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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
42
4.2 out of 5 stars
The Story of India
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on 30 April 2017
Good book.
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on 4 March 2017
Tedious
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 November 2013
With many colourful illustrations, this serves as an attractive souvenir of the BBC series, although the DVD is obviously better. The chapters themed by chronological time periods provide much intriguing information if you have the time and patience to tease it out of the somewhat rambling text: the followers of the Jain religion who gather annually to pour "great vats of milk, paste, saffron and vermilion over the giant statue" of their guru Babuballi; the ruler Ashoka, advised that he had to be "cruel to be great", who converted to Buddhism in later life, leaving his kingdom scattered with carved pillars instructing his subjects on how to live as he removed the death penalty, calling for the conservation of forests and respect for the beliefs and practices of others and so on.

I was looking for a book that would combine history with culture and politics, but to be fair this does not claim to be more than a history. With friends and contacts to ease his path, Wood presents a somewhat rose-tinted view of India: the squalor, dirt and pollution are cunningly omitted from all his pictures, and the ancient monuments and paintings gleam with colour, with little sign of the ravages of time. If you are reading this for a standard sightseeing tour, you may be a little disappointed by the often harsh and worn reality.
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VINE VOICEon 4 June 2008
I am an avid history reader, but before I read this book I knew only a rough outline of Indian history - perhaps even that's an exageration! So for me much of this was new and exciting. As usual, Wood's enthusiasm and writing skills make his work a pleasure to read, and also gives a real sense of the place and people.

I particularly enjoyed the first chapter looking at the earliest prehistoric times, especially the section on the fire cults and mantra based rituals that could go back almost as long as mankind has walked the earth. Mind boggling.

India is such a rich, interesting and diverse country that it is far beyond the scope of a single volume to cover everything important in sufficient detail, but as a sweeping overview full of colour and interest this book is a real gem.
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on 8 September 2007
Michael Wood has done it again - brought a relatively little known period of history to life in thrilling fashion. This is totally absorbing and the pictures are absolutely stunning. Highly recommended.
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on 29 August 2007
I've always found Michael Wood's books full of passion and insight and after watching his spectacular programme on Friday, I looked this up online immediately. I've just read it cover to cover (in one sitting!) and was relieved to find that what Michael Wood shows so elegantly on screen....is just as good in print! There is so much about ancient Indian history that gets overlooked and I would recommend this to anyone looking for a thorough, in depth account. I found it just as impressive as his other books, but really enjoyed the journey aspect to this - beautiful scene setting and pictures that make it feel like an epic.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 1 July 2009
In 300 pages the historian Michael Wood gallops us through the history of India. He charts the rise of immense cities in 4000 bc, all the way through to the rise of India as an emerging, 21st century global power. It is, of necessity incomplete. To cover in detail everything he outlines would take volumes.

This is a companion piece to the BBC tv series of the same name and in my opinion this book should be used as a guide and a reminder to the series in order to get the best out of it. The visual delights of the series and Wood's compelling narrative work so wonderfully that the book can only really be a pale imitation, fascinating though it is.
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on 30 September 2012
This book accompanies the TV series and the DVD release of the series. An excellent book to have if you liked the programme and have the DVD as well. Nice to read it when you have watched the programme and for some additional information. I was born and grew up in South India so had some doubts about one image atleast which appeared to be a photograph arranged (without adequate research) for this book. But this is a minor issue when you consider the passion with which Michael Wood presents India. Far better than many programmes produced in India.
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on 15 May 2011
I have always enjoyed Michael Wood's documentaries particulary those concerning Alexander the Great and did not know he was an indophile until I saw his documentary on India, which was superbly made. I carried this book around with my on my journey of india and it may only glance much of the depth and history of the continent but it does manage to un-pick: a complex cultural identity and how the nation and country came to be such a melting pot of ideas, religion and culture.
Recommended
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on 18 August 2013
If you have travelled to India, always wanted to or merely have a sneaking wish to know more about the history and customs of this amazing sub-continent, this is a book for you. Written in a concise and very readable form, it is Michael Wood's truly compelling up to date account in language demonstrating his passion for the country and its people. It is designed for anyone with a love for the Jewel in the Crown of the British Empire. Highly recommended.
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