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The Mughal Throne Paperback – February 5, 2004

4.0 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This meticulously researched book that recounts late medieval Indian history--from 1526 to 1707--is part of a four-volume study that will cover the history of India from the beginning up to 1858. Chronologically, this is the third volume, although it is the first to be published. The author describes in detail two of the many battles the Mughals fought and depicts the everyday life of the six rulers and the people, saying that his objective is "to portray life rather than merely to chronicle history." Eraly discusses the camp followers, civilians fleeing the approaching armies, and soldiers suffering from thirst and hunger as they cross deserts and snowbound mountain passes. He tells of elephants and beautiful women exchanged as spoils of war and recounts the rulers' taste in clothes, perfume, liquor, wine, tobacco, opium, and concubines. This account of the Mughal conquest of India is essential in understanding that period of history. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

This is a majesterial history covering six reigns of that larger-than-life empire... this paperback edition improves on the hardback with some full colour illustrations.

An entertaining and informative journey charting the rise of the Mughal dynasty while examining the lives, concerns and fascinations of the first six of the 11 Indian emperors... who each in their different way ruled with a ruthless, ego-driven aggression that helped preserve thrones, cities, artefacts and harems while advocating war, pillage and plunder.

An unashamedly old-fashioned narrative history of the Mughal Emperors.

Eraly's exhilarating saga of India's great emperors celebrates the last golden age of India, a great multicultural period of imperial achievement.

Fans of Starkey or Schama should now look east with Abraham Eraly... This edition improves on the hardback with a sumptuous selection of Mughal art.―BOYD TONKIN
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix (February 5, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753817586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753817582
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #339,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. A Newman VINE VOICE on May 18, 2007
This is a fascinating book involving a fascintating period in the history of India. During the heyday of Mughal rule, India was one of the world's leading civilizations. Here was an elite that ruled intelligently (at least at first), allowing Moslem and Hindu worship freely and equally and producing some of the great monuments of civilization, the Taj Mahal, the Red Fort, and the city constructed by one of the emperors, Akbar, Fatehpur Sikri.

The focus of the book is the emperors themselves. It begins with Babur, who came out of Central Asia, a descendent of Tamerlane, who established the dynasty in North India. Babur also wrote an autobiography which detailed the principle events of his life which makes fascinating reading even today (Modern Library has recently reissued it in paperback).

Babur was succeded by his son Humayun, who has to be one of the most unlucky rulers of the 16th century. There was the usual strife between him and his siblings (which became the standard way of doing business as time progressed) which undermined the stability of the throne. Humayan spent a lengthy period in Persia which had longstanding cultural implications for the Mughals.

Fortunately for the dynasty,during its exile Sher Khan, whose 5 year rule allowed for certain administrative reforms that allowed the restored Mughal dynasty a certain degree of financial independence and the resources to build the great monuments and to extend its control from the north of India down to south. Many historians have downplayed Sher Khan's legacy, but Eraly is quite thorough in addressing this point.

Humayan died of a freak accident while pursuing his hobby of astonomy.
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Arguably India's Golden Age, the near two-hundred years of the Mughal Empire from Babur to Aurangzeb was a time when the richest got richer, conquered and ruled SE Asia from Kabul to Konyakumari, built cities, forts, and fabulous tombs, lived fairly short lives, wept over trivialities, warred amongst themselves, blinded, maimed, and executed family members; and, after Aurangzeb, lost it all except in name.

"The Mughal Throne: The Saga of India's Great Emperors," is the first released third volume of a four part history of India, and though it is far from the definitive work on the Mughals it is a well written, and exciting saga - just what the title says it would be - a narrative that hits all the high points, and delves into just enough detail not to loose the casual historian or India-phile.

If you want to know India, especially Northern India, you must know the Mughals, and they're a family worth knowing. (If you like the Medici's, you'll love the Mughals.) Their reign was short in the scheme of Indian history, but stamped the country for all time.
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The Mughal Empire, an accidental empire with a tentative start by exiles from Central Asia in the medieval era, reached unprecedented heights in India, ended with a whimper in the British hands in the modern era. What makes the Mughal Empire so fascinating is because it’s still rather recent and familiar history but it’s also colorful people in an exotic land. This book gave a good review of the emperors who had a hand in shaping it. Like all empires, it was founded by an ambitious man and reached the zenith with charged energy. Then tradition calcified the system and corruption became entrenched. Soon decline began and, finally, it collapsed under its own weight.
It is difficult for a historian to be unbiased because personal preference always creeps in along with contemporary judgement. When a favorite personage used stratagem and would trust no one, he was prudent and wise. The same from a disliked personage would be treachery and paranoia. Flamboyant rulers are exciting so flaws are forgiven. Conservative rulers are boring so must be held accountable. When Akbar was lenient, he was magnanimous. When Aurangzeb did the same, he was weak. Fortunately, this book did a good job trying to balance the perspective and explain the differences between then and now. But there are still plenty of preaching from a modern point of view.
I give this book 5 stars because it is well researched and well written. It is a digest and a catalogue. Anyone interested in any of these emperors can then proceed to more specific history of the individual emperor because Mughal emperors were big at having biographies and haliographies of themselves.
Babur, the tiger cub descendant of Chingis and Tamerlane, spent most of his life running. Pushed out of Central Asia by the Uzbeks, he found a foothold in Kabul.
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The Mughal Throne is a well-researched, highly readable, extremely informative and detailed account of the great Mughal emperors from Babur through Aurangzeb. Abraham Eraly is a first-rate historian; he sets out his view of the historian's task in the erudite but readable "Preface" to the book. But not only is Eraly a first-rate historian - he is a first-rate storyteller, as well. Even the sections on military history (which I normally avoid) are written in a detailed but fascinating manner. I particularly like the way in which the various emperors' unique personalities come alive for the reader. The Mughal Throne is as engrossing and lively as any of the several historical novels set in Mughal times that I have recently read. I highly recommend this book not only for those interested in Islamic or Indian history, but for any tourist planning to visit Delhi, Agra, and/or Lahore. The many Mughal historical monuments in these cities will be enlivened for them because of their having read this excellent book.
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