Michael Wood weaves a spellbinding narrative out of the 10,000-year history of India. Home today to more than a fifth of the world's population, the subcontinent gave birth to the oldest and most influential civilization on Earth, to four world religions, and to the world's largest democracy. Now, as India bids to become a global giant, Michael sets out to trace the roots of India's present in the incredible riches of her past.
©2007 Michael Wood; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
Once you realize that this is a "story" and not a "history" of India it goes along quite well. It is the story told through a combination of references to India's ancient literature, archaeology, interviews and a bit of scholarly writing. It took me a while to get my head around the fact that I wasn't listening to what I would strictly call a history book, but it was a good introduction to a subject that I knew nothing about--and now know a bit more about.
This is one of my all time favorites. I started with the audiobook, then bought the paperback and the DVD set! Michael Wood's tremendous enthusiasm for the subject and the narrator's delightful British accent and perfect pronunciation of Indian names and places adds to the trip like a wonderful guide adds to a real journey. Considering that India will soon be the most populated country on Earth and will soon surpass the GDP of the US, it behooves all of us to know more about the subcontinent. This is so much more than a litany of facts; it is exuberant with the colors, tastes, smells, gardens and incredible longevity of this fascinating country's history. Pure joy from start to finish; now I must save money to go there myself and visit the places mentioned in the book. But if I never make it there, this is surely the next best thing!
This is really about the history of India. It's not a travelogue. I bought it in preparation for our trip to India and it was not exactly what I had in mind. But it is a very well written book and it's fun to listen to. I'll probably give it another try (I stopped 3/4 of the way through) now that we're back and I have some context for it.
A compelling and entertaining compilation of history, geography, geology, genetics, anthropology, religion and linguists. Reaches back to the beginning of modern man and reaches forward to the end of the Raj. Depth and breadth, beauty and horror. A great survey of the sub-continent.
I agree with the previous reviewer, this is a wonderful piece of work for someone interested in the history of India. The DVD is also exceptionally well done. It is colorful and very interesting and engaging, covering spiritual and political aspects. India is a fascinating country and this is a great overview. It is educational without being boring -- Michael Wood does such a good job. I've listened to it several times and enjoyed it each time.
All in all, an listening excellent choice for non-fiction.
Yes, I would recommend the book. The author has subtly intertwined the past as well as the present of India with perfection. It takes us on a journey called INDIA, painting the canvas with its rich history & enlightening the reader with the diverse aspects of the nation and finally closing the masterpiece with the present.
It a great work, which makes the reader (or listener) well acquainted with the history, culture & the political situation of India both in the past as well as the present.
The exploration of the Indian political scenario at the time of Independence & the secret delicate affairs of the fore-front Indian leaders. In addition, the author has also appropriately analyzed the current sociopolitical situation of India in the new millennium.
Sam Dastor's voice modulation along with appropriate emotional touches at the right places, has made the listening pure joy.
Many such moments...
I would recommend this book to those persons who have a passion for World History or interested in India.
Great narration and some interesting stories, but very difficult to follow the chronology and geography. Perhaps this is an audio book where you just need an ancient map at your side to really follow what the author is saying.
The story of India has many fascinating elements; however, this version is not so successful as an audio book. I read history all the time and accept that I will miss 20-30% of the information. In this case it was more like 75-80%. If, like me, you are a novice in Indian history and culture, I suspect you will also be frantically consulting maps and Google to fill in the gaps. He skips around the country with few markers and introduces new names with insufficient context or backstory.
The story/history of this subcontinent is too little known (by me, at least) and deserves much more attention. I do not doubt Michael Woods' expertise and he is a well-known populizer in Britain on historical subjects (like Ken Burns in the US), but he demands more pre-knowledge of the geography and history than I possess. Perhaps Britains have more knowledge of this former colony.
In general, I found him a good presenter. He certainly seemed to be comfortable with people and place names. I found his Indian and American accents annoying and stereotypical. Do all Indians speak alike, regardless of region or class? He certainly seems to have only one accent for all Americans.
Definitely should be a TV miniseries. I've seen his series on China, and it was very good. This book would definitely improve with visuals of all the antiquities he describes, all the locations I've never seen and all the map points with which I am unfamiliar. .
