India: A Wounded Civilization

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Apr 6, 2011 - History - 176 pages
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In 1975, at the height of Indira Gandhi’s “Emergency,” V. S. Naipaul returned to India, the country his ancestors had left one hundred years earlier. Out of that journey he produced this concise masterpiece: a vibrant, defiantly unsentimental portrait of a society traumatized by centuries of foreign conquest and immured in a mythic vision of its past.

Drawing on novels, news reports, political memoirs, and his own encounters with ordinary Indians–from a supercilious prince to an engineer constructing housing for Bombay’s homeless–Naipaul captures a vast, mysterious, and agonized continent inaccessible to foreigners and barely visible to its own people. He sees both the burgeoning space program and the 5,000 volunteers chanting mantras to purify a defiled temple; the feudal village autocrat and the Naxalite revolutionaries who combined Maoist rhetoric with ritual murder. Relentless in its vision, thrilling in the keenness of its prose, India: A Wounded Civilization is a work of astonishing insight and candor.

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Review: India: A Wounded Civilization

User Review  - Catherine - Goodreads

Read this while in India and shared many of Naipaul's sentiments as expressed in this book. Read full review


PART ONEA Wounded Civilization
1 An Old Equilibrium
2 The Shattering World
PART TWOA New Claim on the Land
3 The Skyscrapers and the Chawls
4 The House of Grain
PART THREENot Ideas but Obsessions
5 A Defect of Vision
6 Synthesis and Mimicry
7 Paradise Lost
8 Renaissance or Continuity

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About the author (2011)

V. S. Naipaul was born in Trinidad in 1932. He went to England on a scholarship in 1950. After four years at Oxford he began to write, and since then he has followed no other profession. He is the author of more than twenty books of fiction and nonfiction and the recipient of numerous honors, including the Nobel Prize in 2001, the Booker Prize in 1971, and a knighthood for services to literature in 1990. He lives in Wiltshire, England.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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