Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009

Postby ramana » 05 Jan 2011 08:31

Paul Johnson, "A History of the American People"

Amazon.com Review
Paul Johnson, whose previous works include the distinguished Modern Times and A History of the Jews, has produced an epic that spans the history of the American people over the past 400 years. The prolific narrative covers every aspect of U.S. history, from science, customs, religion, and politics to the individual men and women who have helped shape the nation. His detailed, provocative examinations of political and social icons, from Lyndon Johnson to Norman Rockwell, are especially strong. Johnson's text is intelligent and rich with detail, and yet extremely accessible for anyone interested in a reinterpretive analysis of America's past.

What makes this book unique is Johnson's approach to this self-professed Herculean task. The prevalent tone throughout is optimism. Whether he's discussing race relations, industrialization, the history of women, immigrants, Vietnam, or political correctness, Johnson--a staunch conservative who was born, bred, and educated in England--is openly enamored with America's past, particularly the hardships and tribulations that the nation has had to overcome. He sees this story as a series of important lessons, not just for Americans but for the whole of mankind as well. At a time when other contemporary scholars find it easier to bemoan the past, Johnson offers the reader "a compelling antidote to those who regard the future with pessimism."

From Library Journal

Johnson (Intellectuals, LJ 3/1/89; Modern Times, LJ 5/1/83) is used to tackling grand themes in his books, and this one is no exception. Even for the comparatively short period of American history, it is a daunting task. Still, Johnson does a good job of weaving together the story of American history. He takes more of a "social history" approach?including presentation of a background for each period and discussion of the various social issues involved in each. The author also uses quotations from personal diaries and other historical documents, providing a refreshing change from the usual "battle & general" technique in retelling the American story. Recommended for all persons interested in American history. Also useful as a college-level introductory text..

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009

Postby sumishi » 08 Jan 2011 12:25

ramana wrote: Paul Johnson, "A History of the American People"


Ramana, got a [ahem] link to the above :wink:. Dunno whether appropriate posting link in BRF. What's the policy regarding such links?

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby ramana » 08 Jan 2011 23:42

Dont. People can get that by themselves. The idea is to make people aware of the book and

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby svinayak » 09 Jan 2011 00:06

http://ebookee.org/A-History-of-the-Ame ... 46280.html

Do Google - Title name space download

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby abhishek_sharma » 13 Jan 2011 11:29

Diaspora, Development, and Democracy: The Domestic Impact of International Migration From India

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/67151/devesh-kapur/diaspora-development-and-democracy-the-domestic-impact-of-intern

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby abhishek_sharma » 13 Jan 2011 11:29

Nucleus and Nation: Scientists, International Networks, and Power in India

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/67194/robert-s-anderson/nucleus-and-nation-scientists-international-networks-and-power-i

Anderson explores the untold stories of the 30 or so key scientists behind the Indian nuclear program, from its roots in the formation of an Indian scientific community in the 1920s, through the exploration of peaceful uses of nuclear energy in the late 1940s, to the decision to explore designing a bomb after the first Chinese nuclear test in 1964, and then to the first Indian explosion in 1974. The fruit of nearly 50 years of research and interviewing, the detailed narrative brings the men to life with personal details and a rich understanding of the historical and institutional context. The key figures are physicists such as Homi Bhabha, a multi-talented member of the extended Tata family and first chair of India's Atomic Energy Commission, and his successor, Vikram Sarabhai. Feuding and politicking as scientists do, this elite built up institutes, recruited young scientists, imported equipment and uranium, maintained ties with a global network of peers, and gained the support of wealthy businesspeople and political leaders, especially Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. Most of the expertise, equipment, and material needed to build a bomb circulated more or less normally in the scientific community. Taking the next step required only a political decision: once made, cosmopolitan men carried out a nationalist project.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby svinayak » 17 Jan 2011 05:37

'The Frugal Superpower: America’s Global Leadership in a Cash-Strapped Era'

Michael Mandelbaum


America today equals huge debt. America today equals huge military. Few have seriously attempted to reconcile the two, and Mandelbaum does here, to provocative result. An authoritative thinker on America’s role in the world, he makes the case that a slimmer U.S. defense budget will leave a vacuum at the top of the global power structure that no other country can fill.



“One thing worse than an America that is too strong, the world will learn, is an America that is too weak”

http://www.newsweek.com/blogs/we-read-i ... d-era.html
2. Don’t look to the East. Among those pundits predicting a decline in American power, China is a popular pick to surpass it. But Mandelbaum notes that China faces constraints of its own. Despite its meteoric economic rise, its per capita income remains paltry compared to developed countries. That means combating poverty will take precedence over military expansion for the foreseeable future. And China too will eventually face an aging population due to its one-child policy. Mandelbaum concludes, “China’s international influence will surely continue to grow, above all in East Asia, but not so rapidly as to displace that of the United States” (page 52).

3. There is an answer. Or, if “oil is the enemy of democracy,” (p. 163), a gas tax is the new containment. Among the countries most likely to take advantage of a more inward-facing America is Iran, which depends on oil for 80 percent of its revenue. Cut consumption and the country’s pugnacious, repressive regime will falter. The move would also undercut other governments that pose threats to U.S. interests, from Venezuela to Russia. Considering all that, Mandelbaum contends, “The national insistence on keeping gasoline cheap in the United States is the single greatest failure of twenty-first-century American foreign policy” (p. 174).
Last edited by svinayak on 17 Jan 2011 07:02, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby CRamS » 17 Jan 2011 06:54


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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby ramana » 17 Jan 2011 10:05

The Central Intelligence Agency: A Documentary History

Publisher: Greenwood | English | ISBN-10: 0313350280 | June 30, 2008 | 472 pages |


The Central Intelligence Agency's relative transparency makes it unique among the world's espionage operations. Over the past few decades it has released over 31 million pages of previously classified documents, including, most recently, the so-called Family Jewels, a special collection of records on a series of operations from the 1950s to the 1970s that violated the agency's own legislative charter. Taken together, these papers permit a partial glimpse inside the CIA's clandestine world: how it operates; how it views the outside world; how it gets things right; and, all too often, how it gets them wrong. The documentary selections assembled here, carefully analyzed for content, consistency, and context, guide readers through the CIA's shrouded history and allow readers to sift the evidence for themselves.

The principal theme of this new documentary history of the Central Intelligence Agency is the dilemma of maintaining a secret organization in an open society. A democracy rests on accountability, and accountability requires transparency: the people cannot hold their government to account if they do not know what it is doing in their name. At the same time, an intelligence agency lives in a world of shadows. It cannot function if it is not able to keep its sources, its methods, and many of its operations secret. The resulting tension-and the constant temptation to take advantage of the impunity that secrecy allows-has shaped the CIA's history from its beginnings.


Similar dilemmas for India too.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby abhishek_sharma » 18 Jan 2011 08:27

Brihaspati guru, please suggest some good books on Indian history . Thanks.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby Rony » 18 Jan 2011 09:57

abhishek_sharma garu,

Brihaspati garu is the right person. But some of the books which i have in mind are as follows in alphabetical order.



