Thursday, June 23, 2011

In Spite of the Gods - Edward Luce

I have been wanting to write about this book for a while.  In fact I just want to quote about half of it right here, right now.  That's not practical and probably not legal.  This is the best book or article I've read on India so far.  Frankly that makes it hard for me to sum up.

It is written by a man that was or maybe still is the India correspondent for a British newspaper.  He also married an Indian.  This is all assuming I am remembering this correctly of course.  I have the luxury of just telling you my impressions and not getting any facts right.  Edward Luce on the other hand, has a lot of personal experience delightfully woven into what is a pretty academic analysis of modern India.  There are some anecdotes and the language seemed comfortable, but there is a lot of history and studies and religion and economic evaluation packed into this book.  I love it.

If you're planning to visit or move to India and have a similar mentality to me, this book provided a lot of wonderful insight into the cultural and political realities of India.  And it did so in a very positive way - or an objective way, I guess.  It is so easy to  get bogged down in the poverty and polution and corruption and communal violence and strangeness of it all.  I see this trend in my posts and the articles I list even though I like India.  That says more about me and a failure to emphasize the positive (without getting into all that spiritual mumbo jumbo, gag).  Luce talks about India's history and topical reality in a frank, open, interesting way.  Check it out.

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