From Publishers Weekly
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Starred Review. India is the country that was never expected to ever be a country. In the late 19th century, Sir John Strachey, a senior British official, grandly opined that the territory's diverse states simply could not possess any sort of unity, physical, political, social or religious. Strachey, clearly, was wrong: India today is a unified entity and a rising global power. Even so, it continues to defy explanation. India's existence, says Guha, an internationally known scholar (Environmentalism: A Global History), has also been an anomaly for academic political science, according to whose axioms cultural heterogeneity and poverty do not make a nation, still less a democratic one. Yet India continues to exist. Guha's aim in this startlingly ambitious political, cultural and social survey is to explain why and how. He cheerfully concludes that India's continuing existence results from its unique diversity and its refusal to be pigeonholed into such conventional political models as Anglo-American liberalism, French republicanism, atheistic communism or Islamist theocracy. India is proudly sui generis, and with August 15, 2007, being the 60th anniversary of Indian independence, Guha's magisterial history of India since that day comes not a moment too soon. 32 pages of b&w illus., 8 maps. (Aug.)
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