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This is an unusual book in terms of the range of its discrete and varied chapters. Its strongest continuing themes are ecology and the Sundarbans. Despite an occasional lack of context and connection, each section is of interest, and some are original and thought-provoking.
In the autumn of 1942, as Britain and the United States delicately negotiated the roles each would play in the South and Southeast Asian theatres of war against Japan, British colonial officials in London prepared to counter the American anti-colonial rhetoric which had already accompanied the first Americans dispatched to India in early 1942.
Lucy Chester’s book is a highly readable and accessible effort, which attempts to make two key assertions. Firstly, ‘that the boundary commission headed by Cyril Radcliffe offers a window into the complexity of nationalist dealings with the colonial power structures’ (p.
There can surely have been few other books in Asian Studies and certainly not in South East Asian Studies in recent years that have been as widely anticipated as James C. Scott’s The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Southeast Asia (Yale University Press, 2009).
What is a ‘Companion’ for?
In the course of a single generation, the British empire was transformed from being a network of self-governing Atlantic communities into a cluster of largely Asian territories acquired, for the most part, through conquest. As countless historians note, the second half of the eighteenth century saw an ‘epochal shift in world power’.
First time as tragedy, second time as kitsch. During the 1990s, China took on board Deng Xiaoping's message that 'to get rich is glorious'. Yet some of the country's elite, jaded by the endless supply of luxury goods now available in Beijing and Shanghai, favour restaurants with a new spin: the peasant cuisine of the Cultural Revolution.
The dissolution of the British Raj in the Subcontinent in 1947, and the accompanying mass migration across the new borders between the newly-independent states of India and Pakistan, are certainly among the most momentous developments in recent history.
Back at the end of the 1980s, when I was a lowly teaching assistant at the Pennsylvania State University, I had the good fortune to work on an undergraduate course on the Vietnam War directed by the great Vietnam scholar William Duiker. Duiker’s course was very popular.
This book is an overview of Russian conservative ideology from roughly 1500 to the First World War. Richard Pipes, the now Emeritus Baird Professor of History at Harvard, has written or edited more than twenty books on Russian history, and his latest work is in many ways a summary of his conclusions about why Russia developed differently from the countries of Western Europe.