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Publisher's Summary

Over 5,000 years, India has been home to a rich tapestry of peoples and cultures. Two of the world's great religions - Hinduism and Buddhism - have their origins in South Asia, and the lands east of the Indus River have long been a central hub for trade, migration, and cultural exchange. Today the subcontinent contains 20 percent of the world's population and is a thriving center for global business, making this region one of most significant economic powerhouses in the world.

Go inside this thrilling story with A History of India, a breathtaking survey of South Asia from its earliest societies along the Indus and Ganges rivers through the modern challenges of the 21st century. These 36 sweeping lectures enable you to understand the epic scope of the subcontinent's history. Perhaps the most important facet of this history is how diverse the region truly is. Roughly the size of continental Europe, India - along with its neighbors, Pakistan and Bangladesh - contains a myriad of ethnic groups, socioeconomic classes, religions, and cultural mores.

In this wide-ranging investigation, you'll:

  • Meet the many religious communities that have coexisted in India, including Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians
  • Delve into the legacies of the Mauryan Empire, the Mughal Empire, and British colonialism - three of the few governments that ever unified the subcontinent
  • Witness the fight for independence from European powers and the partition of the region into the countries of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh in the 20th century
  • Consider the challenges and opportunities faced by this area today, from expanding urbanization to the vast need for energy sources to the ongoing heated debates about national identity

Professor Fisher, who has traveled and taught in South Asia for decades, reveals this complex narrative with skill and compelling insights.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2016 The Great Courses (P)2016 The Teaching Company, LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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More like a book than a college course

The content is great, thorough, and balanced. If it were a book, a professional reader would have done a bit better job. If I had purchased a book, I would be very happy with it.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Brief history of India

Could be told in a more exciting manner. At times it gets tedious. But the story itself is fascinating

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Disappointing but informative.

This audiobook was an in-depth history of the politics and rulers of India, but included little to no history of the people of the region. Also, the narration was awkward and stilted- almost as though he was reading from text

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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For beginners only

This is the first book I've ever returned on Audible. I find the book a bit superficial and does not take the trouble of delving deep. The content is biased towards source material that is easily available. Not enough research into the golden age, the early part of the first millenium. Nor into what makes Indian civilization unique. The content seems mainly a recant of events with not much insight. The professor many a times swallows up a part of the name rather rather than take the trouble of proper pronunciation. In a country where the vedas had been passed on verbally for hundreds of years, there is special emphasis on pronunciation. Lack of attention on this front indicates insufficient research in other areas.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Too much anthropological pedantry

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Less focus on anthropological pedantry and more focus on the richness and beauty of India and Indian history. While other lecturers for the Great Courses (Profs. Dorsey Armstrong, Kenneth Harl and Philip Daileader come to mind) make their subjects come alive through their enthusiastic storytelling, Prof. Fisher's insistence of focusing on anthropological theory and terminology (the words "emic" and "etic" must be some of the most frequently occurring; I don't think they are absent from one lecture at least until the last 3 hours of the course) instead of telling the story of India, results in a dry and uninspiring delivery. Which is truly a feat, since India has no shortage of material to draw on for an entertaining, enriching and inspiring story. I see it somewhat analogous to an Italian restaurant somehow getting basics like pizza and spaghetti bolognese wrong - it's possible...I guess..., but they'd have to try pretty hard.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Professor Michael Fisher can pronounce Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan like a local.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Comprehensive and Informative

I am glad that I opted for this book in audible. it is a comprehensive book about Indian History and I found myself that how unaware I was of many important aspects of this great country. I would recommend this to anyone who take deep interest in knowing, talking and debating about culture and history of India. We often are biased because of lack of information. This will help in removing those biases.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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dry dry dry!

this course was very hard to finish. I found the facts interesting, but the presentation was very dry.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Terrible reading ruins the value.

I was hoping to get a good immersion in India's history before an upcoming trip. Alas, while the prof clearly knows his material, his dry, sometimes halting reading of his notes made it almost impossible to listen for more than a few minutes at a time. Some of The Great Courses are presented, rather than dryly read, but this one's a real snore. I really can't say I got much from it after pushing myself through all those hours of listening.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Ended up on Wikipedia

First half is immensely boring and all about religion, but still I had no clue why Indians eventually chose induism over budhism, had to read it on Wikipedia. From 19th century on one may learn something of the history of India then that is quite interesting and rewarding.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Quite Good & Much Interesting information

What does Professor Michael H. Fisher bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

took a bit to get used to his accent or way of talking...as he sounds a little like Bill Gates . However the professor obviously is quite knowledgeable of India and related quite well much interesting information about India .

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I don't think I could do it all in one sitting...it takes time to understand fully what has been related.

Any additional comments?

Highly Recommend if are interested in India and general World History!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Adisha
  • 05-22-16

An outstanding, epic and memorable lecture series!

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this excellent lecture series. It is very clear from the outset that Professor Michael H. Fisher speaks with a wealth of personal experience and his knowledge about the history and development of this vast country is second-to-none.

There are 36 lectures in total, each one logically flows one after the other, and is packed full of fascinating details, vivid descriptions, anecdotes and biographical notes about key events and people that helped influence the country. No stone is left unturned and some very difficult subject matter (e.g socio-economic, cultural, ethnic, religious, environmental and political aspects) are expertly and sensitively covered.

In fact, I would love to hear a similar account of other SE Asian neighbouring countries such as the pearl of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka.

A joy to listen to and a wonderful addition to my audiobook library indeed!
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark Roberts
  • 03-15-17

Too much for one course

So I was interested in this book as my wife's parents are Indian and I wanted to understand more of their culture and heritage.
I feel like this course tried to bite off way more than it could chew. It glazed over so many different subjects giving a half hour lecture at most to any key point or figure. I feel as though you could have a great courses series on any of these topics, Hinduism, the Mongul Empire, British Colonialism, Mahatma Gandhi, the partition. All of these are touched on but none of them explored.
The course lecturer is clearly very knowledgeable of his subject and one you feel that he understands in part from personal experience, however I was left feeling as though this should be an overview for other modules and not a course in and of itself.
If you want a Potted History of India then look no further, for an insight into India and what has shaped it you will need to look elsewhere.

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  • Mr. Acapella
  • 08-11-16

On the dry side ...

Prof. Fisher has a pleasant voice and style of delivery. Clearly he knows his subject inside out and India seems very dear to him. But. The lectures themselves consist principally of painstaking detail that forms a rather monotonous picture. Infact a few real pictures of what he's describing would liven things up. These lectures could well serve as a useful revision on various aspects of India to someone already familiar with what should be a fascinating subject. Yes, don't think I'll get much further with this series. At least for now. Sorry Prof.

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  • Ibrahim955
  • 03-06-17

Very skewed history

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I would make it objective in that it should give the Islam its true place in the history of India. I would have selected more important Muslim leaders than the maniac heretic Akbar and his family. Even when evaluating Pakistan and Bangladesh countries he was skewed in his judgement towards the non-Muslim India.

Has A History of India put you off other books in this genre?

No. Only put me off from reading to this author

If this book were a film would you go see it?

No

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • chris
  • 07-28-17

Real tiltle history of pakistan and islam is great

Absolutely appalling, this is a social justice lecture. To save your money I'll break it down for you, 60% pakistan history and how great the muslim invasions were, 30% how terrible and racist Britain is, 10% ancient history of India, two paragraphs on the formation and history of Sikhs (not joking), and the rest a brief history of 20th century indian politics. that's it.... you're welcome

1 of 1 people found this review helpful