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Publisher's Summary

No era is more pertinent to understanding how present-day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh evolved than the nearly 200 years of British rule. This colonial period was a time of deep change and transformation - for India and for the world. These 24 engrossing lectures offer you new perspectives on the history of European imperialism, on world economic history, on the features of British colonialism, and on the rich cultures of the Indian subcontinent.
Over the course of this remarkable saga you'll explore:


How the English East India Company, a commercial trading entity, established a presence in India and took the reins of power in one of the strangest political transformations in world history
How the monumental Mughal Empire, builders of the Taj Mahal and longstanding Muslim rulers in India, gradually came apart in the face of British conquest
How Britain extended its rule across the subcontinent, built a huge economic machine in India, and ultimately exacted a heavy price from the Indian people
How India finally achieved independence in 1947, through one of humanity's most noteworthy examples of resourceful and philosophically sophisticated leadership

You'll trace the economic motives that brought the British and other Westerners to India, like how the emergence of the English as a stereotypically tea-drinking society was directly related to the Indian colonial economy. You will also take stock of the incredibly lavish lifestyles of India's maharajahs and how the British leveraged alliances with them. And you'll grasp the fundamental moral contradiction of the Raj, the conflict between Britain's economic interests and the human needs of the empire's Indian subjects, and more. In A History of British India, you'll relive a crucial era in international relations, one with deep and lasting implications for our contemporary world.
©2017 The Great Courses (P)2017 The Teaching Company, LLC
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By PETER on 02-11-17

Good history - Annoying narration

Very interesting for a newbie to this important and interesting history of the region. I found the narrator a bit annoying, especially, about 100 times throughout the course his asking a question and then saying "you got it" like a half second after the question. About half way through I found myself shouting back at him #you got it" before he even said it, which most of the time he did. I'm surprised no one caught that, or that he wasn't annoyed at himself.

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4 of 5 people found this review helpful


By ok on 04-30-17

Didn't know the British committed Genocide

Didn't learn this in school [Canada]
Using force and violence to collect money from India and suppress Indian industry.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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By Dr Deen Mirza on 10-18-17

Excellent. Well balanced and informative.

good overview of a complex phase of history. deals with the nuances of colonialism well

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By Jeremy Collins on 08-24-17

Mindblowingly Biased

What would have made A History of British India better?

Some impartiality by the author.

Would you ever listen to anything by The Great Courses again?

Yes but not if they keep referring to BC and AD as BCE and CE.

What three words best describe Professor Hayden J. Bellenoit’s performance?

Historical white wash

What character would you cut from A History of British India?

The author.

Any additional comments?

This is not a historical lecture but a left wing rant.

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By Timothy Murray on 01-29-17

Good book but so biased it is ridiculous

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The issue was the massive bias that the author clearly has. I'm neutral in this and certainly don't believe that the British were justified in what they did. They took over another country and sought to make as much money as possible. However, the author can't see anything good in anything the British did. For example:<br/>* Increased education only lead to alienate the Muslims.<br/>* Building railways was terrible as it didn't use local materials. <br/>* Codifying and clarifying laws only served to remove local practises and traditions.<br/>* Trying to remove traditions such as child marriage and Sati were unwise, basically just because it was change.<br/>* Providing cheap clothing was not good as it reduced the demand for craftsmen's work<br/><br/>I agree that there were bad results for some people from the above items but it would be hard not to see the benefits as well. In particular the removal of work from craftsmen was happening all over the world after the industrial revolution so I don't see how it was the evil British that were at fault.<br/><br/>Essentially the author keeps saying "things changed, therefore it was bad".

Has A History of British India put you off other books in this genre?

No, I'd actually like to read others to get a better idea of what actually happened.

What three words best describe Professor Hayden J. Bellenoit’s performance?

Three items are:<br/>1. Can't pronounce the word "Britain". Kind of important for this book. Ends up pronouncing it "Bri-en".<br/>2. Way overuses rhetorical questions, specifically the words "well, think about it".<br/>3. Has a nice sounding voice and speaks well.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from A History of British India?

I would have cut some repetition and the constant rhetorical questions.

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2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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