Taj Mahal: Passion and Genius at the Heart of the Moghul Empire

Taj Mahal: Passion and Genius at the Heart of the Moghul Empire

by Diana Preston, Michael Preston

Hardcover

$25.95

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802715111
Publisher: Walker & Company
Publication date: 03/20/2007
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 6.35(w) x 9.68(h) x 1.24(d)

About the Author

Diana and Michael Preston are Oxford-trained historians who live in London, England. Diana is the author of A First Rate Tragedy, The Boxer Rebellion, Lusitania: An Epic Tragedy, and Before the Fallout: From Marie Curie to Hiroshima, which won the 2006 Los Angeles Times prize for Science & Technology. She and Michael coauthored A Pirate of Exquisite Mind, a biography of the great seventeenth-century adventurer William Dampier.

Table of Contents


Prologue     1
"A Place of Few Charms"     11
Allah Akbar     28
"Seizer of the World"     41
"Peerless Pearls and Heart-Pleasing Stuffs"     54
The Warrior Prince     75
Emperor in Waiting     91
Chosen One of the Palace     105
The Peacock Throne     119
"Build for Me a Mausoleum"     143
"Dust of Anguish"     155
"The Builder Could Not Have Been of This Earth"     170
"This Paradise-Like Garden"     193
The Illumined Tomb     204
"The Sublime Throne"     217
"Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth"     233
Fall of the Peacock Throne     249
"His Own Tomb on the Other Side of the River"     262
Epilogue     275
Acknowledgments     287
Notes and Sources     289
Bibliography     305
Index     311

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Taj Mahal: Passion and Genius at the Heart of the Moghul Empire 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a High School Sophomore who had to do a Research Project about the Taj Mahal, so I chose to read this book. I decided to choose this book because I thought it would be very interesting to read about the emperors throughout the period of the Moghul Dynasty. The book was not interesting at all, I nearly fell asleep once I started reading it. If you enjoy learning about history go for it, you'd stay awake reading it. It seemed as if I were reading facts of the world's most famous memorial to love. It did give much detail explaining the design of the flawless symmetry and exquisite elegance. I would've liked the book to focus on Shah Jahan and his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It did begin to get a bit confusing once it started naming all of the certain places and emperors. The book mainly focused on the creation of the Taj Mahal, therefor it only helped me answer a few questions. I thought it was very well written, it all lead up to Shah Jahan being in power. It pointed out when the empire was at its highest extent and when it collapsed. If you are interested on how the the Moghul Dynasty came to be, this is by far the perfect book. If you fall asleep in history class I sure recommend  you do not read this book. I thought the book was a fabulous combination of cultural and architectural heritage. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a sophomore in high school who had to do a research project, which is why I chose to read this book. I really enjoyed this book and learning about the Taj Mahal. At first I didn't think that I would like this book because I didn't really know the story behind the Taj Mahal. Also, when I started reading it annoyed me that the book didn't go straight to discussing Shah Jahan and the building of the Taj Mahal. However, looking back, I am very pleased with this book. I now appreciate how it goes over the lives of the family members before Shah Jahan. It allowed me to be able to truly understand the lives of those living during that time and the ways of the Moghul Empire. I thought this book and the story of the Taj Mahal was going to be a boring lecture on Indian architecture, but I had no idea there was so much drama and romance behind. Also, if you're interested in learning more about the Moghul Empire, then this is the perfect book. I did think that the book would be more about Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan and less about the actual history of the Moghul Empire, so when I began reading I was a little disappointed. However, as I continued reading I became fascinated with this book. I think the book will be more enjoyable if you know a bit more about what you're going to be reading. It includes many details and information about Shah Jahan's ancestors, which may come as a shock to some like it did me, but overall it is a good book. I learned a lot and there were very few moments of reading this book where my interest was not peaked.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a high school sophomore who had to accomplish a research project about the Taj Mahal. It took me a while to find the perfect book about the Taj Mahal and at the same time answer 9 important questions about it. Once i have stumbled across this book, it contained a lot of information about its history, culture, and about how it came to be with a fascinating love story between Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. In the book, you can see the different generations of Shah Jahan’s family and how they found themselves ruling the Moghul Empire. Not only did i enjoy reading while learning historical references about the Taj Mahal, but also it made me realize why many people from around the world specifically visit the Taj Mahal to see with their own eyes. Also, before buying the book i thought that i would lose interest in reading the book along they way but as i kept going, i ended up liking the book either way because it was very understandable in context and it gave me a lot of information that i could use for future reference. And lastly after reading the book, it made me want to go to India to experience the the Taj Mahal first hand.
CClements More than 1 year ago
I am a high school sophomore and I read this book in order to complete an assigned research project. While given many book options, I chose to read this one in order to do my research. When I began reading it was pretty boring, especially with History being my least favorite subject. However, attitude goes a long way, and as soon as I changed my attitude about reading it I began to enjoy the book. The book starts by introducing the past emperors and relatives before Shah Jahan, which I was a little anoyed with since I was hoping to go straight into the love story between Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. But, I was still happy about getting the background story because later on in the book, I needed all that information in order to understand what was happening. Even though it would drag on about things, this book is heavily detailed and I was able to answer all of my research questions with tons of information and background detail. On top of that, I now know much about the Taj Mahal and its history and I would definitely recommend reading it, especially if you either need detailed information on this topic, or you're just interested in the history of the Moghul Empire.
CClements More than 1 year ago
I am a high school sophomore and I read this book in order to complete an assigned research project. While given many book options, I chose to read this one in order to do my research. When I began reading it was pretty boring, especially with History being my least favorite subject. However, attitude goes a long way, and as soon as I changed my attitude about reading it I began to enjoy the book. The book starts by introducing the past emperors and relatives before Shah Jahan, which I was a little anoyed with since I was hoping to go straight into the love story between Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. But, I was still happy about getting the background story because later on in the book, I needed all that information in order to understand what was happening. Even though it would drag on about things, this book is heavily detailed and I was able to answer all of my research questions with tons of information and background detail. On top of that, I now know much about the Taj Mahal and its history and I would definitely recommend reading it, especially if you either need detailed information on this topic, or you're just interested in the history of the Moghul Empire.
CaiClem More than 1 year ago
I am a high school sophomore and I read this book in order to complete an assigned research project. While given many book options, I chose to read this one in order to do my research. When I began reading it was pretty boring, especially with History being my least favorite subject. However, attitude goes a long way, and as soon as I changed my attitude about reading it I began to enjoy the book. The book starts by introducing the past emperors and relatives before Shah Jahan, which I was a little anoyed with since I was hoping to go straight into the love story between Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. But, I was still happy about getting the background story because later on in the book, I needed all that information in order to understand what was happening. Even though it would drag on about things, this book is heavily detailed and I would definitely recommend reading it, especially if you either need detailed research on this topic, or you're just interested in the history of the Moghul Empire.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a sophomore in high school who had to do a research project, which is why I chose to read this book. I really enjoyed it and found learning about the Taj Mahal to be very intersting. At first I didn't think that I would like this book because I didn't really know the story behind the Taj Mahal. Also, when I started reading, it annoyed me that the book didn't go straight into discussing Shah Jahan and the building of the Taj Mahal. However, looking back, I am very pleased with this book. I now appreciate how it discusses the family members before Shah Jahan. It allowed me to be able to truly understand the lives of those living during that time and the ways of the Moghul Empire. I thought this book and the story of the Taj Mahal was going to be a boring lecture on Indian architecture, but I had no idea there was so much drama and romance behind it. Also, if you're interested in learning more about the Moghul Empire, then this is the perfect book. I did think that the book would be more about Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan and less about the actual history of the Moghul Empire, so when I began reading I was a little disappointed. However, as I continued reading I became fascinated with this book. I think the book will be more enjoyable if you know a bit more about what you're going to be reading. It includes many details and information about Shah Jahan's ancestors, which may come as a shock to some like it did me, but overall it is a good book. I learned a lot and there were very few moments of reading this book where my interest was not peaked.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a sophomore in high school who had to do a research project, which is why I chose to read this book. I really enjoyed this book and learning about the Taj Mahal. At first I didn't think that I would like this book because I didn't really know the story behind the Taj Mahal. Also, when I started reading it annoyed me that the book didn't go straight to discussing Shah Jahan and the building of the Taj Mahal. However, looking back, I am very pleased with this book. I now appreciate how it goes over the lives of the family members before Shah Jahan. It allowed me to be able to truly understand the lives of those living during that time and the ways of the Moghul Empire. I thought this book and the story of the Taj Mahal was going to be a boring lecture on Indian architecture, but I had no idea there was so much drama and romance behind. Also, if you're interested in learning more about the Moghul Empire, then this is the perfect book. I learned a lot and there was not a single moment of reading this book where my interest was not peaked.
Violet-G More than 1 year ago
I am a High School Sophomore who had to do a Research Project on the Taj Mahal. I chose this book because it seemed very informative. I thought that the book was a little boring. It mostly stated facts and didn't give much of a narrative. I was hooping for more of a story behind the book but it gave more of a really long history lesson. I would suggest this book to someone interested in knowing the emperors through out a long  period of the Moghul Dynasty. It was not for a long time, that the book actually mentions when the Taj Mahl was beginning to be built. I think that  if the book would have painted a clear and more vivid picture of what was going on I might have been  more interested. All it really did was lay down the raw facts. There wasn't much detail to keee me interested. Towards the end I felt more interested because it described the love that Shah Jahan shared with his wife, Mumtaz.. For the Research Project I had to do, I was able to find only  a few answers to my questions. The book it self, was well written in my opinion. Things were pretty easy to understand for the most part. If you find yourself interested in History class i suggest this book to you. If you have no interest whatsoever over the emperors and how they came to rule I suggest you pick a different book. If you are only interested in The Taj Mahal itself and not the background of the Moghuls, I suggest you chose a different book as well. I wouldn't  be that interested in reading another book like this. It was a good book, but not exactly what i was looking for.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a High School Sophomore who had to do a Research Project on this book. I did not find this book to be very helpful. The reason why is because it talks a lot about the families and how they want to gain power. It gives a lot of history on India and there is a lot of names and places. It focuses on the emperors that lead up to Shah Jahan and the people who were involved in the building of the Taj Mahal. It kind of helped me a little with some of my questions, but not as much as I thought it would. I found it kind of boring because I do not like to read about history. It did not give me enough information from what I needed about the Taj Mahal. It mainly talks about the creation of the Taj Mahal and not as much of information about it. For me, it felt like forever while I was reading this book. It did not keep me interested at all. Maybe because I do not like history? Or because I was not finding what I needed? I do not know, but I know this book was not for me. If you like history and would want to know about the Taj Mahals creation, then this book is for you.