This was disappointing. I feel I still need to read a comprehensive history of India. This was not that.
This is a lovingly told overview of India’s history, touching on the interactions of geography, geology and cultures. As with all good introductions, it leaves you wanting more.
We saw his Zambezi Express on TV (1980) and fell in love with it. Now this in 2016! Only Sam Dastor could have read this for us and 'get it'. An absolute triumph. I was so disappointed with the reading of William Dalrymple's Nine Lives. If only Sam Dastor had a hand in that. Both writers would be on my 'desert island discs', but after two years I still haven't finished Nine Lives, it is so poorly read, contrived even.
"The Story of India"
Unlike other listeners I didn't find anything wrong with the narration. The book itself is quite "difficult" and perhaps those who come to it from the TV series will be disappointed.
"I wanted to learn where India came from and I did"
I wanted to learn where India came from and I learned that and a lot more with it.
I also loved the reader.
"Good book, stupefying reader"
This book would be as interesting as the TV series it accompanies if it weren't read by someone who sounds like an elderly teacher dragging his way wearily through course material that he's been reading out for the last 10 years to classes who'd rather be anywhere else.
There is definitely a great amount of research gone into this book to present India from the very early stages. Worth a read if you are interested in learning about different places or in history. This definitely worth a read if you are from Indian Subcontinent (India,Pakisthan, Srilanka & Afghanisthan). Gives a good amount f pride in the subcontinent..
"India, look elsewhere!"
I had this as a present on CD, I have an interest in history and was looking forward to hearing "The Story of India".
I regret to say that 6 months on I only listened for half an hour, the narrators voice is boring and flat, which is a shame because I would really like to listen to the history of India. Perhaps one day someone else will record this potentially interesting saga and bring it to life, as is justly deserves.
A great book about the history of India and a great accompaniment to a trip there. It could have been a little more clear in marking out who historical figures were and what the really big events in history were but if you listen closely you can get an interesting insight.
A colourful journey through the rich tapestry of Indian history. An especially good listen for travellers wanting to deepen their knowledge about the events that shape the landscape of today.
"Fascinating historical journey through India"
On the whole, I really enjoyed the content of this audio book - it was both educational and captivating. Michael Wood presents a rich, well-researched and colourful epic history of this vast country and clearly knows his subject matter.
However, I felt at times that the audio book did not make the best use of the sound medium and could have been improved in the following ways:
1. Maybe Michael could have introduced the audio book. This would have added a lot more weight and credibility to the recording.
2. In my opinion, the narrator Sam Dastor's expressive performance would have benefited from an additional Indian voice actor reading those parts of the text that required a native Indian accent.
3. With the introduction of some music clips and sound effects - maybe sourced from the excellent and celebrated BBC TV series? This would have greatly enhanced the otherwise excellent narration.
"Challenging but well worth it"
Not an easy listen in places. It demands your full attention and plenty of concentration during certain sections. However I feel it was well worth the effort as I had much satisfaction from the beautiful insight and description of an author who knows his subject very well.
This is a highly detailed history of India, concentrating on the earliest and most ancient periods. The author is passionate, knowledgeable and enthusiastic about his subject and therein lies the problem. It is like listening to a university lecture by a professor on a subject with which you are not familiar. Expect dense and complex prose mingled with foreign names and theological discussion. It's not that this is not necessary to the story, it's more that the author doesn't know how to tell a story in a manner that engages. It may be that the TV series, with accompanying images was clearer?
I didn't fully appreciate at time of purchase that this was a BBC related book. It is, so expect the usual BBC sponsored anti-British sub-text. I'm no apologist for Empire, but the level of venom reserved for every aspect of the Raj period is embarrassing and more related, one suspects, to the authors personal views. The 200 year period of British rule and influence was neither the best not the worst thing that has happened to India, but you might not know that from listening to this book.
Hire a professional author to take his work and make it more accessible.
No. It's like listening to the late Brian Sewell reading to you. Pedantic phrasing and a cut-glass accent combine to irritate the listener. Think Noel Coward without the wit. He might have got away with it if reading a different book, but put in tandem with this author? Big mistake.
Disappointment. It requires real effort to complete.
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