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A Short History

Andrew Robinson

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‘Pithy, admirable ... a most refreshing resumé’ The Times Literary Supplement


India has had many histories. To pilgrims from ancient China, India was the birthplace of the Buddha; to Alexander the Great it was a land of clever naked philosophers and indomitable, elephantine armies. At the height of the Mughal empire, India boasted nearly a quarter of the world economy, and even under colonial rule it was the jewel in the crown of the British Empire. Today it is the resurgent home to one sixth of the global population.

Andrew Robinson incisively distills India’s many incarnations, from the remarkably advanced cities of the early Indus Valley to the world’s largest democracy. Anyone curious about its past, present or future will find this a fascinating introduction.


'Writing an accessible and coherent history of India is an ambitious task. Andrew Robinson meets the challenge successfully'
History Today

'Impressively lucid … very good'
Asian Voice

'sets out to achieve what might seem like an almost impossible feat, to write a history of India that is comprehensive, accessible and appealing. It succeeds admirably … redolent, concise, engaging'
All About History

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Edition Type: New Format

Size: 19.8 x 13.0 cm

Extent: 256 pp

Publication date: 11 July 2019

ISBN: 9780500295168

Contents List

Preface; Introduction; 1. The Indus Valley Civilization; 2. Vedas, Aryans and the Origins of Hinduism; 3. Buddha, Alexander and Asoka; 4. Hindu Dynasties; 5. The Coming of Islam; 6. The Mughal Empire; 7. European Incursions and East India Companies; 8. The Jewel in the Crown; 9. The End of Empire; 10. The World’s Largest Democracy; Postscript; Map

About the Author

Andrew Robinson is the author of twenty-five books in the arts and sciences, nine of them on aspects of Indian history and culture. They include two definitive biographies: Satyajit Ray: The Inner Eye, described by V. S. Naipaul as ‘an extraordinarily good, detailed and selfless book’, and the coauthored Rabindranath Tagore: The Myriad-Minded Man. He holds degrees from Oxford University and the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, has been a Visiting Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge, and is currently a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society.