Showing posts from February, 2008

Indian Express review 24th February 2008

150 Years Later
by Bibek Debroy

This is a book of great courage and perseverance. Authoring a two-volume magnum opus of more than 2,000 pages, on any subject, is not easy. Amaresh Misra’s earlier books on Lucknow and Mangal Pandey establish his interest in events centred on 1857. The first volume is better written than the second.

However, this is more than compensated by extensive research. There is also an interesting experiment in the first two chapters of the first volume (concerning Azimullah Khan and Azeezun Bai) of using the fiction genre to describe events. This works quite well, except that the reader can’t always distinguish fact from fiction. But this isn’t an experiment that is repeated subsequently. The Misra propositions can be segregated into a few strands. Some have been established fairly convincingly, others less so.

First, the Mughal state came close to “establishing a mercantile industrial capitalism”, with the pressure for change emerging from a small town and rural…

Literary Review, The Hindu, 3rd February, 2008

A work of monumental proportions


A goldmine of information for researchers.

War of Civilisations: India AD 1857 (The Road to Delhi and The Long Revolution); Amaresh Misra, Rupa, Rs.2500.

The year 1857 marked a watershed not only in the history of India but of the subcontinent. Call it Mutiny, Revolt or First War of Independence, its impact cannot be belittled. No wonder there is a plethora of publications on it.

To this recently has been added War of Civilisations : India AD 1857 in two thick volumes — The Road to Delhi and The Long Revolution by Amaresh Misra. For those looking for variety in “Mutiny” literature, here is something that satiates both fact and fancy.

The first volume

First The Road to Delhi:

The Battle of Plassey (1757) followed by the Battle of Buxar (1764) put the English firmly on the road to Delhi. A far cry from 1610 when they posed as poor traders in Jahangir’s court at Agra to seek preferential treatment in trading rights in the Moghul empire. How tra…

The Hindu, Sunday February 3rd, 2008

Indian perspective

Amaresh Misra’s book shed new light on the 1857 Revolt

Amaresh Misra is a film critic turned war analyst. The guy who acquitted himself creditably writing about films most read about, and only a few saw, is busy showing another facet of his personality. He has just authored an unexpected tome on the Revolt of 1857 or, as some call it, the First War of Independence. Amaresh calls it “the world’s first holocaust”. Brought out by Rupa, War of Civilisations: The Road to Delhi and India AD 1857 is not the first time Amaresh is walking down the history lane though.

Interest in history

Having already penned a biography of Lucknow in Lucknow: Fire of Grace and a biography of Mangal Pandey, Amaresh is well equipped. “My first book was on history. My interest in history run parallel to my love for films,” says the Mumbai-based Amaresh, adding, “I always admired the work of historians like Professor Irfan Habib and others, but they don’t ask new questions. My stint as a journal…