1. A History of Indian Logic by Satis Chandra Vidyabhusana

2. A History of Indian Philosophy by Surendranath Dasgupta

3. A History of Ladakh Gilgit Baltistan by Parvez Dewan

4. A History of Nagas and Nagaland by Visier Sanyu

5. African Elites in India by John McLeod, Kenneth X Robbins, Reshma Sapre

6. Ancient Political History of Kashmir, B.C.300 -A.D 1200 by K.S. Saxena, Karan Singh

7. Aryan Invasion Theory and Indian Nationalism by Shrikant G. Talageri

8. Communism and Nationalism in Colonial India, 1939-45 by D.N. Gupta

9. Dhanurveda The Vedic Military Science by Ravi Prakash Arya

10. Early Muslim Perception of India and Hinduism by M.A. Saleem Khan

11. Encyclopaedia of South Indian Kingdoms by Shiv Shankar Tiwary

12. Essays on Islam and Indian History by Richard M. Eaton

13. Fall of Marathas by Anil Saxena

14. Hindu Civilization by Radha Kumud Mukherji

15. Hinduism and its Military Ethos by R.K. Nehra

16. History of Ancient Indian Economy by Abdul Sabahuddin, Rajshree Shukla

17. History of Indian Erotic Literature by Narendra Nath Bhattacharyya

16. History of the Hindu Colonization and Hindu Culture in South-East Asia by R.C. Majumdar

17. Impact of British Raj on Indian History by Naunihal Singh

18. India and Communism by Ashoke Kumar Mukhopadhyay

19. India-Myanmar Relations 1886-1948 by Swapna Bhattacharya (Chakraborti)

20. Indian and the Roma World by Partha Pratim Das

21. Indian Muslims. Who are they by Kishori Saran Lal

22. Indirect Rule In Mizoram 1890-1954 by J. Zorema

23. Indo-Aryan Origins and Other Vedic Issues by Nicholas Kazanas

24. Islam and Shia's Faith in India by John Norman Hollister

25. Islam in India and Pakistan by Murray T. Titus

26. Islamic Culture in Kashmir by G.M.D. Sufi

27. Muslim Kingdoms of South by Anil Saxena

28. Prehistoric India by Panchanan Mitra

29. Sex and Power : Defining History and Shaping Soceities by Rita Banerji

30. Socio-Cultural History of Ancient and Medieval Andhra by B.S.L. Hanumantha Rao

31. The Aryan Invasion Theory by S.R. Rao, Shrikant G. Talageri

32. The Decisive Battles of Indian History From Alexander to the Mutiny by Anjali Nirmal

33. The History and Culture of the Indian People, Edited by R.C.Majumdar

34. The Illustrated History of South India From Prehistoric Times to the Fall of Vijayanagar
by Chunilal Sen, K.A. Nilakanta Sastri, R. Champakalakshmi, Shruti Moghe


35.The Indian View of History by Pratima Asthana

36. The Life and Times of the Nawabs of Lucknow by Ravi Bhatt

37. The Muslims of Indian Origin by Sukhdev Singh

38. The Naxalite Movement in India by Prakash Singh

39. Vijayanagar Origin of the City and the Empire by N. Venkata Ramanayya

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby brihaspati » 18 Jan 2011 21:47

Abhishek_Sharma ji,
Airavat, Atri, Jambudvipa ji all will be able to give you better lists than me! Some of the books I would suggest are already there in Rony ji's list.

My personal track is to try and read up the sources if possible first. So for me, I would start with
(1) RigVeda, Satapatha Brahmana, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
(2) The basic Puranas
(3) The basic samhita' and smritis - dharmasutras - especially Manu, Boudhayana, Apastambha, Gautama.
(4) Arthsastra
(5) Buddhist historical scholarship, Vanabhatta, Fahien and Hieuen Tsang
(6) Jaina histories of western India
(7) Rajatarangini, all the Persian chronicles about India - Chachnama/Biladuri, Utbi, Firishta, Lahori et al
(8) Foreign travellers of the late medieval
(9) History of Punjab/Gujarat/Karnataka/Bengal/ available in regional languages from comparable periods.

This is going nowhere! I will try to make a list but cannot do this before Friday. Are there specific questions or areas you are interested in exploring- then we can try to make a feasible list!

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby ramana » 19 Jan 2011 09:34

Complexity in World Politics

State University of New York Press | July 6, 2006 | ISBN-10: 0791468070 | 213 pages |


Despite one hundred years of theorizing, scholars and practitioners alike are constantly surprised by international and global political events. The collapse of communism in Europe, the 1997 Asian financial crisis, and 9/11 have demonstrated the inadequacy of current models that depict world politics as a simple, mechanical system. Complexity in World Politics shows how conventional theories oversimplify reality and illustrates how concepts drawn from complexity science can be adapted to increase our understanding of world politics and improve policy. In language free of jargon, the book’s distinguished contributors explain and illustrate a complexity paradigm of world politics and define its central concepts. They show how these concepts can improve conventional models as well as generate new ideas, hypotheses, and empirical approaches, and conclude by outlining an agenda of theoretical development and empirical research to create and test complex systems theories of issue-areas of world politics.


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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby svinayak » 19 Jan 2011 10:22

Check this out


http://www.scribd.com/doc/40025185/SANS ... RY-ONWARDS

THE SOUND PATTERN of SANSKRIT IN ASIA
An Unheralded Contribution by Indian Brahmans and Buddhist Monks* Frits Staal Berkeley/Chiang Mai

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby abhishek_sharma » 19 Jan 2011 11:02

Okay, Thanks brihaspati/Rony guru.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby SwamyG » 19 Jan 2011 20:58

A new book is coming out in a month or two. Breaking India, written by Rajiv Malhotra and Aravindan Neelakandhan.


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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby abhishek_sharma » 21 Jan 2011 11:03

brihaspati wrote:This is going nowhere! I will try to make a list but cannot do this before Friday. Are there specific questions or areas you are interested in exploring- then we can try to make a feasible list!


Thanks for the references. Basically I wanted to read about the policies of Muslim rulers in India (in last 1000 years).

Also, what mistakes were made by Hindu rulers before 1200 A.D. We were as rich (and technologically advanced) as Europeans at one time. But they surpassed us. Many contributions in Trigonometry were made by Indians, but after that it is mostly Newton, Gauss, Leibniz, Laplace ityadi. What happened? Thanks again.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby svinayak » 21 Jan 2011 11:13

http://voi.org/books/tlmr/

The Legacy of Muslim Rule in India
K.S. Lal
Voice of India, New Delhi



http://voiceofdharma.org/books/mssmi/
Muslim Slave System in Medieval India
K.S. Lal
Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby brihaspati » 23 Jan 2011 02:57

abhishek_sharma ji,
in addition to the resources pointed by Acharya ji, please visit the site
http://persian.packhum.org/persian/. It contains a very good resource of translations of the Persian chroniclers of India. This would be a good starting point with the cautionary note - that
(1) This is from the Islamic side, and hence they will themselves selectively suppress whatever they feel is damaging for them. This could include reversals, and defeats in battles or wars.
(2) They may also lie about motivations and attitudes of people from the opposing sides who cove over to them.

