The Anarchy
  • The Anarchy
  • The Anarchy
ISBN: 1635573955
EAN13: 9781635573954
Language: English
Release Date: Sep 10, 2019
Pages: 528
Dimensions: 2" H x 9.25" L x 6.12" W
Weight: 1.737243 lbs.
Format: Hardcover
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Book Overview

Finalist for the Cundill History Prize

ONE OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA'S FAVORITE BOKS OF THE YEAR

NAMED A BEST BOK OF THE YEAR BY The Wall Street Journal and NPR

Superb . A vivid and richly detailed story . worth reading by everyone. --The New York Times Book Review

From the bestselling author of Return of a King, the story of how the East India Company took over large swaths of Asia, and the devastating results of the corporation running a country.

In August 1765, the East India Company defeated the young Mughal emperor and set up, in his place, a government run by English traders who collected taxes through means of a private army.

The creation of this new government marked the moment that the East India Company ceased to be a conventional company and became something much more unusual: an international corporation transformed into an aggressive colonial power. Over the course of the next 47 years, the company's reach grew until almost all of India south of Delhi was effectively ruled from a boardroom in the city of London.

The Anarchy tells one of history's most remarkable stories: how the Mughal Empire--which dominated world trade and manufacturing and possessed almost unlimited resources--fell apart and was replaced by a multinational corporation based thousands of miles Read More chevron_right

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Book Reviews (8)

4
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3
   Too many battles, too little perspective
I'm guessing that I was led astray by the subtitle and I've always imagined that it would be primarily about the EIC. But really, the book deals with the century or so of Indian civil wars, which eventually led to the victory of the EIC. In trying to make the narrative lively, the author goes into a flurry of details about the various characters and battles that take place. If you are into this book, you will love it. For example, nowehere do you find an analysis of the profitability of the EIC. After finishing the book, I have only the vaguest notion of what the company was trading in and how it was conducting its business. But you will end up knowing a lot about Shah Alam's palace or Tipu Sultantan's predicament.
 
1
   Painfully poor editing
I suspect that most people who give these high marks do so because of the subject and the size of the volume, not the text itself. The maps are a joke because they don't show many place names mentioned in the text. To make up for this lack, apparently every mention of currency is footnoted with the modern equivalent, a distraction that could easily have been dealt with through a conversion table in the back. All said, it makes an elegant door stop.
 
5
   At Last a complete history of the East India Company.
For years, I have searched for a book that relates to the comprehensive history of the East India Company. I was particularly interested in finding out how much wealth it extracted from India, of course I knew it was enough to give India the jewel in the crown, but I could never find the actual figures. Stumbling upon President Obama's list of books he had read in 2019, I noticed The Anarchy, by William Dalrymple, described as a history of the East India Company. This book was the complete history of the EIC that I had been searching for all those years. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for such a history.
 
3
   Not worth the tome or price
History is an unbiased aggregation of the facts. William Dalrymple has a franchise on the 18th century India, mix of opinion, experience part travelogue, part of Anecdote. Anarchy would have been a good book if there was less Dalrymple involved ; he is not reporting facts, but castigating the East India Company. In order to please his audiences in India, he may have to choose a different approach.
 
4
   Quite good
This was very much enjoyed. Well-known and well-researched. I highly recommend it. The only negative is that it's poorly flown. Such that I was never quite sure what was the scope of the work or where it would go next. After several pages of detail about a short period of time, you would find a few generalising statements that seemed to cover the next 50 years or whatever if history was perfectly normal. But then it would be delve into a more detailed description of the next year or a previous event with different actors. Strange that criticisms sometimes seem to take more words than praise, but seems almost to be true. Despite the relative word count, this was an excellent read and I enjoyed it, my first exposure to the history of the EITC and the conquest of India.
 
5
   Corporate takeover the Koch brothers would be proud of
A reviewer said that the author is part historian, part journalist, part sociologist and that is the best way to summarize the writing. I could say columnist instead. I had always been curious how the British conquered India, with so few troops, and was even more surprised when I learned it was a corporation, not a kingdom, that conquered India. I plead guilty at times to skimming parts of the book -- the various conflicts between various Indian rulerswarlords began to blur together at a time, as another semi-insane son was captured by some external warlord... But the book's main themes and stories I find very compelling. We have Enron, Facebook, Google, and Amazon -- similarly unregulated companies that have also decided to rule the world for the benefit of the very few.
 
5
   A Brilliant Masterpiece
Book is a well researched book on the East India Company and India. Rarely comes a history book that reads like a fast-paced thriller.
 
4
   Raj Inc.
Honestly, I am a little disappointed in this book by William Dalrymple, because he is a favorite author and I feel like the history of the East India Company was the perfect subject for him. Dalrymple writes vivid, moving and colorful histories of the Indian subcontinent, and I thought his idea here was that the East India Company represents the prototype of an unregulated corporation that runs amok, one laden with implications for the present. The epilogue fleshes this idea quite nicely, and I thought the book would be a hybrid of sorts, with history, political analysis and cultural insights that Dalrymple does quite well. But for most part of the book is a quite detailed military history of the region and times. It was not as good as I expected from this author. I do recommend Dalrymple to anyone with an interest in the region and time, but I don 't feel that this was his best.
 
1