The Shortest History of India: From the World’s Oldest Civilization to Its Largest Democracy—A Retelling for Our Times

The Experiment. (Shortest History). Nov. 2023. 288p. ISBN 9781615199976. pap. $16.95. HIST
India is a rising global power, and in April 2023, it surpassed China as the world’s most populous country. Journalist and historian Zubrzycki (The House of Jaipur: The Inside Story of India’s Most Glamorous Royal Family) masterfully takes on the challenge of creating a concise treatment of India’s history that is approachable for general readers. The result is an engaging summary of India’s fascinating history, from the mysterious Harappan Civilization (3300–1300 BCE) formed on the banks of the Indus River, up through the leadership of Narendra Modi, India’s current prime minister. Being the origin place of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, as well as home to hundreds of millions of Muslims, and with 22 official languages (and many more unofficial ones), India is an incredibly multifaceted place. This work helps give context to its wide-ranging aspects and to a better understanding of the lasting impact of British colonialism.
VERDICT Essential for anyone interested in an introductory overview of India’s long history. Readers seeking 17th-century English accounts of India’s Mughal Empire may want to also consider Nandini Das’s Courting India.
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