But if they highlight something, then even if it is a "fantasy" it shows a desirable aspect to such things, and a direct proof that lots of stuff were not then seen by many of these scholars who had formal exposure to Islamic law and theology - as being contradictory to or unsupported in Islam.

From the Indic side, Rajatarangini and Prabandhachintamani would be a good contemporary ref. The final chapters of Rajatarnagini describing Harsha and his successors would be particularly illustrative. You may even see some support for the theory of "reincarnation" as you may find many repeatations of "Harsha" in current Hindu elite dealing with Kashmir! :mrgreen:

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby brihaspati » 23 Jan 2011 09:25

abhishek_sharma ji,
I realize I missed the second part of your query. There are lots of theories once we set aside the Thaparite logic of Islamism having arrived in the form of holiday security of Islamic pastoralists on their annual peaceful grazing sorties - we have several possibilities as excuses:
(1) the probably global and intense drought between 750 and 900, that would weaken the more advanced and agrarian north/western Indian states
(2) lack of military prowess and tech - this seems to be the favourite of most, but is not very easy to prove
(3) economic drain on account of horses [again rather problematic]
(4) lack of apparent unity on Indic side [again not very reliably proven]

I would suggest reading up on three examples :
(a) Siddharaja Jayasimha of Gujarat - and inconic protector of Islamic institutional expansion and settlements
(b) Harsha of Kashmir - and his icnoncloastic zeal and attacks on "Hindus" and employment of Turuska[ a common name given to all Muslims by Indics but used as an excuse by Thaparites to disconnect the religion and emphasize ethnicity] in army and state apparatus
(c) The rich merchant Buddhists of Sindh who are described as living it up with slaves/servants in cities and who are the first to compromise with and supply the invading Islamists [ the actual description of their lifestyles in Persian chronicles are suppressed by our eminent historians to bolster their case of supposed brahminical tyranny on innocent and poor pious Buddhist majority among the commons. But Hieuen Tsang who visited the region shortly before wrote of how the Buddhist sanghas were falling into disrepair and there are others ources which describe growth of Shaivism in the countryside.]

A section of Indian elite used leiberal/tolerance memes in Indic culture to protect the initial growth of Islamic communities who served as captive support groups for invading armies. Taranath describes the growth of Islamic populations immediately before in every well-known township destroyed by the Islamics.

It is the same old story still now. Isolated elite, for various reasons, growing up with a consciousness of by-birth-superiority from the rest of "commons" feel vulnerable and weak, and admire the ruthlessness and apparent liberalism-free power of the "Islamic" meme and hope to use the latter to strengthen themselves. They take an extra interest in nurturing the initial weak Islamist bases and invariably propagandize the latter as something completely opposite to what the real jihadi history shows. This can appear a rather sweeping generalization, but if you try and apply this model to all the periods including the current - you will get a very good fit. In the modern period the tactic is to represent the Islamic spread through sufis. In the absence of knowledge of the Sufi chroniclers themselves - the non-Muslims can be made to believe in the myth of peaceful sufis. This part of the age old cover up.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby abhishek_sharma » 23 Jan 2011 17:30

Thanks Acharya guru and brihaspati guru. I intend to read these books.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby svinayak » 23 Jan 2011 23:57

This books is also very good. This book gave me insights on how things changed over the centuries,
Hinduism and Islam in India: caste, religion, and society from antiquity to early modern times

http://books.google.com/books?id=jh2qec ... navlinks_s

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby ramana » 24 Jan 2011 01:06

Joseph P. Quinlan, "The Last Economic Superpower: The Retreat of Globalization, the End of American Dominance, and What We Can Do About It"

McGraw-H ill | 2010 | ISBN: 0071742832 | 304 pages |

The Risks and Rewards for the West in the Coming Multipolar World

"A marked shift has occurred in the tone and assumptions surrounding our national fortune. Nowhere is this better seen than in the second generation of books dealing with America’s financial crisis, particularly Joseph P. Quinlan’s The Last Economic Superpower."
New York Journal of Books

The global economy, designed by Western powers with the United States as lead architect, is in the process of reconfiguration. The 2008 global financial crisis has terminated America’s reign as sole economic superpower and opened up important new spheres of influence to developing nations.

Does this signal the retreat of globalization as we know it? Has an economic “cold war” already begun? Will the West ever exert the kind of control and influence it enjoyed just a few short years ago?

In The Last Economic Superpower, Joseph P. Quinlan, a Wall Street veteran and expert on global economic affairs, addresses these questions and many others. Presenting his vision with refreshing clarity and objectivity, Quinlan examines:
How America went from being a major creditor to the world’s largest debtor nation in only two decades
Five critical issues America must face in order to prevent permanent fragmentation of the global economy
What the fading appeal of Europe and Japan means for the future of globalization
What China, India, and others have that the West doesn’t--and why this gives them unprecedented leverage.[/b]

Decisions made now will shape the course of history. The Last Economic Superpower outlines critical choices that must be made in order to recast, reinvent, and reenergize a new style of globalization.

The Last Economic Superpower lays bare the issues and challenges that will decide whether the world builds a new, functional system that serves all or fragments into separate spheres of influence, which benefits no one.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby abhishek_sharma » 07 Feb 2011 03:54

X-post from TSP thread

abhishek_sharma wrote:Partitions, Kamleshwar, translated by Ameena Kazi Ansari, Penguin India, 2006, p.369+xi, Rs.350.

http://www.hindu.com/lr/2006/06/04/stories/2006060400110300.htm

I am trying to read the Hindi version of this book. It is kinda difficult to understand. Any reviews by members here? Is it historically accurate?

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby RamaY » 09 Feb 2011 00:53

The World Bank in India, a Hindu book review

THE WORLD BANK IN INDIA - Undermining Sovereignty, Distorting Development: Edited by Michele Kelley, Deepika D'Souza; Orient Blackswan, 3-6-752, Himayatnagar, Hyderabad-500029. Rs. 895.

This book is a collection of essays covering an array of economic issues ranging from agriculture, poverty, food security, power, water, to governance, environment impact and sustainability of growth, and the impact of the World Bank on them. Even a cursory reading would show that it is a shocking indictment of the World Bank.

The material for this book emerged from a two-year preparation that culminated in the holding of the first national “Independent People's Tribunal on the Impact of the World Bank Group in India,” held in 2007 in New Delhi. Over 150 persons presented testimonies and these were discussed or elaborated further at the Tribunal. A 12-member jury went into those testimonies and framed as many as 29 ‘charges' (listed in the concluding chapter of this volume).

Among the contributors are leading intellectuals, journalists, judges, and civil activists who are genuinely committed to public purpose and promoting justice and welfare. This creates a moral dilemma for a reviewer: it may seem an act of effrontery if he disagreed with them; at the same time, he may fail to hold the balance evenly if he agreed.

