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Rikki-Tikki-Tavi Paperback – January 6, 2012
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I wrote my thesis about Kipling about twenty years later.
My mother apologized, particularly because I had to buy a whole set of Kipling again. It wasn't cheap.
So I have loved the Jungle Books since I was five, and I'm 71 now. When I found these on Kindle, I instantly downloaded them, so they would be available for my next trip to the hospital. The grandchildren don't have Kindles, so I can't give them this set. When I'm able to get out and about, I look for books for them that I loved as a child. The oldest granddaughter got the Jungle Books several years ago, and went through them in a week. Their parents have asked us to give them books as gifts whenever possible. We do. And Kipling is high on the list.
His work will be honored for centuries to come.
The seller of this beautiful work has my genuine gratitude.
The majority of the stories involve social relations among the British residents of India; a small mostly middle class population where nearly everyone knows nearly everyone else. In this sense they are stories not unlike stories about the goings on in a country village. Foolish young men and women (not always so foolish) are common. Relations between British persons and Indians ("natives") occur only in a handful of the tales but those are some of the deeper ones. Even some of "young lieutenant smitten by pretty girl" category have more depth than immediately apparent.
The world in which the stories take place is set during the period 1860-1870. In this world there is a small population of soldiers, merchants and bureaucrats living in a land far distant (in culture, language and history not just miles) where they are charged with ruling and managing a population 100 times the size of their own. These people have "come out" to India are middle class who believe their opportunities for advancement and/or wealth (and sometime just a decent job) are greater here than back home. (Aside: this would not be a bad starting premise for a SyFy story.)
Kipling was born Bombay and although he also lived much of his childhood back in Britain he is writing about the world he knows. I suggest reading these stories with the Wikipedia close at hand. There are quite a few terms unfamiliar to a reader in 2016, and maybe unfamiliar to a reader in 1916 that had little knowledge of India. Travel was mostly by horse and equestrian terns are used occasionally and amusingly -- the wikipedia will help as well those unfamiliar with horses..
Kipling gets quite a bit of politically correct flak as an apologist for imperialism. I think this criticism is in the same category as criticism of Samuel Clemens as a racist for writing "Huckleberry Finn". If Huck could have seen the world through Jim's eyes it would have been a different story and not a true one.
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