×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Midnight's Descendants: A History of South Asia since Partition
     

Midnight's Descendants: A History of South Asia since Partition

by John Keay
 

See All Formats & Editions

A celebrated historian presents a history of Southern Asia since the Partition of British India in 1947, revealing how the twin forces of democracy and extremism are shaping the region's future.

Overview

A celebrated historian presents a history of Southern Asia since the Partition of British India in 1947, revealing how the twin forces of democracy and extremism are shaping the region's future.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
01/06/2014
South Asia specialist Keay (India: A History) tackles a subject too often swept under the rug in the interest of fashioning coherent national narratives. The partition of India and Pakistan, haphazardly implemented in a matter of weeks with no contingency planning and little thought of the future, deeply scarred the region in ways that few political actors, even today, are willing to admit. The amount of human suffering the event caused was almost unprecedented outside of wartime. “War,” Keay writes, “even civil war, might have been more manageable than the internecine strife that engulfed large parts of both India and Pakistan.” In engaging if occasionally cloying prose, he sketches the conflicting paths traveled by these two nations since their tumultuous birth. One recurring theme is the insufficiency of territorial sovereignty to provide order in so complicated a region; in the borderlands, it is often difficult for a visitor to discern whether a particular village belongs to Pakistan, India, or Bangladesh, and cross-border ties are often stronger and more meaningful than those connecting disparate areas of the same country. Lines on a map came to shape the destiny of entire populations, as “reas, not individuals, became the currency of Partition, districts rather than households the unit of exchange.” (Mar.)
From the Publisher

New York Times
"[A] solid new history."

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
“[Midnight's Descendants] provides fresh insight regarding a region that holds potential for immense economic growth and devastating conflict, with serious implications for U.S. interests.”

Dallas Morning News
“[Midnight's Descendants] provides a useful examination of the past and a hopeful projection of the future.”

Washington Times
“A concise, competent account of the events leading up to and following the pivotal moment of partition….”

Tablet, UK
“Keay is a skilful and objective guide through the subsequent maze of triumphs, disasters, misjudgements, failures and successes that have produced today's five precariously stable and currently ¬democratic states…[A] knowledgeable, elegantly written and broadly dispassionate history…”

Kirkus, starred review
“[A] vivid, thoughtful and not terribly optimistic history....An insightful, entirely engrossing account of a dysfunctional region that may or may not pull itself together.”

Booklist
“An ambitious, wide-ranging study of these states since partition....This is a well-done examination of a vibrant, dangerous, but promising region.”

Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-12-22
Five independent nations emerged from the 1947 partition of British India, but they have yet to escape its dismal influence, writes prolific British journalist Keay (India: A History, 2008, etc.) in this vivid, thoughtful and not terribly optimistic history. India is secular, democratic and regarded as an economic success--the only one of the five to be considered so. Pakistan and Bangladesh are determinedly Islamic, susceptible to military rule and stubbornly impoverished, and Nepal and Sri Lanka remain traumatized by recent civil wars. Historians still wonder at how everyone got it so wrong. Planning for Indian independence, British negotiators proposed a single realm with elaborate democratic safeguards. Muslim leaders, as British-educated, elite and nonreligious as their Hindu counterparts, viewed an autonomous Pakistan as a political ploy rather than a practicality. Only in the final months did increasing disorder, political missteps and British haste to leave make partition inevitable. Despite several pre-independence atrocities, everyone was flabbergasted at the mass slaughter that followed. Almost immediately, India's occupation of Hindu-ruled but Muslim-majority Kashmir enraged Pakistan, a rage that still obsesses that nation, leading to several wars, innumerable skirmishes, standoffs, terrorist attacks and weak Pakistani governments that defer to the army. To the south, Sri Lanka, independent since 1948, remained peaceful for a few decades but is only now emerging from more than 30 years of murderous ethnic warfare. Keay's only ray of hope shines on the region's largest nation. India's clunky, corrupt democracy enjoys an expanding economy and middle class despite ongoing massive poverty, bloody ethnic, language and religious quarrels, and guerrilla insurgencies. "Over the last half century the shadows of Partition's brutal dislocation have grown ever longer," writes the author. "They slant across the whole course of events in post-independence South Asia." An insightful, entirely engrossing account of a dysfunctional region that may or may not pull itself together.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465080724
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
03/11/2014
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
432
File size:
1 MB

Meet the Author


John Keay is the author of several acclaimed books, including China: A History, The Great Arc: The Dramatic Tale of How India Was Mapped and Everest Was Named, and the bestselling India: A History. He was formerly a special correspondent for the Economist, and contributes regularly to the Sunday Telegraph, Times Higher Educational Supplement, and the Literary Review.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews