Publication Date: 13/07/2023 ISBN: 9781847925497 Category:

Shadows At Noon

Joya Chatterji

Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publication Date: 13/07/2023 ISBN: 9781847925497 Category:


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‘A classic … wonderfully enjoyable’ WILLIAM DALRYMPLE

This is the authoritative history of South Asia in the 20th century.

Shadows at Noon tells the subcontinent’s story from the British Raj through independence and partition to the forging of the modern nations of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Unlike other histories of the region which concentrate exclusively on politics, here food, leisure and the household are given as much importance as nationhood, migration, and the state.

Chatterji makes contemporary South Asia – its cultural vibrancy, diversity, social structures and political make-up – accesible to everyone. In so doing this bold, innovative, and personal work rallies against narratives of ‘inherent’ differences between India, Pakistan and Bangladesh and reveals the many things its people have in common.

‘The story of South Asia told with verve, wit and brilliance’ ANURADHA ROY
‘Chatterji writes with infectious relish’ DOMINIC SANDBROOK
‘Truly magnificent’ MIHIR BOSE
‘Wonderful’ SIR MARK TULLY

Publisher Review

Definitive new 20th-century thematic history of the Indian subcontinent * Financial Times * A truly magnificent book about the history, politics and culture of 20th century South Asia ... A must read * Mihir Bose, author of The Nine Waves * The story of South Asia told with verve, wit, and brilliance. This is a book that invents a genre: navigating effortlessly between the archives, conversations, memoir, newspapers, swooping out to make magisterial observations and zooming in to unearth nuggets of gossip. It is like riding a rollercoaster with a mesmerizing guide who can touch down on any part of South Asia that she chooses, before taking off again * Anuradha Roy, author of All The Lives We Never Lived * A wonderful book concentrating for once on what the peoples of different South Asian countries have in common. That's something South Asians and all the rest of us should now concentrate on * Sir Mark Tully * This book is a pleasure to read. I love its sheer bulk; its heft seems like a symbol of the inexhaustible richness of the modern history of what are now the countries of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. One of South Asia's very best historians, Chatterji weaves engaging vignettes of her own experiences into a masterful account anchored in a chronological narrative and illuminated by four brilliantly chosen thematic focuses * Professor Barbara D. Metcalf, co-author of A Concise History of Modern India * Displaying narrative sweep and analytical depth, Shadows at Noon is an incredible achievement by a historian writing at her best * Professor Rudrangshu Mukherjee * This is history as it should be written, but rarely is. Chatterji maps the journey of South Asia from the high noon of empire to today, and in so doing a rich tapestry unfolds that is unlikely to be equalled for some time * Professor Mahesh Rangarajan * History at its best; blending compelling evidence with deep insight, this is an invitation to enter worlds within worlds in the company of a master storyteller. ... [South Asia], as never before, is alive to me * Dr Simon Longstaff * A brilliant, magisterial, and wonderfully nuanced work that makes a huge contribution to our understanding of the last century ... Every line holds some gem, triggers some memory, or gives new insight. This work sparkles * Professor Robert Frykenberg * One of the best books I've read in years. Chatterji's magnum opus * Professor Prasannan Parthasarathi * A charismatic, dazzling piece of work that has the feel of a future classic. Shadows at Noon is remarkably rich and full of life, packed with insights conveyed through beautifully moving storytelling. A unique and vital book, it is at once incredibly informative, profound and very readable - a genuine page-turner * Dr Edward Anderson * Both erudite and intimate, Chatterji narrates how South Asia in the twentieth century produced democracy and authoritarianism, inclusion and violent exclusion, all at the same time, explaining our present as well as giving us an account of the past * Professor Durba Ghosh * A tour de force of contemporary history of the Indian subcontinent. Its masterly analysis of the big picture - nationalisms, citizenship and the State - sets the stage for its innovative focus on ordinary people and their lives. A brilliant, wonderful read * Professor Deepak Nayyar * This book's promise to deliver a 'people-centred history' of South Asia over the twentieth century is no small task. Chatterji's epic work meanders across this huge terrain, taking a series of imaginative angles such as the histories of the household, music, film and food, as well as many others. Combining scholarly rigour with a spontaneous tone and autobiographical style, this is a courageous and captivating work * Professor Justin Jones *

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