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Talbot’s book is largely a collection of enlightening, serious, and highly entertaining letters he wrote between 1938 and 1950 from India….The value of Talbot’s book is enhanced by the afterword, written sixty years after the independence and partition of British India…This book is worth reading, partly because Talbot’s professionalism is evident on every page, partly because his insights inform readers about how and why the India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh of 2008 are different from the British India of 1938.
This volume is a compilation of letters he sent back to the Institute of Current World Affairs. Put in context by historian B R Nanda, they unfold the events as they happened…Especially valuable are reports of long stretches spent in the company of Gandhi, Nehru, Patel or Jinnah-besides his more or less sociological observations in these transformational times, including a stint in Santiniketan.
An American Witness to India`s Partition is a book to be read with feelings of both regret and pleasure as India celebrates her sixtieth year of Independence. Regret for a different path that might have been taken, pleasure that things have turned out so well after the dark days of 1947.
Written with extraordinary verve and insight, this magnificent work brings alive India`s greatest generation and their achievements. Rare is the book on India in which the past so illumines the present.