland statements of a by-stander on the look-out for material for a book, Dalrymple has very obviously written a book about what he has seen in the course of many years' dedicated observation and investigation. The writing is as consistently finely-tuned as his observations, and his depth of knowledge enables him to throw light with what appears to be great ease on complex cultural, historical and religious issues.
I was born in India, left at the age of two and have returned for numerous visits since. Such entertaining and informative writing helps to explain and endear a country about which, on some levels, I know a fair amount, and on other levels I have often felt at a great loss to even begin to comprehend. In particular, the chapter about Hyderabad, fascinated me. My mother has often told stories of the great wealth and beauty of the city when she was growing up there in an affluent Muslim neighbourhood, but having seen it only in the 1970s to 1990s, I found these stories slightly unbelievable. Reading Dalrymple's book will certainly make me look at the city in a new light next time I visit, as it has explained the context and history of it with an insight and an interest that I have not found elsewhere.