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Misremembered as a placid imperial bastion during WWII, India was in fact racked by famine and insurrection, according to this searching history. Mukerjee (The Land of Naked People) surveys a country seething with violence, as Congress Party militants agitating for independence turned to rioting and assassination campaigns after bloody police crackdowns, and an army of Indian guerrillas fought alongside the Japanese against the British. The author's centerpiece is a chronicle of the 1943 Bengali famine, in which at least 1.5 million died while British authorities continued exporting Indian grain. She blames the disaster on British policy, which, she argues, sought to extract as much war production and food as possible from India while printing money to pay for it; the resulting inflation priced food beyond the reach of the poor. Mukerjee sets her well-researched chronicle amid heartbreaking scenes of starvation, bloodshed, and pungent portraits of Winston Churchill and his advisers as studies in racial disdain and deluded imperial nostalgia. This gripping account of a historical tragedy is a useful corrective to fashionable theories of benign imperial rule, arguing that a brutal rapaciousness was the very soul of the Raj. Maps.
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New York Review of Books
“Mukerjee not only writes well, she writes from a point of view that most Bengalis and many Indians would share…her book should be welcomed as a serious attempt to deal in all its aspects with a neglected catastrophe in an era of catastrophes piled grotesquely one on top of another.”
As the British did screw the Irish for 900 years with mercantilst policies so did they screw India.Published 18 days ago by cinejevu
This is a very carefully researched book. It is written with academic clarity and will serve as a reference for future scholars. I look forward to reading her next work.Published 5 months ago by ranga
A well-written carefully researched study of a highhly unpopular topic -- Churchill, a man of magnificent qualities in time of war was also brutal and openlly racist. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Kairos
In the Western world, Churchill is regarded as one of the great heroes of his time. In India he is widely detested, regarded as an arch-colonialist and racist("I hate Indians. Read morePublished on August 11, 2013 by Aaron
This thoroughly-documented work reveals Churchill's (and Britain's) consistently genocidal attitude toward its then-colony of India. Read morePublished on June 27, 2013 by Chris Fogarty