Samir Saran and Akhil Deo

Over the past few years, there’s been a growing debate about the implications of China’s rise for the future of the liberal international order. Is China a revisionist power that is seeking to craft a Sino-centric world order? Is it a fragile superpower whose actions.


Reviewed by: Manoj Kewalramani
Jairam Ramesh

This is a very fat book about a very thin man, a man moreover who was very arrogant, very rude, very obstreperous and, as the title suggests, very brilliant. In the end, though the brilliance served him poorly and he is remembered—by a rapidly dwindling number.


Reviewed by: TCA Srinivasa Raghavan
Osmund Bopearachchi and Suchandra Ghosh

The work of historians is to deconstruct the past and re-present it, not necessarily as a coherent whole or one of consensus (Joan Scott, Gender and Politics of Representation) but rather, to explore the complexities in the past—including fissures and the conflicts that existed.


Reviewed by: Jaya Tyagi
Manu V. Devadevan

The title is a misnomer. This tantalizing title of a book of translation that is saturated with divinity is an invitation to the enterprising reader to explore what lies within and what lies beyond the imagined entity called ‘God’. I would like to begin my review.


Reviewed by: Vijaya Ramaswamy
Harsh Mahaan Cairae

This is a daring outlier of a book. At a time when genetic research, coupled with linguistic and archaeological studies, provide path-breaking revelations on ‘who we are and how we got here’, Harsh Mahaan Cairae has chosen to trace the journey of the Aryan.


Reviewed by: Govindan Nair
Supriya Gandhi

Certain historical events—often, military or strategic in nature— engender obsessions with counter-factual questions. Questions such as, ‘what if Hitler and the Axis had won’, ‘what if Jinnah had died before August 1947’, and ‘what if the South had won the U.S. Civil War’, continually.


Reviewed by: Vikas Rathee
Sudeep Chakravarti

Before Robert Clive slit his jugular, perhaps in a paroxysm of violent pain in the abdomen, he had excused himself from a game of whist to visit the toilet. He was in his Berkeley Square townhouse in London and had ordered for his carriage to take him to Bath later after noontide.


Reviewed by: Nikhil Kumar
Bakhtiar K. Dadabhoy

Bakhtiar Dadabhoy’s political biography of Salar Jung I, the administrator most often credited with engineering Hyderabad’s turn to modern times is a welcome addition to the field of Hyderabad studies. It tracks the life and times of a man widely acknowledged.


Reviewed by: Asma Rasheed
Caleb Simmons, Moumita Sen, Hillary Rodrigues

Divided into four sections, the fifteen essays in Nine Nights of the Goddess are a coming together of disciplines, methodologies, sources and places on traditions of the nine-day Navratri celebrations, also known as Navaratra, Mahanavmi, Durga Puja, Dasara or Dassain throughout South Asia.


Reviewed by: Nimra Rizvi
Gautam Bhatia

Gautam Bhatia’s books on architecture in India are, by and large, autobiographical. They are thoughtful reflections of a sensitive and idealistic practitioner at odds with the quotidian values of the profession. As he sees it, it is a profession that actually.


Reviewed by: AG Krishna Menon
Abhinav Chandrachud

In the abundant literature on secularism that is now at hand, the range of comparative work on distinctive projects of secularism, in different parts of the world, has widened significantly, moving away from earlier binary classifications. The literature shows.


Reviewed by: Shefali Jha
Amandeep Sandhu

The tenor of Amandeep Sandhu’s Panjab: Journeys Through Fault Lines is established in the very first chapter titled Satt–Wound. The author, born in Rourkela, admits to only a fragile link with Punjab (spelt Panjab)–his family once belonged to the State. He then provides images that are intimate and distant, uniquely personal and universally familiar all at once: brass vessels.


Reviewed by: Radhika Oberoi
Partha Chatterjee

This is a timely intervention by Partha Chatterjee on the question of popular sovereignty in an era of populism and abounding authoritarianism. The book is based on the Ruth Benedict Lectures that Chatterjee delivered at Columbia University in April 2018 and as he admits candidly.


Reviewed by: Amir Ali
Ujjwal Kumar Singh and Anupama Roy

Election Commission of India: Institutionalising Democratic Uncertainties has hit the shelves—physical as well as digital, at a time when the Election Commission of India (ECI) has come under unprecedented scrutiny over its alleged failure to enforce election norms.


Reviewed by: Chanchal Kumar Sharma
Amitava Nag

Satyajit Ray (1921-1992), who has been one cultural icon, admired as much in Bengal as in much of the world, continues to inspire filmmakers and scholars of different hues. Besides making twenty-eight feature films, all in Bengali except Shatranj Ke Khilari.


