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Publisher's Summary

A monumental biography of the subcontinent from the award-winning author of The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V. S. Naipaul.
Second only to China in the magnitude of its economic miracle and second to none in its potential to shape the new century, India is fast undergoing one of the most momentous transformations the world has ever seen. In this dazzlingly panoramic book, Patrick French chronicles that epic change, telling human stories to explain a larger national narrative.
Melding on-the-ground reports with a deep knowledge of history, French exposes the cultural foundations of India’s political, economic and social complexities. He reveals how a nation identified with some of the most wretched poverty on earth has simultaneously developed an envied culture of entrepreneurship (here are stories like that of C. K. Ranganathan, who trudged the streets of Cuddalore in the 1980s selling sample packets of shampoo and now employs more than one thousand people). And even more remarkably, French shows how, despite the ancient and persistent traditions of caste, as well as a mind-boggling number of ethnicities and languages, India has nevertheless managed to cohere, evolving into the world’s largest democracy, largely fulfilling Jawaharlal Nehru’s dream of a secular liberal order.
French’s inquiry goes to the heart of all the puzzlements that modern India presents: Is this country actually rich or poor? Why has its Muslim population, the second largest on earth, resisted radicalization to such a considerable extent? Why do so many children of Indians who have succeeded in the West want to return “home,” despite never having lived in India? Will India become a natural ally of the West, a geostrategic counterweight to the illiberal rising powers China and Russia? To find the answers, French seeks out an astonishing range of characters: from Maoist revolutionaries to Mafia dons, from chained quarry laborers to self-made billionaires. And he delves into the personal lives of the political elite, including the Italian-born Sonia Gandhi, one of the most powerful women in the world.
With a familiarity and insight few Westerners could approach, Patrick French provides a vital corrective to the many outdated notions about a uniquely dynamic and consequential nation. His India is a thrilling revelation.
©2011 Patrick French (P)2011 Gildan Media Corp
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Aparisim Ghosh on 01-19-16

Good book, ruined by incompetent performance

Mr. Dixon's poor pronunciation would be bad enough, but is made worse by his lazy reading. To pick one example from scores, the name of Bihar's capital is PAT-NA, and not PAN-TA. How hard can it be to get that right?

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful


By Raju's Review on 05-19-14

Broad range of topics covered

Would you listen to India again? Why?

Yes, The book is full of interesting information

What other book might you compare India to and why?

None, I have not come across a single book that covers the broad range of topics from the past and the modern day India.

Which scene was your favorite?

The information related to how the British owed money to India at the time of India's indepedence

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

Any additional comments?

The author does display an anglo-saxon bias in his portrayal of Sonia Gandhi.
His portrayal of Rahul Gandhi is not balanced. He says following very positive things about Rahul Gandhi without supporting it with any information
"He’s not sentimental, he has a clinical mind."
"he was trying to restructure the calcified organization of the Congress party"

"Rahul Gandhi was up against a cascade of privilege and entitlement that reached to the heart of Indian politics at the centre and at state level". I would say this applies to Rahul as well.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By SK25 on 03-15-16

Fantastic broad overview of India

Any additional comments?

Highly engrossing audiobook that goes far in explaining how India became the country it is today from independence onwards. The author has done a wonderful job in bringing what could potentially be dry material (politics, economics) to life by using illustrative stories of individuals and events. It's a great book, often surprising and often quite disturbing and never boring. Highly recommend. I actually enjoyed the reader's performance contrary to some. Great book to listen to in small sections whilst commuting.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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