From Publishers Weekly
A burgeoning economic and geopolitical giant, India has the 21st century stamped on it more visibly than any other nation after China and the U.S. It's been an expanding force since at least 1991, explains journalist Luce, when India let go of much of the protectionist apparatus devised under Nehru after independence in 1947 from Britain, as part of a philosophy of swadeshi
(or self-reliance) that's still relevant in India's multiparty democracy. From his vantage as the (now former) Financial Times
's South Asia bureau chief, Luce illuminates the drastically lopsided features of a nuclear power still burdened by mass poverty and illiteracy, which he links in part to government control of the economy, an overwhelmingly rural landscape, and deep-seated institutional corruption. While describing religion's complex role in Indian society, Luce emphasizes an extremely heterogeneous country with a growing consumerist culture, a geographically uneven labor force and an enduring caste system. This lively account includes a sharp assessment of U.S. promotion of India as a countervailing force to China in a three-power "triangular dance," and generally sets a high standard for breadth, clarity and discernment in wrestling with the global implications of New India. (Jan.)
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Reporting from India in recent years for the British newspaper Financial Times
, Luce distills from his experiences this assessment of the country's social, economic, and international situation. Against the theme of India's anticipated ascent into the top tier of world powers, Luce sorts through facts of life that both promote and hinder that future, namely, its booming economy and the deep destitution of most of its people. Built on interviews with people from the top of politics and business to those from society's bottom rungs, Luce's presentation covers the breadth of India's billion-plus populace and its experience of economic improvement. Progress is spotty, however, and in addition to widespread poverty, it is hampered by pervasive corruption. As for caste and ethnic communalism, Luce's observations encompass both their continuing influence as social identifiers and their erosion under the forces of consumerism and relative upward mobility. Luce will accessibly acquaint readers interested in India with the country's salient contemporary aspects, from Bollywood to nuclear weapons. Gilbert TaylorCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved