The Shortest History of India: From the World's Oldest Civilization to Its Largest Democracy - A Retelling for Our Times (Paperback)
5,000 years of history—from the Bhagavad Gita to Bollywood—fill this masterful portrait of the world’s most populous nation and a rising global power. The Shortest History books deliver thousands of years of history in one riveting, fast-paced read.
India—a cradle of civilization with five millennia of history, a country of immense consequence and contradiction—often defies ready understanding. What holds its people together—across its many cultures, races, languages, and creeds—and how has India evolved into the liberal democracy it is today?
From the Harappan era to Muslim invasions, the Great Mughals, British rule, independence, and present-day hopes, John Zubrzycki distills India’s colossal history into a gripping true story filled with legendary lives: Alexander the Great, Akbar, Robert Clive, Tipu Sultan, Lakshmi Bai, Lord Curzon, Jinnah, and Gandhi. India’s gifts to the world include Buddhism, yoga, the concept of zero, the largest global diaspora—and its influence is only growing. Already the world’s largest democracy, in 2023, India became the most populous nation.
Can India overcome its political, social, and religious tensions to be the next global superpower? As the world watches—and wonders—this Shortest History is an essential, clarifying read.
— India Today
Throughout his accessible narrative, Zubrzycki spotlights the origins of Indian innovations such as the decimal system, yoga, and vegetarianism. This is a fantastic resource for educators.
— Publishers Weekly
An accessible and absorbing portal to the subcontinent’s 5,000-year-old history.
— Sydney Morning Herald
Astounding. . . . A compelling and delightful read. . . . Effortlessly brings to life ancient civilizations and famed dynasties, taking readers on a roller-coaster spanning five millennia.
— Hindustan Times
The best short history of India yet produced.
— Australian Book Review
As a journalist, diplomat, and teacher . . . Zubrzycki’s ability to straddle diverse professional boundaries . . . enables [him] to pull off what many might think to be impossible: The Shortest History of India compresses 5,000 years of the country’s history—from the Harappan period to the ‘New India’ being shaped by the current political dispensation—in less than 300 pages.
— Indian Express
The author’s willingness to engage in historical debate is crucial because it means shortness doesn’t equate to shallowness.
— The Saturday Paper
Zubrzycki has risen to the occasion and offers us a fascinating insight into the creation and development of . . . the most populous democracy in the world.
— Queensland Reviewers Collective