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Publisher's Summary

A companion to the major six-part BBC TV series, written by Michael Wood and read by Sam Dastor.

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.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall

It's a story not a history

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.

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

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  • A. Baker
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 11-20-11

Very Thorough

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.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Susan
  • Fairbanks, AK, United States
  • 07-24-09

Fabulous, sweeping journey through India's history

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!

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Way beyond dates and facts!

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.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • CB
  • 07-27-09


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.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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An Execellent Analysis of India

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

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.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Story of India?

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.

What does Sam Dastor bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Sam Dastor's voice modulation along with appropriate emotional touches at the right places, has made the listening pure joy.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Many such moments...

Any additional comments?

I would recommend this book to those persons who have a passion for World History or interested in India.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Andy
  • Westport, CT, United States
  • 01-20-11

scattered, before coming together at the end

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.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

See the TV show instead

What did you like best about The Story of India? What did you like least?

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.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

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.

What about Sam Dastor’s performance did you like?

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.

Could you see The Story of India being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

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. .

Any additional comments?

This was disappointing. I feel I still need to read a comprehensive history of India. This was not that.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Roger
  • South Orange, NJ, United States
  • 08-09-10


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.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Will H.
  • Truro, MA United States
  • 12-25-17

Fascinating, but mis-chaptered.

Lots of great information, well written and performed, but the audible chapter stops have no relation to the actual chapters of the book, which is very odd.

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  • Overall
  • Andrew
  • 02-23-10

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Paul McAviney
  • 04-19-15

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.
Thank You

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Philadelphus
  • 12-28-07

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.

24 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Laks
  • 04-03-11

Good one

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..

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • PeterB - MK
  • 06-05-09

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.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Ad
  • 01-09-17

Fascinating read

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Hayley
  • 05-03-15

Absolutely fascinating

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Adisha
  • 12-23-12

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • 08-31-17

wring title

if anyone would like to listen to a collection of hindu myths, read this book.

not what i was looking for. i was hoping it would focus on the politics, landscape, recources; way of life etc. of the region.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-27-17

Neat holistic presentation

Decently captured the true abyss of intrigue surrounding a complex culture dating back to thousands of years.

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  • dave
  • 04-15-16

The story of India

Another excellent history from Michael Wood. I've ready just about all of Wood's historical books and each one has proved highly entertaijing as well as more than just interesting.
Sam Dastor's reading of this history is excellent too. As an Indian born actor he has the brilliant ability to impart believable but subtley different character to the voices of people quoted in the book. This definitely improved the telling. He has a wonderful mellifluous dark voice. Great choice of reader
Thoroughly recommended

1 of 1 people found this review helpful