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on 18 February 2017
William Dalrymple is clearly an authority on the history of Delhi and has done a lot of work in researching the history. But I found this book nowhere close to his "The last Mughal" both in terms of content and quality.
Not sure what I would have thought of this book had I read it first - but after reading the Last Mughal, City of Djinns seemed like a rushed effort just to get another book out.
Still, definitely worth a read for those interested in the history of Delhi - alongside the entertaining and engaging "Delhi" by Khushwant Singh.
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on 2 July 2010
`City of Djinns' offers us a history of Delhi that gradually draws us back in time as the book progresses, interspersed with an account of the authors own time living there. There are beautiful watercolour illustrations throughout that were painted by the authors wife and which are reproduced in black and white. These really add an extra dimension to the book and I enjoyed coming across a new painting every ten pages or so. Dalrymple's descriptions really conjure up life in the Delhi of the past, as well as making you envisage modern day life based on his own events and experiences. You can almost taste, smell, see and hear the Delhi he so richly paints for us and some of the Islamic poetic phrases he stumbles across are at times simply breathtaking. Delhi is portrayed as a mix of Sikh, Muslim, Hindu and British in one bubbling pot, with the creativity and conflicts this diversity engenders. The friendships Dalrymple strikes up are a pleasure to read and add some humour and insight to the overall book. All in all, this was a delightful read that captures the essence of Delhi in just over 300 pages. It is easy to read and offers an accessible introduction to the various stages of Indian history from the perspective of one town. This is well worth checking out if your interest was piqued enough to have searched for this book or even if you have stumbled across the product page by accident.

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on 17 May 2017
I raced through this history of Delhi which is written as a travel book tale of one year in The city. It taught me a lot and is full of the cultural and spiritual intensity of the place. It is my fourth Dalrymple history book in a row, which probably accounts for my four stars rather than five - but I got a lot from the book and expect I will read it again map in hand to get deeper into this fascinating world.
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on 5 March 2016
I read this book a few years ago and am presently enjoying it over again!It is a very well written book with evocative descriptions of both Delhi and the Indian people.Somehow William Dalrymple brings it all alive his writing is entertaining and it is a book not easily put down as you want to see what is going to occur next! Very much recommended.
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on 21 January 2018
I read this whilst on holiday in India doing a tour of the Golden Triangle. Our tour guide awoke an interest in Indian history for me and this wonderful book reinforced the interest for me.
Thank you William Dalrymple. I look forward to reading more of your works
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on 25 July 2010
This may not be the most exciting, thrilling book you'll ever lay your hands (eyes) on, and it certainly doesn't have a thick plot or anything like that if that's what you are looking for. However ! In a light and pleasant narrative it gives you an enormous background on Indian history and Dehli in particular. Only after reading this I suddenly had so much better understanding of Rushdie's "The Enchantress of Venice" (which nevertheless is still one of his lesser works as far as I'm concerned). It also made me so much more understand and therefore enjoy Vikram Chandra's "Red earth and puring rain", "The house of the blue mangos" by david Davidar and the current read "White teeth" by Zadie Smith, as well as a number of others I read in the recent past.
Therefore, for anyone who enjoys the contemporary Indian writers as much as I do, should have Dalrymple's as a compulsory entry in his or her list.... Enjoy !
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 5 June 2012
Part travelogue, part history, this is an excellent account of a year spent by the author in Delhi. Dalrymple unwraps the history of Delhi backwards, starting with the time of writing, going back through partition and the British RaJ to the Mughals and beyond.

Dalrymple met a fascinating range of people: an eccentric landlady, anglo-indians, eunuchs, dervishes and academics flit across these pages, along with my favourite character, his regular taxi diver. Very enjoyable and informative reading. I wish I had read this before visiting Delhi last year - i would have understood much more about the fascinating city I saw

Recommended and enjoyable
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on 18 August 2017
One of the best books i have read this year.Very interesting and informative about Delhi's history through the ages.I found it very hard to put down and could very easily sit down in the garden with a cup of tea and relax when i should be doing something else!
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on 21 March 2013
I visited Delhi (and other parts of India) for the first time in January 2013. I was told about William and his various books and decided to give this one a go, seeing as I would be in Delhi for most of my time in India.

The book contains a lot of information that I would never have found out from being in Delhi and looking around. He goes into the history and then reveals where some signs of the old way of life is still evident in Delhi. I didn't need to go looking for it myself as the descriptions are vivid and give you a feel for what both Delhi used to be and what it is now (although the book is a few years old now itself).

It can be a bit difficult to get your head round things at some sections as there are a few Indian words included and while there is a glossary it isn't so easy to refer to all the time, especially when reading on a kindle. Some of the history as well can get a bit confusing if you have no prior knowledge. There isn't too much of that though and you soon get to grips with it and even if you do find yourself thinking 'i didn't really understand that bit' it doesn't take the enjoyment out of the full book.
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on 11 February 2015
Very interesting book which clarifies a lot of the very complex history of Delhi in a very stimulating way. It would be nice if there was a map of Delhi old and new to identify the locations of the different sites he refers to. It helped me understand the racism of the British raj toward mixed race Anglo-Indians and the legacy of this to their descendants. It is also clear how tragic is the ongoing neglect and destruction of the amazing historic buildings and the Sufi culture in old Delhi means to both India and the world. A brilliant book inspiring a desire to visit Delhi with a new interest and to learn more about the fascinating history of India.
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