A monumental biography of the subcontinent from the award-winning author ofThe World Is What It Is. In only six decades since independence, India has gone from a place associated with some of the most wretched poverty on earth to one that, economically, could come to dominate the twenty-first century. In this penetrating study, Patrick French examines the cultural foundations that have made possible a stunningly accelerated transformation from listless planned economy to capitalist and entrepreneurial powerhouse. French paints a vivid, surprising picture of life where violence, corruption, and caste prejudice continually find new outlets even as millions have escaped poverty. He gives voice to an astonishing cast of characters: from Maoist revolutionaries to Mafia dons, from chained quarry laborers to self-made billionaires. 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. And he travels the vast terrain to discover how Nehru's vision of a democratic, secular India has managed, despite confl ict and setback, to hold this vast, implacably diverse nation together.
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June 06, 2011
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