Automotive Holiday Deals Books Holiday Gift Guide Shop Women's Cyber Monday Deals Week Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Black Friday egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Grocery Gifts for Her Amazon Gift Card Offer mithc mithc mithc  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 Kindle Voyage R6 Siege Outdoor Deals on HTL
From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Buy New
  • List Price: $27.00
  • Save: $5.07 (19%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Temporarily out of stock.
Order now and we'll deliver when available.
Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item.
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
From the Ruins of Empire:... has been added to your Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia Hardcover – September 4, 2012

58 customer reviews

See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$21.60 $3.99

Best Books of the Year So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2015's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
$21.93 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item. Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia
  • +
  • An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the World
Total price: $38.93
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews


“History is sometimes a contest of narratives. Here Pankaj Mishra looks back on the 19th and 20th centuries through the work of three Asian thinkers: Jamal al-Din Afghani, Liang Qichao and Rabindranath Tagore. The story that emerges is quite different from that which most Western readers have come to accept. Enormously ambitious but thoroughly readable, this book is essential reading for everyone who is interested in the processes of change that have led to the emergence of today's Asia.” ―Amitav Ghosh, author of Sea of Poppies and River of Smoke

“With uncommon empathy, Mishra has excavated a range of ideas, existential debates, and spiritual struggles set in motion by Asia's rude collision with the West, leading to outcomes no one could have predicted but which, after his account, seem more comprehensible--and that is no mean achievement. Above all, Mishra sheds new light on an important part of our collective journey, the inner and outer turmoil we inhabited, the price we paid, and what we did to each other along the way. We might yet learn from it and redeem ourselves in some measure.” ―Namit Arora, 3 Quarks Daily

“After Edward Said's masterpiece Orientalism, From the Ruins of Empire offers another bracing view of the history of the modern world. Pankaj Mishra, a brilliant author of wide learning, takes us through, with his skillful and captivating narration, interlinked historical events across Japan, China, Turkey, Iran, India, Egypt, and Vietnam, opening up a fresh dialogue with and between such major Asian reformers, intellectuals, and revolutionaries as Liang Qichao, Tagore, Jamal al-din al-Afghani, and Sun Yatsen.” ―Wang Hui, author of China's New Order and The Rise of Modern Chinese Thought and Professor of Chinese Intellectual History at Tsinghua University, Beijing

“Pankaj Mishra has produced a riveting account that makes new and illuminating connections. He follows the intellectual trail of this contested history with both intelligence and moral clarity. In the end we realise that what we are holding in our hands is not only a deeply entertaining and deeply humane book, but a balance sheet of the nature and mentality of colonisation.” ―Hisham Matar

“Mishra's survey knowledgeably presents an intellectual history of anti-imperialism.” ―Booklist

“Subtle, erudite and entertaining.” ―The Economist

“Meticulous scholarship…..History, as Mishra insists, has been glossed and distorted by the conqueror….[This] passionate account of the relentless subjugation of Asian empires by European, especially British, imperialism, is provocative, shaming and convincing.” ―Michael Binyon, Times (London)

“Fascinating…a rich and genuinely thought-provoking book.” ―Noel Malcolm, Telegraph

“One can only be thankful for writers like Mishra. From The Ruins Of Empire is erudite, provocative, inspiring and unremittingly complex; a model kind of non-fiction for our disordered days….May well be seen in years to come as a defining volume of its kind.” ―Stuart Kelly, Scotsman

“Deeply researched and arrestingly original…this penetrating and disquieting book should be on the reading list of anybody who wants to understand where we are today.” ―John Gray, Independent

“Lively…Engaging…From the Ruins of Empire retains the power to instruct and even to shock. It provides us with an exciting glimpse of the vast and still largely unexplored terrain of anti-colonial thought that shaped so much of the post-western world in which we now live.” ―Mark Mazower, Financial Times

“Superb and ground-breaking. Not just a brilliant history of Asia, but a vital history for Asians.” ―Mohsin Hamid

“Mishra has no time at all for big, broad-brush accounts of western success contrasted with eastern hopelessness. Instead, he is preoccupied by the tragic moral ambivalence of his tale. . . From the Ruins of Empire gives eloquent voice to their curious, complex intellectual odysseys as they struggled to respond to the western challenge . . . Luminous details glimmer through these swaths of political and military history.” ―Julia Lovell, The Guardian

“[An] ambitious survey of the decline and fall of Western colonial empires and the rise of their successors. . . A highly readable and illuminating exploration of the way in which Asian, and Muslim countries in particular, have resented Western dominance and reacted against it with varying degrees of success.” ―The Tablet (UK)

From the Ruins of Empire jolts our historical imagination and suddenly places it on the right, though deeply repressed, axis. It is a book of vast and wondrous learning and delightful and surprising associations that will give a new meaning to a liberation geography. From close and careful readings of some mighty Asian intellectuals of the last two centuries who have rarely been placed in this creative and daring conversation with each other, Pankaj Mishra has discovered and revealed, against the grain of conventional and cliched bifurcations of 'The West and the Rest,' a continental shift in our historical consciousness that will define a whole new spectrum of critical thinking.” ―Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University

“In his brilliant new book Pankaj Mishra reverses the long gaze of the West upon the East, showing modern history as it has been felt by the majority of the world's population from Turkey to China. These are the amazing stories of the grandfathers of today's angry Asians. Excellent!” ―Orhan Pamuk

About the Author

Pankaj Mishra was born in India in 1969 and lives in London and Mashobra, India. The author of An End to Suffering (FSG, 2004) and Temptations of the West (FSG, 2006), as well as a novel, The Romantics, he writes for The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review, and The Guardian.


Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First American Edition edition (September 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374249598
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374249595
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #430,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By China Author Forum on September 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
"The West is becoming demoralized through being the exploiter, through tasting the fruits of exploitation. We must fight with our faith in the moral and spiritual power of men. We of the East have never reverenced death-dealing generals, nor lie-dealing diplomats, but spiritual leaders. Through them we shall be saved, or not at all. Physical power is not the strongest in the end... you are the most long lived race, because you have had centuries of wisdom nourished by your faith in goodness, not in mere strength." - Rabindranath Tagore, lecturing in Beijing in 1923

One of the ever-present scourges of expat life is arrogance. For many Westerners in Asian countries, even half a century after the collapse of colonialism, we retain a certain sense of moral superiority towards our hosts. We often feel their manners to be backwards; their habits of thought and social patterns keep them locked in a cycle of poverty; and that their own arrogance is holding them back from "truly" joining the modern (and by that we mean Western) world. Having lived nearly five years in Asia, I've often struggled to balance my own contrarian impulses, sympathy for Chinese (and other Asian) culture, and frustration with the less pleasant aspects of life here (as well as the ever-present temptation to make comparisons to my own place of origin) in the face of locals, both proud and self-hating, and other expatriates, both derisive and sympathetic. But until I read Pankaj Mishra's From the Ruins of Empire, I didn't realize just how deeply I'd failed to understand the Asian perspective on Western modernity, and just how that has skewed my entire outlook on the world.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Gderf on January 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent introduction to Asian history and political philosophy. It traces the decline of Muslim and Chinese political influence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Mishra explains the background for the intellectual and political awakening of Asia after the declines of the nineteenth century. It features the careers and political philosophy of the Persian Muslim, Jamal al-Din al-Afghani and the Chinese writer Liang Quichao. Also featured prominently is Indian poet and political philosopher, Rabindraneth Tagore. Mishra well describes how these protagonists influenced philosophical development of later principles Sun yat-sen, Gandhi, Nehru, Lenin, Mao, Ho Chi-min, Atatürk and others. A major theme is antipathy to the encroachments of Europeans in Asia, particularly the British. The book also depicts rising militant influence of Japan, starting with the Chino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese wars.

The book starts with a somewhat puzzling reference to battle of Tsushima Bay as inciting Western awareness of Asiatic power. W.E.B. Dubois announced a world wide eruption of colored pride. That idea is not adequately explained, but doesn't detract from the book's interest. We see the Muslim viewpoint in politics of Egypt, Persia, India and Turkey through the career and philosophy of Jamal al-Din al-Afghani. Missing is the 19th century Muslim view of modern trouble spots Bosnia and Palestine. Although al-Afghani is not classified as a terrorist his influence on Bin Laden and others is evidenced and it would have been interesting to see his views on early Arab reactions in what later became Palestine.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Trey Menefee on February 24, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Let me caveat the rest of what I write by saying that I've only gotten about a third through the book. Much of my critique might be found in the final chapters.

My priamry critique is that Mishra is in awe of centers and rather neglectful of peripheries. He's making a valid argument that a response to colonialism was the construction for the homogeneous, centralized, nation-states that could hold their own ground. I'm not yet finished with the book, but I'm hoping that he'll come back to a defense of an intellectual tradition of pre-modern Asian statecraft that had far less interest in direct-rule and interference in peripheries (Ottoman millet system; China's tributary system; 'padi states'). So far, there are no Uighurs, Tibetans, Visayans, Tanka, Hmong/Miao or anyone else that didn't lay the intellectual foundations for the modern Asian nation state power that eventually arose. It's a history of rising power told, I believe incorrectly, as a history of the subaltern. We are supposed to watch with awe as Chinese emperor's capture the steppes people and Japan beats Russia in colonizing Korea.

Mishra is right that the West-centric story of Asian modernity is insufficient. But Mishra is writing the intellectual history of the Ayatollah's, Mao's, Xi Jinping's, Aquino's, and Modi's. If we look a little harder, we'd also find a neglected local body of intellectual development that prizes diversity, autonomy, and political-cultural pluralism that could serve as an intellectual foundation for the politically frustrated youth and scholars in Hong Kong. Without this history, they're largely turning to 'Western' ideas, history, and scholarship to express their desires. So far, an American Yale professor who tends sheep between writing books and teaching classes in is one of the only scholars giving voice to this tradition.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews