Michael Wood’s fascinating journey through the history of the Indian subcontinent chronicles the incredible richness and diversity of its peoples, cultures and landscapes; outlines the originality and continuing relevance of its ideas; and relates some of the most momentous and moving events in world history.
The world’s largest democracy and a rising economic giant, India is as well known in the U.S. for its mastery of computer technology as it is for its many-armed gods and spiritual traditions. But India is also the world’s most ancient surviving civilization, with unbroken continuity stretching back into prehistory.
Like other great civilizations, India has renewed itself several times, enjoying several brilliant golden ages in art and culture. Its great thinkers and religious leaders have permanently changed the face of the globe. Now, in the era of globalization, India is once again becoming a leading player in the world and an increasingly important strategic partner and friend of the U.S. Home to more than a billion people, it is a land of amazing contrasts: It contains both the high-tech brilliance of Bangalore’s Silicon Valley and the archaic splendor of the Kumbh Mela festival, where 25 million pilgrims bathe in the sacred river Ganges on a single night. While moving at high speed into the modern world, India is still in touch with her ancient past.