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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
87
4.5 out of 5 stars
Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire
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on 6 July 2017
Compulsive reading about the end of the British Raj. Recommended to anybody with interest in this subject or with none, it is a reminder of the problems of empire and what happens afterwards. Louis Mountbatten was not the right person to be the last viceroy but in fairness when you consider the issues and problems that all needed sorting in August 1947 who would have been the right person? At best Mountbatten was a blunderer although the native inhabitants of the sub-continent must also take their share of the blame for the disaster of Indian independance.

Incredibly well researched and convincingly written, this book deserves every success and is a vivid portrait of the events of 1947 and for many readers, myself included, born long after 1947 who have no little or know personal knowledge of the subject this book serves as reference point on a chapter of our history. Even if you think you have some knowledge of these events this book will open you mind the real truth of the incompetence of the end of British rule.
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on 7 April 2017
I have read a great deal about the Indian sub-continent partition as I was fortunate enough to live in India as a child not long after these events. This book amazes me more with each page. The research that has gone into its writing is incredible. How the author has winkled some of this information out of little known places is jaw dropping and I use these superlatives wisely. It is a very detailed book, not a quick read, but mindblowingly full of facts, some little known or previously barely covered in books on the same subject. I take my hat off to this very talented author.
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on 23 March 2015
my dad, his siblings and parents all born in india left India for the uk in 1947 - they were very sad and lost many of their belongings - my dad is now 85 and he really enjoyed this book and he told me he flearned many new things about partition and the consequence to families from all religions and backgrounds - he has read it twice so he doesnt miss anything - great book
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on 24 August 2017
What a fascinating and well written book! I know very little about this period of history so was keen to find out more and this was one of the best reviewed. I was not disapointed as it was so well written and easy to follow, especially the personal relationships of the players involved. I can't speak to the bias, as I am still realitvely knew to this period of history, but it seemed fair to me and critical of all parties involved. A good gateway to further studies I reckon.
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on 26 April 2017
This is a fabulous book. I have no connection with the author - I am an author of 30+ books myself so just giving praise where it's due. There are some very average books out there and the good ones need to be applauded. It's brilliant in the telling of what happened in this great period of history, but it's made great by the acid humour and honesty with which the author treats the central characters ( the Mountbattens, Gandhi, Churchill, Nehru, Bose). Yes, all of them great in many ways (maybe not Bose, if you're Brit or rational) but full of flaws. This is 'popular' history at it's best. Magnificent effort. Hats off.
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on 20 October 2017
This is an interestimg book that deals with activities that occured after India got independence in 1947.
The 3 episodes that seem to interest the author are a) The war between India and Pakistan over Kashmir that contimues tto this day b) the incorporation of Hyderabad into India and c) the relationship between the Mountbattens (particularly Edwina) and Nheru.
Well written and researched with good black and white picttures.
An important insight into India/UK relations after independence
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on 28 August 2013
I had never thought that history can be made to sound so interesting, before I picked up this book.
The author Alex Von Tunzelmann is a great story teller, to narrate the saga of India's independence, followed by a bloody partition and its aftermath with so much elan, combining both style and substance, is novel to say the least. Where it is easy for bias to creep in, the author has done remarkable justice to the characters and events by not taking sides. The effect created is of a high voltage drama replete with emotions, sarcasm, controversies, intrigues, passions, revenge, gossips set againt hard hitting reality, that will touch, stir and amuse readers. Edwina Mountabatten inspite of her flaws, stands out as she defies norms and conventions and re-defines prototype. Subtle and in some passages obvious reference made to the lowly status, struggle and porgress made by women, particularly Indian women stands out and appealed to my feminist tendencies.
The book has much to recommend itself even to a person with less interest in history or India, for it is an exquisite tale, that will delight and enrapture.
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on 4 November 2016
My husband is normally only gripped by the Economist or FT, but this book kept him up at night and was a page turned from start to finish. Engagingly narrated, this detailed account of a key time in Indian politics contains a number of enlightening surprises. It's since become our go-to purchase for 'men who are difficult to buy for'!!
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on 30 July 2017
Informative, fascinating, and written in a lively way that make all the many facts palatable. I found my brain spinning at times with the information but never enough to make me stop reading.
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on 2 December 2013
I really enjoyed this book. My interest in the events leading to the independence of India were piqued during a holiday when we visited the Viceregal House in Shimla in the Himalayas. We saw the room and table where the 'deal' was agreed and this made me want to find out more about it. This book was perfect for that - it gives a brief history India up to this point so you understand how they got to this point then deals in detail with the negotiations and events which led to the 'deal'. It focuses on the key individuals involved and paints a fascinating picture of the importance of personal relationships to the course of events. It's very readable and illustrates the points made with some apt (and sometimes gruesome) anecdotes. Highly recommended.
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