Reviewed by: Amitabha Bhattacharya
Radhika Govindrajan

Splendid is not the word. Finally, an exemplary work of research that consciously blurs the boundary between the human and the non-human. In Animal Intimacies: Beastly Love in the Himalayas, Radhika Govindrajan attempts and successfully manages to show the reader.


Reviewed by: Nishant Srinivasaiah
Ankur Bisen

Ulrich Beck in his much-acclaimed book Risk Society: Toward a New Modernity throws light on the consequences of a wide range of hazardous and deadly risks of a highly industrialized and urbanized society. He further elaborates that modern risks are not restricted.


Reviewed by: Rafia Kazim
Mukesh Bansal

‘May the force be with you!’ The last line of the book is not a mere wish but a self-proclaimed statement of a tech entrepreneur, whose smart work has won many laurels. Decoding mental agility and extraordinary physical ability, Mukesh Bansal, the founder.


Reviewed by: L Jennifer
Indu K. Mallah

How long is the journey from the flash of insight
To the printed page?
Indu Mallah’s poems give the reader a glimpse of that journey which has to be made before one can pour out how one feels about the way things work.


Reviewed by: Semeen Ali
Kalpana Mohan

Kalpana Mohan’s book explores the growing aspirations for learning and mastering a foreign language in contemporary India. She provides a rich sociological account of expectations, anxieties, and consequences of such aspirations on not just India’s youth.


Reviewed by: Mithilesh Kumar Jha
Salman Rushdie

Quichotte (pronounced key-shot), as the first page helpfully tells the reader, is a novel written by someone who very obviously watches a lot of TV, or so it seems. At its best the novel reflects an emergent way of thinking where there is very little differentiation.


Reviewed by: Vasundhara Sirnate Drennan
Snehaprava Das

‘I write to … express that part of women’s lives which is often buried and endured in silence.’ This line from Paramita Satpathy’s conversation with her translator says it all. Each of the fourteen stories in this collection showcases a different problem—each a common issue, rarely discussed.


Reviewed by: Malati Mukherjee
Jordy Rosenberg

This novel—and I’m using this classification as a temporary placeholder for an increasingly unstable yet resilient genre—is about a chanced upon manuscript dated 1724 which carries the confessions of Jack Sheppard, ‘an English folk hero and jail breaker.


Reviewed by: Oishik Sircar
Rimli Sengupta

When in doubt of your mettle, Rimli Gupta’s book, Karno’s Daughter makes for a good litmus test. If you feel exhausted on reading it, you are a wimp, but if the trials and tribulations of Buttermilk the protagonist buoy you, there is hope for you.


Reviewed by: Sumitra Kannan
Alex Michaelides

Have I died and gone to Heaven,’ I wondered. ‘I have been asked to review a detective novel my most favourite reading nowadays!’ And what a novel at that! The first book published by the author, it tells a gripping story in the manner of …no, no.


Reviewed by: Meera Rajagopalan
Mathias B. Freese

Memento Mori is Latin for ‘remember you must die’. The recognition of mortality and the reiteration that life is lived in the midst of death is part of an old tradition iterated in cultures across the world through music, art, poetry, philosophy and writing.


Reviewed by: Ratna Raman
Aabid Surti

Iqbal, aka Sufi and Aabid, the author, grew up in different households in Dongri, went to the same school and faced nearly similar circumstances at home. Their lives never intersected, and they did not witness each other’s trials and tribulations. Iqbal’s father.


Reviewed by: Arshie Qureshi
Alexander McCall Smith

There are not many fictional characters that acquire lives of their own. Sherlock Holmes comes to mind, as do Rumpole of the Old Bailey, Don Quixote, Cyrano de Bergerac and the inimitable Jeeves. The most recent entrant to this exalted and much-loved hall.


Reviewed by: Bunny Suraiya
Saee Koranne-Khandekar

The title and subject of the book stirred up a deep sense of nostalgia in me. My siblings and I grew up in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra  in our formative years. The  names of dishes in  this book—Kaande pohe, thali peeth, varanbhath, etc.


Reviewed by: Jaya Krishnamachari

The tenor of Amandeep Sandhu’s Panjab: Journeys Through Fault Lines is established in the very first chapter titled Satt–Wound. The author, born in Rourkela, admits to only a fragile link with Punjab (spelt Panjab)–his family once belonged to the State.


Reviewed by:

The work of historians is to deconstruct the past and re-present it, not necessarily as a coherent whole or one of consensus (Joan Scott, Gender and Politics of Representation) but rather, to explore the complexities in the past—including fissures and the conflicts that existed.


Reviewed by: