Incarnations
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Incarnations : A History of India in 50 Lives

4.03 (276 ratings by Goodreads)
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'Incarnations makes the mind fly across time, place and history. You may smile as, mentally, you walk alongside Khilnani up some flinty slope. You will keep thinking about what he said long after' Daily TelegraphFor all of India's myths, its sea of stories and moral epics, Indian history remains a curiously unpeopled place. Sunil Khilnani's Incarnations fills that space: recapturing the human dimension of how the world's largest democracy came to be. In this stunningly illustrated and deeply researched book, accompanying his major BBC Radio 4 series, Khilnani explores the lives of 50 Indians, from the spiritualist Buddha to the capitalist Dhirubhai Ambani - lives that light up India's rich, varied past and its continuous ferment of ideas. Khilnani's trenchant portraits of emperors, warriors, philosophers, poets, stars, and corporate titans - some famous, some unjustly forgotten - bring feeling, wry humour, and uncommon insight to social dilemmas that extend from ancient times to our own.As he journeys across the country, and through its past, Khilnani uncovers more than just history. In rocket launches and ayurvedic call centres, in slum temples and Bollywood studios, in California communes and grimy ports, he examines the continued, and often surprising, relevance of the men and women who have made India - and the world - what it is. Their stories will inform, move and entertain this book's many readers.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 528 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 23mm | 385g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0141981431
  • 9780141981437
  • 340,408

About Sunil Khilnani

Sunil Khilnani is the author of the acclaimed and influential The Idea of India (Penguin). He is currently Avantha Professor and Director of the India Institute at King's College London.
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Review quote

Defies historical conventions...scholarly and accessible, lively and deeply serious. I confess I recognised only about 20 of the names and what I thought I knew was wrong or incomplete... revelatory, bold and contemplative. -- Yasmin Alibhai-Brown * The Independent * A majestic sweep of 2,500 years of Indian history...Khilnani is a rare blend of scholar and cracking travel writer, and his book is replete with distinguished characters little known in the West. -- Tarquin Hall * The Sunday Times * A tour de force of intellectual history, engagingly written and peppered with wry personal anecdotes. -- James Crabtree * Financial Times * Scholarly and playful * The Telegraph * Khilnani is a warm, personable voice on the radio and in this beautifully illustrated book his personal touch has been preserved. It is hard to think of this mammoth task being executed any better.... Superb, ***** -- Sameer Rahim * The Telegraph * Beautifully written with both scholarship and an enviably light touch, thoughtfully constructed and enviably erudite in its wide-ranging references, and as much at ease discussing higher mathematics and philosophy as politics and art, Incarnations is a major work by one of India's most impressive minds, and the best possible introduction to both the complexities and the charms of Indian history. -- William Dalrymple * The Guardian * An exceptionally liberating intellectual journey to take. Mr Khilnani's prose is light and fast-paced... [and his] ability to empathise with people long dead is also astonishing -- Nilanjana S Roy * Business Standard, New Delhi * I enjoyed everything about this book -- Charles Allen * Literary Review *
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Review Text

Defies historical conventions...scholarly and accessible, lively and deeply serious. I confess I recognised only about 20 of the names and what I thought I knew was wrong or incomplete... revelatory, bold and contemplative. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown The Independent
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Rating details

276 ratings
4.03 out of 5 stars
5 33% (91)
4 43% (120)
3 20% (54)
2 3% (7)
1 1% (4)
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