The Anarchy

The Anarchy : The East India Company, Corporate Violence, and the Pillage of an Empire

2.93 (16 ratings by Goodreads)
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From the bestselling author of Return of a King, the story of how the East India Company took over large swaths of Asia, and the devastating results of the corporation running a country.

In August 1765, the East India Company defeated the young Mughal emperor and set up, in his place, a government run by English traders who collected taxes through means of a private army.

The creation of this new government marked the moment that the East India Company ceased to be a conventional company and became something much more unusual: an international corporation transformed into an aggressive colonial power. Over the course of the next 47 years, the company's reach grew until almost all of India south of Delhi was effectively ruled from a boardroom in the city of London.

The Anarchy tells one of history's most remarkable stories: how the Mughal Empire-which dominated world trade and manufacturing and possessed almost unlimited resources-fell apart and was replaced by a multinational corporation based thousands of miles overseas, and answerable to shareholders, most of whom had never even seen India and no idea about the country whose wealth was providing their dividends. Using previously untapped sources, Dalrymple tells the story of the East India Company as it has never been told before and provides a portrait of the devastating results from the abuse of corporate power.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 576 pages
  • 155 x 235 x 48.26mm | 1,065.94g
  • New York
  • English
  • 1635573955
  • 9781635573954
  • 308

Review quote

"Superb. . . a vivid and richly detailed story . . . the greatest virtue of this disturbingly enjoyable book is perhaps less the questions it answers than the new ones it provokes about where corporations fit into the world, both then and now. . . Dalrymple's book [is] worth reading by everyone." - The New York Times Book Review

"As William Dalrymple shows in his rampaging, brilliant, passionate history, 'The Anarchy, ' the East India Co. was the most advanced capitalist organization in the world . . . Mr. Dalrymple gives us every sword-slash, every scam, every groan and battle cry. He has no rival as a narrative historian of the British in India. 'The Anarchy' is not simply a gripping tale of bloodshed and deceit, of unimaginable opulence and intolerable starvation. It is shot through with an unappeasable moral passion." --The Wall Street Journal

"An enlightening and entertaining tour of the history of the British East India Company." - New York Journal of Books

"[An] expert account of the rise of the first great multinational corporation." --Kirkus Reviews

"It is difficult to read The Anarchy, published in the United States on Sept. 10, without being struck by how timely it feels, how surprisingly of the moment. An epic of 576 pages in all, it serves as a reminder that early capitalism was just as perverse, predatory, and single-minded in its pursuit of profit as its much-derided late-model equivalent." --The Daily Beast

"William Dalrymple's The Anarchy makes sense of the E.I.C. and the political and economic conditions that enabled its curious ascent. . . [Dalrymple] navigates the teeming current of events smoothly, here gliding forward, there slowing to study the view." --Airmail

"Brilliant. . . . The fullest and most powerful description of the West's first encounter with Afghan society." --The New York Times Book Review on RETURN OF A KING

"Magnificent. . . . [Dalrymple's] histories read like novels. . . . This latest book delights and shocks." --The Wall Street Journal on RETURN OF A KING

"Masterful. . . . Dalrymple makes an important contribution by including recently discovered Afghan accounts of the war." --The Washington Post on RETURN OF A KING

"In Return of a King, Dalrymple has done again what he did magnificently for two other telling episodes of British imperial history in White Mughals (2002) and The Last Mughal (2006). . . . Dalrymple has a narrative gift." --The Huffington Post
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About William Dalrymple

William Dalrymple is the author of nine books about India and the Islamic world, including Return of a King, which won the Hemingway Award and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson, PEN Hessell-Tiltman, and Duff Cooper Prizes. He writes regularly for the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, and the Guardian and is one of the founders and a codirector of the Jaipur Literature Festival.
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Rating details

16 ratings
2.93 out of 5 stars
5 19% (3)
4 6% (1)
3 50% (8)
2 0% (0)
1 25% (4)
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