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Taj Mahal: Passion and Genius at the Heart of the Moghul Empire Hardcover – March 20, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
It is difficult to rate the approximately 60 pages of text in the Prestons' book that do focus on the Taj complex, including its antecedents, the people directly involved in its construction, its ornamentation, the toll time has taken on it, and a chapter on the theory that Shah Jahan had planned a different mausoleum for himself. Those who are reading about the complex in depth for the first time will likely find the material interesting; those who have read other books on the subject are unlikely to find much that is new.
Unfortunately, it is not at all difficult to rate the 23 snapshots of the Taj complex and related funerary architecture in this book. First, most are small, grainy black and grays that reveal little more than general outlines. Second, even the seven in color (four of them small ones of interior details) are taken from too great a distance to reveal technical brilliance or artistry.Read more ›
The only other 'pessimistic item' that I would write about was that, at times, it was difficult to follow the authors when they would describe informative detail on the building and how it was constructed. Since there were no photos about these fine details to observe, this information proved difficult to follow. It could be just me. I am a very visual person and that describing things in detail usually averts my attention. I need visuals!
Now, for the good side. I thought the book was very informative on the Moghul empire. It discusses all the friction between the families on the strive to gain power and gives you a pretty good account of the history of India(Moghul empire, mainly) during that time frame. It also makes you understand why imperialistic empires just don't survive and how the desire for power destroyed this infamous empire. I am no avid historian and have read only a few books containing any history of India. Even though I lack the historical background of India, I found the book easy to read and follow. Basically I read it in 2 days and found the information that the authors presented to be fascinating. I felt as if I was standing there watching the whole thing unfold in front of my eyes. In addition, I was able to perceive the physical sensation of the characters written within the pages.Read more ›
The Prestons give not only an understandable, but also a readable account of this brutal family history. The sketch of the love story is well known, but not how Shah Jahan lost favor of his father, in some part due to his father's love and dependence on one of this late in life wives. Most, probably, do not know the fate of the children of these famous lovers, nor that Shah Jahan died imprisoned by one of them within view of this monument.
One can only marvel on how Mumtaz Mahal traveled with her husband in war, and exile, constantly pregnant and bearing 14 children. Perhaps, as their family history suggests, she was the only one with whom he could confide and trust. They had a lasting sexual attraction despite his easy access to others and her continual pregnancies. They had shared extreme ups and downs. She may have been the only constant (later fulfilled by their eldest daughter) in his brutal and unstable world.
The Prestons note the other mausoleums built for and by these Moghul rulers, none of which approach this in style and size. As I write this, the Food Channel has a competition of chocolate sculptors making a model of this incredible structure.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
. A splendid little book. Not just about the famous monument, but a complete and concise history of the Moghuls from Babur to Aurangzeb. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Fred P.
Fascinating little history of the Mughals and of the devotion between Sha Jahan and Mumtaz. I got that book for my daughter, and she was so intrigued by the story she visited... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Tom Burke
Taj Mahal by Diana Preston depicts the Taj Mahal as this breathtakingly beautiful tribute to a great love between Shah Jahan, the Mogul emperor and his wife Mumtaz Mahul, who died... Read morePublished on February 13, 2011 by Michael Griswold
I found this an engaging book, revealing much of the dynasty of Babur, Akbar, Jahangir, Jahan and Aurengzeb. Read morePublished on December 3, 2009 by A. G. Plumb
I wish I read this book before I went to see the Taj. Now i have to make a second trip to find the signature of Amanat Khan on the Taj.Published on February 26, 2008 by Shedoc54