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The Baburnama: Memoirs of Babur, Prince and Emperor (Modern Library Classics) Paperback – September 10, 2002


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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library Classics
  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; Modern Library Pbk. Ed edition (September 10, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375761373
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375761379
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #299,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur was the first Mughal, or Mongol, emperor of India. A devoted warrior who fought by the bloodthirsty standards of his time, Babur was also a gifted scholar and ethnographer, and his memoir, The Baburnama--which translator and editor Wheeler Thackston heralds as the first autobiography in Islamic literature--paints a fascinating portrait of the lands he conquered, such as Hindustan: "A strange country. Compared to ours, it is another world. Its mountains, rivers, forests, and wildernesses, its villages and provinces, animals and plants, peoples and languages, even its rain and winds are altogether different." They were different indeed, and we're fortunate to have this beautifully illustrated record of Babur's wonderment at the new places he saw. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Thackston's work is the first English translation in 70 years of Babur's candid 16th-century autobiography?the earliest known autobiography in Islamic literature. Babur, one of the most significant figures in Indo-Islamic history, was descended from Timur (known in the West as Tamerlane). During the 15th century, Timurid influence on eastern Islamic art and architecture was incalculable. Driven from Timurid lands in eastern Iran and central Asia, Babur established a new domain in northern India. One of Babur's Mogul descendants would build the Taj Majal. Thackston's richly illustrated translation is extremely readable and straightforward; it captures the spirit of one of the most attractive figures in Islamic history. Highly recommended for academic libraries and for larger public libraries with reader interest in this area.?Robert Andrews, Duluth P.L., Minn.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Anyone interested in history needs to read this book.
N. Mozahem
Even if you are not normally interested in this type of book, Babur leads you into his world and you are compelled to read on!
vivzs
The memories of King Türks Babur are wonderfull!
suzan cataloluk

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By N. Clarke on October 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
Babur, a descendant of both Timur and Genghis Khan, was a truly remarkable man: a soldier and a poet, an inspirational leader with a deep appreciation for the beauties of nature - and a sensitivity that seems striking to us in a warrior of his undoubted stature.
His memoirs are a detailed, entertaining, and highly personal view of a changing world. In leading his followers into northern India, he laid the groundwork for the Mughal Empire, one of the great Islamic powers of the early modern period - and it is this achievement that history primarily remembers him for. Yet the _Baburnama_ shows that there is considerably more to the story than its conclusion.
With unstinting and engaging honesty, Babur talks of his early struggles, his constant setbacks, and his lifelong desire to hold Samarkand, glorious seat of his ancestor Timur (Tamerlane). For Babur, India is only the consolation prize after his failure to reconquer the lands of his birthright; India is rich, yes, astoundingly so, but it is far removed from his fond reminiscences of home. Along the way, reports of skirmishes with his enemies, and the constant betrayals of his allies, share the page with descriptions of local flora and fauna, and fascinating observations on everyday life in the cities and towns that he spends time at - and it is here that the work's true enjoyment lies.
Bear with the initially confusing internecine squabbles of the Central Asian nomads, and you'll be richly rewarded. A comprehensive and compelling insight into both Central Asia at the turn of the sixteenth century, and the day-to-day pressures inherent in the leadership of an empire based on conquest.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
In this book we read the thoughts of a man who lived more than 400 years ago and was the founder of one of the great empires of the world. It is remarkable that he found the time to write in so much detail about his experiences yet being so busy defending and building an empire all his life starting from the time he became a king at the age of tweleve. Never before or since do we get such an intimate glimpse at what it means to be a king. It is refreshing to read it today as it must have been then.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By vivzs on September 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Babur was a king in the true sense of the word. His autobiography outlines his feirceness as a warrior as well as his compassion toward the people in his court. Although he lived in a time where one would think there would be little time for introspection, this is exactely what his narrative is: and introspective look at his own life, his shortcomings, his downfalls, his triumphs and tragedies. One is touched by Babur's humbleness, his sensitivity towards some of the most simple of things, and at his sense of awe and appreciation of beauty in the world around him. Although in some ways I prefered the AS Beveridge translation, this is also a wonderful translation with beautiful pictures and notes in the margins to help explain things. Even if you are not normally interested in this type of book, Babur leads you into his world and you are compelled to read on!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Steve on November 28, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I would compare this extraordinary memoir by an extraordinary man to The Tale of Genji - both of them are "firsts" in their culture. The descendants of Tamerlane were both ruthlessly crafty Central Asian kings and warriors, and ultra refined conoisseurs of art and architecture, poetry, food, gardens, and (alas for them) wine. The Baburnama has it all. To encounter the private thoughts of a great conquerer is a unique experience. The Baburnama is well-written and well translated. It is one of the great treasures of literature, and will give the reader a much better idea why Afghanistan and Central Asia are the way they are.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Osman Din on January 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
The book itself is excellent.

I had problems with Salman Rushdie's preface, however. It is not a bad introduction, but some of his comments seem to be flawed. The writer explains the contradictory aspect of Babur's psychology (both ruthless/aggressive and soft/cultured) as the outcome of two conflicting "aspects" within Islam. Mr Rushdie does not explain how he arrives at this conclusion, however, and he fails to mention the possibility that Babur's aggression might have naturally stemmed from his Mongol background & warrior instincts. In addition, in the 2nd last paragraph, Rushdie seems to contradict himself when he compares Babur to Machiavelli: "In both men, a cold appreciation of the necessities of power, of what today would be called realpolitik, is combined with deeply cultured and literary nature, not to mention the love, of excess, of wine and women."
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By N. Mozahem on August 19, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is very interesting to read history through the eyes of those who make it. What is more interesting is to read what they are thinking at the time. This is a very important book that is extremely detailed. The author describes his ememies, friends, family, cities, climates, animals and even fruits. Anyone interested in history needs to read this book. I gave it four stars instead of five because at some points the author goes into great detail and loses the reader on the way. He gives too many names (which all sound a like). The book starts off slow, but gets better with time. The climax is when the author reaches India. In my opinion his description of the fruits and lanscape in India is amazing.
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