Moral anger

Much of the writing gives vent to moral anger bordering on despair over the results of World Bank programmes and discusses how they have distorted national priorities and marginalised the poor through the so-called poverty alleviation schemes. Their impact on agriculture and food security is examined. The ‘Green Revolution' was perhaps a temporary blimp driven by the Bank at the behest of global chemical and fertilizer giants. Several authors have described ‘disaster' stories of privatisation like the Delhi Jal Board, and the Orissa Power Sector. Many refer to the land use and urbanisation under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). In his crisp analysis, Prabhat Patnaik narrates how the Kerala government forgoes more revenue through stamp duty remissions than it gets as project aid! There are first-hand accounts of bending the country's environmental policies and promoting polluting industries.

The authors portray harsh realities and give evidence in support, though some of them overstate their cases. Most of the authors are idealists and have not tried their hands on economic diplomacy, especially economic aid as a foreign policy tool.

In the post-Second World War years, aid and assistance have played a direct role in promoting relations, especially during the years of Cold War. There were behind-the-door haggling and competition for aid. Aid could be used to promote trade and commercial projects and also to get political good will.

Within years, there emerged an unstated coordination among developed countries, which came to be led by the U.S. Even when bilateral loans were negotiated, the attempt by all the developed countries was to promote market capitalism. It had not been under the rubric of Washington Consensus — it happened in late 1970s. By then, bilateral assistance had dwindled and all loans were routed through the World Bank Group.

More distressingly, the World Bank stepped in only when the country concerned was facing a very serious economic crisis — as India in 1991 — and the so-called negotiations with the borrowing country were a farce. They had to sign on the dotted line and many, including India, were happy to do so. The request for aid/loan will be given in a formal proposal which is drafted by the World Bank and sent back to it for approval. There are no discussions in Parliament or debate in public on the loan conditions. “Reformers” maintain they were not under pressure!

At arms's length

The only country which has dealt with the World Bank at arm's length is China. China made it clear that it would seek “technical aid” from the World Bank to improve its systems, etc., and did not want project aid. It was determined to use the high level of domestic savings available in the banking system to finance projects. China's saga of infrastructure promotion through loans extended by its banks is unmatched.

When China sought World Bank loan, it made it absolutely clear that it would not agree to policy conditionality. It was able to get along with the World Bank because it was not dependent on aid. Where differences could not be reconciled, as in the Seven Gorges Project, China chose to use its own resources.

China has resisted all attempts to privatise its state-owned-enterprises. It did not allow the sale of its banks nor did it agree to unrestricted entry of foreign banks. Does a comparative study suggest that the fault is not with the World Bank but in us? This situation may not change as long as the current “reformers” remain in power.


Reminds me of "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man"!

There you go Em-Bee-Ye (I myself am one :oops: ) liberals who profess Dus-Percentee growth rates, Urbunization etc...

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby abhishek_sharma » 09 Feb 2011 08:45


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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby ramana » 11 Feb 2011 06:44

Origins: The Ancient Near Eastern Background of Some Modern Western Institutions
Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers | ISBN: 9004103287 | edition 1996 | 362 pages |

Origins is the first fully comprehensive study of the debt owed by modern western culture to Ancient Near Eastern civilization - a debt touched upon by standard histories of the Ancient Near East but never as systematically investigated as here by William W. Hallo. The author, who has devoted a lifetime to the study of the Ancient Near East, places the emphasis on the way the Ancient Near East continues to shape our Western world. He takes an in-depth look at the ancient origins of many institutions that are most essential to contemporary life - and most often taken for granted.



Charles Kupchan, "How Enemies Become Friends: The Sources of Stable Peace"
Princeton U-ty Press | 2010 | ISBN: 0691142653 | 448 pages |

Is the world destined to suffer endless cycles of conflict and war? Can rival nations become partners and establish a lasting and stable peace? How Enemies Become Friends provides a bold and innovative account of how nations escape geopolitical competition and replace hostility with friendship. Through compelling analysis and rich historical examples that span the globe and range from the thirteenth century through the present, foreign policy expert Charles Kupchan explores how adversaries can transform enmity into amity--and he exposes prevalent myths about the causes of peace.

Kupchan contends that diplomatic engagement with rivals, far from being appeasement, is critical to rapprochement between adversaries. Diplomacy, not economic interdependence, is the currency of peace; concessions and strategic accommodation promote the mutual trust needed to build an international society. The nature of regimes matters much less than commonly thought: countries, including the United States, should deal with other states based on their foreign policy behavior rather than on whether they are democracies. Kupchan demonstrates that similar social orders and similar ethnicities, races, or religions help nations achieve stable peace. He considers many historical successes and failures, including the onset of friendship between the United States and Great Britain in the early twentieth century, the Concert of Europe, which preserved peace after 1815 but collapsed following revolutions in 1848, and the remarkably close partnership of the Soviet Union and China in the 1950s, which descended into open rivalry by the 1960s.

In a world where conflict among nations seems inescapable, How Enemies Become Friends offers critical insights for building lasting peace.


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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby Raghavendra » 11 Feb 2011 14:10

RamaY wrote:The World Bank in India, a Hindu book review

The material for this book emerged from a two-year preparation that culminated in the holding of the first national “Independent People's Tribunal on the Impact of the World Bank Group in India,” held in 2007 in New Delhi.


Reminds me of "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man"!

There you go Em-Bee-Ye (I myself am one :oops: ) liberals who profess Dus-Percentee growth rates, Urbunization etc...


why the :oops: ? IPT is maoist group infested with likes of arundhati roy, naturally they would like to copy china's path of economic development. the :oops: should be replaced with :lol: since people who wish india be divided into pieces are getting hopelessly depressed. if india had copied chinese developmental path you MBA would be dead for being bourgeois class enemy. Isnt it great to be alive? :mrgreen:

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby abhishek_sharma » 12 Feb 2011 08:25


ramana
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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby ramana » 17 Feb 2011 10:06

This book is important to understand how to deduce the grand strategy of states where there is no documents about such matters.

http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2010/2010-01-49.html


Edward N. Luttwak, The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire. Cambridge, MA/London: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2009. Pp. xi, 498. ISBN 9780674035195. $35.00.

Reviewed by Anthony Kaldellis, The Ohio State University (kaldellis.1@osu.edu)
Word count: 2796 words

Preview

The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire is not as bold in its assertions as its controversial predecessor, The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire (1976). The basic idea, that the Byzantines preferred persuasion and co-option over decisive battles, is well established. The book's strength lies in the conceptual apparatus of strategic theory that Luttwak brings to the Byzantine military manuals in the third part, and it will provide an attractive introduction to some aspects of diplomatic and military history. Interest in Byzantium by scholars in other fields is certainly to be encouraged, but Luttwak is no Byzantinist (for example, he relies entirely on translations for the primary sources, even online translations, and too often on outdated scholarship). The following critical review is written from the standpoint of a Byzantinist who requires a closer engagement with the field by anyone who would make a "grand" argument about Byzantium.

Part I lays out the fundamental axioms of Byzantine strategy and offers a historical argument for its origin. The Byzantines avoided the risks of decisive military confrontations and sought rather to contain or co-opt their enemies, in order to preserve their own soldiers, who would be needed to contain the next enemy, and because the enemy of today was a potential ally against the enemy of tomorrow (given the waves of barbarians that the empire faced during its long history). Ideally, barbarians should be paid to go away or attack others, rather than fought. Luttwak traces the emergence of this policy to the confrontation with Attila and the Huns. Hunnic armies were fast, large, and almost impossible to destroy in the field, given their tactics and use of the composite reflex bow. It was then that Byzantine diplomacy came to the fore, and it would dominate their strategy thereafter. Moreover, it was in response to this threat that the Byzantine army became predominantly cavalry-oriented, with mounted archers replacing the heavy infantry of the Roman past.

Luttwak is generally stronger at formulating the principles of strategy than making historical arguments. Certainly the experience of Attila shaped the ongoing evolution of Byzantine strategy, but the case made here leaves too many questions unanswered. First, for a century before Attila the empire had been dealing with many Goths in a typically "Byzantine" way as with the Huns before Attila. Second, it is not clear, as Luttwak asserts (54-55, 61), that the eastern armies would have lost in battle against Attila. Luttwak has already described how the western armies (famously) defeated him in 451, though he downplays this as a temporary check (43-45). But his argument (following Iordanes) that the "proto-Byzantine" Aetius did not then utterly destroy Attila in order to use the Huns as potential leverage against the Goths indicates that it was a victory (44). He also ignores the defeat of the Huns before Toulouse in 439, where losses were so high that Attila could act against the East in 441 only in violation of a treaty and when Theodosios II had sent many units to the West, against the Vandals. The East, then, need not have regarded Attila as an "unmanageable threat" (12) or "an irresistible force" (78). It was cheaper to pay him off but he did not pose a threat to the empire's existence. This reflects a deeper problem in the assessment of Attila's significance, a point on which Luttwak dissents from his main sources, E. A. Thompson and O. Maenchen-Helfen, who regarded Attila as overrated. He became a figure of the imagination, but his handful of raids and ultimate goal (basically, extortion) did not change history. Luttwak invokes his presence in the Nibelungenlied and Icelandic sagas (18-19), but Attila's contemporary king Arthur shows clearly that late medieval literature is no guide to Roman history. Even he admits that "under Attila the Huns remained raiders rather conquerors [sic]" (36) and that they avoided combat, preferring localized attacks to "set the stage for. . . extortion" (38-39). The so-called empire of the Huns has recently been called "a protection racket on a grand scale," and "in direct encounters with the Roman army the Hun record is not particularly impressive."1

Another component of Luttwak's argument is open to objection, namely that after Attila the Byzantine army came to rely primarily on cavalry (20-21, 56; cf. 26: "the core of the army," 78: "the primary force," 260: "the dominant arm"). The cavalry doctrine emerged out of nineteenth-century generalizations about the knightly culture of the Middle Ages (whereas antiquity had citizen militias), and is based largely on one text, the preface of Prokopios' Wars, which Luttwak, like many before, duly quotes (57) and takes at face value. Certainly, cavalry became more important after 500, and was more prominent in certain kinds of operations, especially against mounted enemies, but the core of the Roman army remained infantry. This emerges from scholarship that Luttwak apparently did not consult,2 and is indicated by evidence that he himself presents later from the Byzantine manuals (300-301, 312, 349, 363-364 and 369-370) that presuppose mostly infantry armies, and go beyond the concession at 273: "even at the height of the cavalry era there was a need for some infantry." Maurikios' Strategikon is about cavalry operations (267) but this is misleading: it refers to a separate work on the infantry (2.2), possibly lost. The wars with the Avars in Theophylaktos are also cited by Luttwak as proof of the cavalry thesis (60), but the narrative is not explicit and seems to me to concern infantry legions instead. As for Prokopios' preface, I have argued that it should not be taken at face value, for it was part of his ironic stance toward Justinian, to which end it concocts a fantastic warrior type.3 This text offers no sound basis on which to reconstruct military history. Prokopios was, moreover, a partisan of infantry on grounds that Luttwak inadvertently reveals (293): enemy "cavalry could be readily halted by infantry in disciplined ranks, so long as there were enough bowmen to prevent the steppe archers from simply standing in front of them to discharge their arrows." Finally, Luttwak overlooks the possibility that the Byzantines learned cavalry skills from their eastern neighbors;4 here too he possibly overrates Hunnic influence.

Part II is on the instruments and context of Byzantine diplomacy. Chapter 3 treats envoys, focusing on late antiquity, and repeats the sophism that there were "no professional diplomats. . . no minister for foreign affairs" (107, also 6). It would be refreshing for someone to challenge this. A good place to start would be Justinian's long-serving magister officiorum, Petros Patrikios, who was more of a diplomat and minister of foreign affairs than many modern professionals. Surprisingly, he is not even mentioned in this book. A more rigorous comparison would probably weaken the argument that the magister could not have been "a proper foreign minister, for sheer lack of time" (108-109), given the number of bureaus under him. The same could be said about many modern ministries, and in some countries the office of foreign minister is held by the prime minister. The account of diplomatic immunity (101-105) overlooks the crucial exchange in Prokopios between Petros by Theodahad. Chapter 4 is a brief survey of the sacred attractions of Constantinople, but shirks an analysis of how religion promoted, or was used to promote, diplomacy. The dealings of Romanos I and Symeon would have been ideal for this purpose, but they are narrated in mostly untranslated sources. Chapter 5 on court ceremonies discusses some excerpts from the Book of Ceremonies. Chapter 6 on "dynastic" (recte diplomatic) marriages lapses into a list with little analysis, and misses a major recent monograph.5 Chapter 7 on "the geography of power" is a selective commentary on the forms of address set forth in the Book of Ceremonies for addressing foreign leaders. General background information is offered here and there, but no explanation as to why this moment was chosen, why this text, or how exactly the chapter contributes to the main argument. Only the discussion of the Pechenegs (158-161) seems strictly relevant, and here Luttwak turns to the De administrando imperio. He would have found more support for his thesis in that text.

There follow two focused discussions, dealing with the Bulgarians and the Muslims (Chapters 8-9). The first is a narrative survey of warfare and diplomacy, at times anthologizing sources. Luttwak loses sight of his main argument and delights in the details of campaigns (some of which seem to contradict his main thesis: see below). The narrative is discontinuous. It offers snapshots of relations with Symeon and jumps ahead to Samuel and Basileios II. Chapter 9 begins by discussing the tax systems of late Rome and Sasanian Iran, and then turns to the treatment of religious minorities by Byzantium and the Muslims. The relevance of this to strategy is unclear (nor of the note at 453 n. 24 on Luther's furor against the Jews). Perhaps we are meant to conclude that intolerance made minorities welcome the Arabs, though this is not strictly about strategy. Luttwak seems to be unaware that some of these later narratives of "treason" may have aimed to curry favor with Muslim overlords.6 We return to strategic analysis only at the end of the chapter, with the Seljuks. Overall, part II of the book is the weakest in terms of analysis and originality.

Part III is the most successful in the book, consisting of five chapters (10-14) that survey the military manuals from antiquity to the eleventh century, and one (15) that examines the strategic dimension of Herakleios' defeat of Persia. At first sight the survey chapters might seem to paraphrase the military treatises; in fact, Luttwak uses his expertise as a strategic theorist to good effect, bringing out the logic behind the texts' recommendations. I recommend the discussion of the concept and practice of elastic defense (343-345), where comparative evidence is deployed well. At 326 Luttwak dismisses the overall value of Greek fire. At 387-392 he surprisingly omits Kekaumenos' potentially treasonous advice to foreign border lords on how they might maintain independence from Constantinople. Unfortunately, Luttwak does not discuss in chapter 13 how naval strategy was integrated with land warfare.

The book's strengths reflect its author's expertise in strategic theory, but from the standpoint of Byzantine studies here are too many annoying errors throughout.7 More troubling are problems in the book's methodology. Other than the manuals, the literary sources are taken at face value (as we saw with Prokopios). For example, there is no analysis of the ethnographic conventions behind Ammianus' account of the Huns.8 Sidonius, we are told, was "not led astray by poetic needs -- he is describing [riding skills] quite accurately" (28), but elsewhere "panic" or "poetic needs" are allowed (43). This is about the extent of literary sophistication brought to bear on the sources. Contra 63, the reasons why Priskos wrote his account of the embassy to Attila had little to do with the context (personal, literary, or ideological) of Tacitus' Germania. Luttwak's dismissal of Prokopios' account of the plague on the grounds that it imitates classical models (87-88) is about sixty years out-of-date;9 he then paradoxically endorses that account because other sources confirm it. He viciously dismisses Said and all classicists who study the representation of "the Other" in literature (448 n. 1) -- "an evil fashion." At 252 he laments the takeover of philosophy by linguistics, preferring that it instill "tranquility." There is no Linguistic Turn here, in more senses than one.

There is also no analysis of the interplay between command structure and strategy nor of the empire's military organization and the nature of its units (they are briefly mentioned at 178, with a reference to the entry in the Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium). We are left with a vague impression of the actual army with which the grand strategy was implemented. There are also no discussions of the criteria for appointing officers; of the relation between the army and civilians; of how the Byzantines perceived war in the first place; of their idea of Holy War (mentioned in a parenthesis at 412 and a note at 470), which would surely influence strategy; or of changes, gradual or dramatic, in strategy between 400 and 1100 (a glimpse only at 369-370, and an acknowledgment in the last paragraph: 417-418). One passage implies a more evolutionary view (13: "it was only under Herakleios...that the distinctive grand strategy...was fully formed"), but this methodological challenge is not taken up. At 112 the shift from force to diplomacy is upheld as the turning point between (later) Rome and Byzantium, but Luttwak states at the top of the same page that emperors from Augustus to Marcus Aurelius "preferred gold to iron whenever enemies were more cheaply bought off than fought." So despite the showcasing of Attila, the transition from Rome to Byzantium remains hazy.

Strategic doctrine prevails over history, and is mostly static. Except for Nikephoros I, who "decided to rely entirely on his own military strength" (177) and so came to grief (see 183 for his error), there is no analysis of the generals who ignored what Luttwak postulates as Byzantine strategy but succeeded. He thinks these were only Justinian and Basileios II (284), but the long reconquest produced many who preferred war over diplomacy (Kourkouas, Nikephoros Phokas, Ioannes Tzimiskes, etc.). The most important methodological problem, however, is that Luttwak seems not to know that the Byzantines fought civil wars about as often as they fought foreign ones,10 and that, accordingly, their command structure and strategy were designed to cope with internal threats, both real and imagined. Even the very emergence of their distinctive strategic mode may have had more to do with playing against each other the Gothic warlords absorbed into the system in the late fourth century than it did with Attila.

The exposition is punctuated by weird statements and outdated notions. There is no validity to the claim that Byzantium after 1259 was a Greek kingdom rather than an empire (6, 56, 70, 234). Iconoclasm was not a struggle between "the Hellenic proclivity for imagery" and "abstract Jewish monotheism" (118). There was no thing such as "European civilization" in the early Middle Ages (124). No regional "zone" rejected Hellenism in late antiquity and non-Greek-speakers did not overlap with non-Chalcedonians (410). Why are Penelope's suitors called "the Ithaca provincials"? (25) What does it mean exactly that Belisarios "is still remembered today by unlettered Romans" (80), that the modern names of rivers are more "accurate" than their medieval ones (34, 42), or that for the Byzantines only an ancient Greek text could be classical but not a Roman one (249)? And is the following a joke? "Christianity certainly helped to combat prejudice--not only because of its universal embrace but also because it dissuaded its followers from bathing, and therefore removed the barrier of smell that greatly inhibited Roman intimacy with barbarians" (145). :mrgreen:

Such statements are made parenthetically and do not affect the argument. But there are times where substantive disagreement is possible, for example that "war cries and arms waving served exactly the same function as displays of nuclear weapons during the Cold War" (111), or "that almost all the Byzantines we know of were intensely devout Christians is beyond question" (113). Contra 108, late Roman arms factories were not a "military-industrial complex" as they were owned by the state. Contra 137, the reluctance to marry princesses to foreigners had little to do with "the claimed position of the emperor as God's viceroy on earth. . . who must exist on a higher plane than all other rulers." This is a function of the modern "theologization" of Byzantium. Konstantinos VII gives a different excuse (quoted at 139), premised on national differences. If Greeks and Byzantines did not know the word "strategy" (412), then what did the title Strategikon and its like mean? At 129 we are told that imperial power was "unlimited by laws" but at 280 that "it was regulated by laws." Luttwak is more confident that the sixth-century plague "wrecked the entire state and its army" than are the historians on whom he relies (13, 89-92). The jury is still out on that one. At 125 Luttwak mocks the court hydraulic devices as "little more than childish foolery," but a few pages later he has observed that the "immanent presence of power" at political capitals is "scorned only by those with no access to it" (129).

Luttwak has much that is useful to say about the Byzantines' strategy, especially when discussing their military manuals. His book, however, is not so strong when it comes to Byzantine history. It is out of touch with the state of the field. More precision and better information would have smoothed the union of history and strategic theory that is attempted here.

Notes:


1. C. Kelly, Attila the Hun: Barbarian Terror and the Fall of the Roman Empire (London 2009) 47 and 227; cf. 49: "their relatively brief domination of the middle Danube."
2. W. Treadgold, Byzantium and Its Army, 284-1081 (Stanford 1995) 50-53, 108. The absence of Treadgold's works is a striking omission, given that he is one of the leading Byzantine military historians. J. Haldon, Warfare, State, and Society in the Byzantine World, 565-1204 (London 1999) 193-196 also paints a mixed picture. E. McGeer, 'Infantry versus Cavalry: The Byzantine Response,' Revue des études byzantines 46 (1988) 135-145, here 136 refers to "the underestimated role and importance of infantry in Byzantine armies."
3. A. Kaldellis, 'Classicism, Barbarism, and Warfare: Prokopios and the Conservative Reaction to Later Roman Military Policy,' American Journal of Ancient History n.s. 3-4 (2004-2005 [2007]) 189-218. This is one of the few points on which Luttwak (at 274) disagrees with J. Haldon, Warfare, State, and Society in the Byzantine World, 565-1204 (London 1999) 216, who likewise called Prokopios' mounted archer/lancers "something of a myth."
4. A. D. H. Bivar, 'Cavalry Equipment and Tactics on the Euphrates Frontier,' Dumbarton Oaks Papers 25 (1972) 273-291.
5. A. G. Panagopoulou, Oi diplomatikoi gamoi sto Byzantio (6os-12os aionas) (Athens 2006), 500 pages.
6. Most recently in H. Kennedy, The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live in (Da Capo Press 2007).
7. E.g., 34-35: the Hunnic raid through the Caucasus was in 395 not 399, and Luttwak does not know G. and M. Greatrex in Byzantion 69 (1999) 65-75. 36: Rome and Persia did not agree to garrison the Caucasus in 562, but over a century earlier. 78: Theodosius I for Theodosius II. 83: costitutiones (twice). 84: Justinian's Novellae were not "collected in a separate compilation" -- that is an illusion created by the modern edition. 86: Justinian was not named Flavius as a child -- that was an imperial name. 98: Sodgians. 111: apkrisarion. 128: the first known Byzantine-Arab exchange of prisoners was not in 805 but 769: Theophanes, Chronicle a.m. 6261 (p. 444). 131: Stamford Bridge is not in Greater London. 186: 1913 for 913. 237: dates the Strategikon to "the late part of the reign of Justinian" (elsewhere, e.g., 267, is it attributed to the reign of Maurikios). 266: by the end of the fifteenth century "Greek was still an unknown language even for the most learned scholars of western Europe." 338: the Byzantine counteroffensive did not begin in the middle of the tenth century but two centuries earlier. 391: archenos. 394: Khusrau II never went to Constantinople. 436 n. 23: Averil Cameron Claudian, Poetry and Propaganda should be Alan Cameron, Claudian: Poetry and Propaganda. Harald's epithet Hardrada is translated as "stern counsel" at 155 and "hard ruler" at 131 (and his story is told twice in different chapters). At 40 the Slavic "monoxyla (= one tree = dugouts)," but at 463 n. 20 we get "= single trunk. But they were not dugout canoes." At 226 we are told that Mantzikert was "a catastrophic strategic defeat" but at 162 that "it was not a catastrophic military defeat" because "the catastrophe came in the aftermath."
8. See C. King, 'The Veracity of Ammianus Marcellinus' Description of the Huns,' American Journal of Ancient History 12 (1987) 77-95; C. Kelly, Attila the Hun: Barbarian Terror and the Fall of the Roman Empire (London 2009) 17-28.
9. See A. Kaldellis, Procopius of Caesarea: Tyranny, History, and Philosophy at the End of Antiquity (Philadelphia 2004) 26-27, citing the relevant studies.
10. For a tabulation, see W. Treadgold, 'Byzantium, the Reluctant Warrior,' in N. Christie and M. Yazigi, eds., Noble Ideals and Bloody Realities: Warfare in the Middle Ages (Leiden 2006) 209-233.


An academican review of an intellectual work is always short!

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby abhishek_sharma » 17 Feb 2011 12:52

THE VIOLENCE OF PEACE: America’s Wars in the Age of Obama

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/30/books/review/Traub-t.html

Good book.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby ramana » 19 Feb 2011 09:13

Vinay Rai, William Simo, "Think India: The Rise of the World's Next Superpower and What It Means for Every American"
Dutton Adult | 2007 | ISBN: 0525950206 | 304 pages |

With 1.1 billion residents, the world’s largest democracy is poised to dominate the world stage. One of India’s wealthiest men gives an insider’s view into his country’s dynamic transformation, revealing the forces and unique characteristics behind India’s meteoric rise.

The buzzword of the twenty-first century is India—and it’s not just a story of software, outsourcing, and faraway call centers. With the economy soaring at 8 percent a year, India is a medical and pharmaceutical frontrunner, an R&D powerhouse, a rising manufacturing hub, and an up-and-coming cultural trendsetter in areas from fashion to film. And the world is taking note: Western companies from Lockheed Martin to McDonald’s are moving in, Ford is setting up factories, Coca Cola is heading to the countryside in rickshaws, and research centers for Fortune 500 companies are popping up everywhere. Meanwhile, the U.S. military is forging close ties, as India has become a key strategic partner.

Steel tycoon turned educator Vinay Rai, who now runs one of India’s two private universities— with fifteen campuses nationwide—couples with geopolitical writer Melissa Rossi to map out the rising new India. This colorful, lively, forward-looking account of India’s stunning world debut is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand India’s new muscle on the global stage.

• One out of every six people in the world lives in India.
• India’s top trading partner is the United States.
• India is:
The fastest-growing free market economy
The world’s top destination for retailers
The world’s youngest workforce (over 500 millionunder age twenty-five)


Add 200M with IQ >100 by 2030

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby Rony » 19 Feb 2011 17:20

Video on Breaking up India

You can watch the Delhi launch video on YouTube. its a total of 1 hour, 15 mins. The speakers are in separate segments, in the following
chronological sequence: Ram Jethmalani, Aravindan Neelakandan (co-author), S. Gurumurthy, Vice-Admiral Puri, Upendra Baxi (former Vice Chancellor of Delhi Univ), Rajiv Malhotra (author), and Admiral Nayyar.Allow a few seconds after each segment for the next one to start automatically:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Omcs53cI ... 0C3A116B00

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby ramana » 21 Feb 2011 03:02

Stanley Wolpert - Shameful Flight: The Last Years of the British Empire in India
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA | 2009-09-17 | ISBN: 0195393945 | 256 pages |


Britain's precipitous and ill-planned disengagement from India in 1947--condemned as a "shameful flight" by Winston Churchill--had a truly catastrophic effect on South Asia, leaving hundreds of thousands of people dead in its wake and creating a legacy of chaos, hatred, and war that has lasted over half a century.
Ranging from the fall of Singapore in 1942 to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, Shameful Flight provides a vivid behind-the-scenes look at Britain's decision to divest itself from the crown jewel of its empire. Stanley Wolpert, a leading authority on Indian history, paints memorable portraits of all the key participants, including Gandhi, Churchill, Attlee, Nehru, and Jinnah, with special focus on British viceroy, Lord Louis Mountbatten. Wolpert places the blame for the catastrophe largely on Mountbatten, the flamboyant cousin of the king, who rushed the process of nationhood along at an absurd pace. The viceroy's worst blunder was the impetuous drawing of new border lines through the middle of Punjab and Bengal. Virtually everyone involved advised Mountbatten that to partition those provinces was a calamitous mistake that would unleash uncontrollable violence. Indeed, as Wolpert shows, civil unrest among Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs escalated as Independence Day approached, and when the new boundary lines were announced, arson, murder, and mayhem erupted. Partition uprooted over ten million people, 500,000 to a million of whom died in the ensuing inferno.
Here then is the dramatic story of a truly pivotal moment in the history of India, Pakistan, and Britain, an event that ignited fires of continuing political unrest that still burn in South Asia.


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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby ramana » 21 Feb 2011 21:34

Pioneer book review:


Revisiting the Raj Old Way

Sahib’s IndiaAuthor: Pran Nevile
Publisher: Penguin
Price: Rs 299

Pran Nevile offers a survey of what he calls the ‘untold stories of the Raj’. But most of the stories are not really untold, says Saradindu Mukherji

Much has been written on the experiences of the British colonial elite during their stay in India. One may recall William Carey’s Memoir, John Bowen’s Missionary Incitement and Hindoo Demoralisation (1821), James Long’s Peeps into the Social Life of Calcutta a Century Ago (1868), Percival Spear’s Nabobs on 18th Century British Life in India, among others. Perhaps a lot more could still be written on the basis of immense materials held at the Cambridge South Asian archives, India Office Library, London, and numerous other depositories in the United Kingdom.

Then there are Catherine Mayo’s Mother India and Sister Nivedita’s Footfalls of Indian History. Also, there is a remarkable memoir, though little known, by Marion Barwell (1960), who lived in India for many years — moving between Ranikhet and Calcutta. She was the wife of Noel Frederick Barwell, the last British Bar-at-law, practising in Calcutta High Court, who was immortalised by prolific Bengali writer ‘Shankar’ (Mani Shankar Mukherjee). Barwell mentions how her husband had started reading the “greatest philosophical work of our time”, or as some of us think of anytime, Aurobindo Ghosh’s The Life Divine, and shows her deep and sensitive understanding of Hindu India’s religio-spiritual depth.

Pran Nevile has been writing on various aspects of the British colonial rule in India, and this one offers a survey of what he calls the “untold stories of the Raj”. But, most of the stories are not really “untold”, as they are to be found in various publications dealing with Simla, Mussoorie, Ooty or Calcutta of the Raj era. Many of the Sunday supplements of Indian newspapers still publish such “untold stories”.

Nevile mentions how an English Captain in the Mysore campaign was accompanied by his butler, cook, valet, barber, dhobi and others, besides 15 coolies to carry his luggage, wines, liquor, live poultry and milch goats. It’s no surprise that Viceroy Lord Lytton had a retinue of 300 “indoor servants, of whom a third were cooks”, and once his head jemadar was so gorgeously dressed that the Viceroy took him for a visiting Raja and embraced him. It is amusing to know that Indian servants and ayahs were often taken to England by their masters. Interestingly, an ayah’s home was set up in London’s East End and one ayah is reported to have made 54 round trips. (One may also add here the fact that ‘Prince’ Dwarkanath Tagore, grandfather of Rabindranath Tagore, had taken 17 Indian servants and one musician along with him during his visit to England in 1845.)

In the chapter on “Sex and the Sahib”, the author says: “The Burgeoning Raj was a masculine affair. Women were honoured in their absence and the founders of the empire suffered prolonged separation from wives and families.” :mrgreen:

Much has already been written about the paucity of European women in India, and the mad scramble for them when a ship load of them happened to land in some of the port-cities. Things started improving as the number of European women coming to India gradually increased by the 19th century. And then, the missionaries worked hard in Bombay with their “Midnight Mission” to dissuade the Europeans from visiting the brothels which often led to tripartite brawls. Ultimately the administrators used the police to drive out the missionaries! There are all kinds of descriptions and stories, and most of them are familiar to readers — both in England and India.

Nevile cites Forbes to say how Muslim conquests, along with other causes, have “sadly degraded” the philosophy and science of Hindus. He, however, errs in clubbing sadhus and sanyasis with the sufis. While some sufis displayed their mystical behaviour, there is no evidence of them protesting against the desecration/destruction of Hindu-Buddhist temples or conversion of the ‘infidels’ to Islam. Many of them, in fact, had actively helped the Islamic imperialists.

Instead of writing on something which has already been dealt with, as Nevile has done, one should venture into virgin territories of the Raj. For instance, someone should undertake the story of the bungalows built by the British — from the sub-divisional, district headquarters to the palatial mansions for the Governors and Governor-Generals/Viceroys. In this connection, one may mention the wonderful biography of Edward Lutyens by his daughter, Mary Lutyens (1980), which moves between a description of the Edwardian society and the Raj-life in India, with emphasis on the emerging New Delhi. Philip Mason’s Shaft of Sunlight is another wonderful work on that theme pertaining to late colonial India.

The numerous dak bungalows, inspection bungalows and circuit houses — always strategically-located and well-furnished with the appropriate cutlery, complete with punkah-pullers and first-rate cooks in the colonial days — could be the subject matter of another interesting study. Similarly, there could be research on the so-called station clubs in the muffassil towns where local officials, planters and gentry met, drank and played tennis while drawing up the list of probable Rai Bahadurs, Rai Sahibs and the Khan Bahadurs!

There is scope for another book on the evolution of the cantonment towns and railway colonies, especially the well-known ones at Ambala, Kalka, Kanpur, Mughalserai, Danapur, Jamalpur, Chakradharpur, etc, which usually had a good number of Anglo-Indians. The quaint little Anglo-Indian township of Mccluskieganj, near Daltonganj, also calls for a chronicler who could tell the story of what was a sad relic of the Raj.

-- The reviewer is professor of history, University of Delhi

ramana
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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby ramana » 23 Feb 2011 07:29

Hamid Dabashi, Brown Skin, White Mask
Pluto | 2011 | ISBN 0745328741 | 174 Pages |

In this unprecedented study, Hamid Dabashi provides a critical examination of the role that immigrant 'comprador intellectuals' play in facilitating the global domination of American imperialism.In his pioneering book about the relationship between race and colonialism, "Black Skin, White Masks", Frantz Fanon explored the traumatic consequences of the sense of inferiority that colonized people felt, and how this often led them to identify with the ideology of the colonial agency. "Brown Skin, White Masks" picks up where Frantz Fanon left off. Dabashi extends Fanon's insights as they apply to today's world.Dabashi shows how intellectuals who migrate to the West are often used by the imperial power to inform on their home countries. Just as many Iraqi exiles were used to justify the invasion of Iraq, Dabashi demonstrates that this is a common phenomenon, and examines why and how so many immigrant intellectuals help to sustain imperialism.The book radically alters Edward Said's notion of the 'intellectual exile', in order to show the negative impact of intellectual migration. Dabashi examines the ideology of cultural superiority, and provides a passionate account of how these immigrant intellectuals - homeless compradors, and guns for hire - continue to betray any notion of home or country in order to manufacture consent for imperial projects.


Our desis in think tanks should think about this.

abhishek_sharma
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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby abhishek_sharma » 23 Feb 2011 15:07

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

http://www.ams.org/notices/201103/rtx110300427p.pdf

abhishek_sharma
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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

Postby abhishek_sharma » 24 Feb 2011 13:24



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