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Railways and The Raj : How the Age of Steam Transformed India - Christian Wolmar

Railways and The Raj

How the Age of Steam Transformed India

Hardcover Published: 11th December 2017
ISBN: 9780857890641
Number Of Pages: 384

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India was the jewel in the crown of the British Empire. There were vast riches to be exploited and vast numbers of people to be subjugated. How better to achieve these aims than by building a rail network that facilitated the export of raw material and made it easier for troops to travel around the country to tackle uprisings?India joined the railway age late: the first line was not completed until 1853 but, by 1929, 41,000 miles of track served the country. However, the creation of this vast network was not intended to modernize India for the sake of its people but rather was a means for the colonial power to govern the huge country under its control, serving its British economic and military interests. By building India's railways, Britain radically changed the nation but also unwittingly created the preconditions of independence. While the railways benefitted India and were its first modern development, their construction ultimately contributed to a stirring of nationalist opinion, as resentment grew among the Indian population over the conditions they endured when travelling by train and the barring of Indians from the better paid railway jobs.Despite the dubious intentions behind the construction of the network, the Indian people quickly took to the railways, as the trains allowed them to travel easily for the first time. The Indian Railways network remains one of the largest in the world, serving over 25 million passengers each day.In this expertly told history, Christian Wolmar reveals the full story of India's railways, from its very beginnings to the present day, and examines the chequered role they have played in Indian history and the creation of today's modern state.

Industry Reviews

Christian Wolmar masterfully chronicles the iconic journey of the Indian Railways, deftly navigating his way through the varied complexities of an enterprise that - though it was undertaken solely in the self-serving interests of Empire - would go on to form an integral part of Independent India. Instructive, inspiring and even endearing, Railways & The Raj is a captivating read. -- Shashi Tharoor * Author of INGLORIOUS EMPIRE *
An engaging and welcome account of this magnificent institution and its dramatic history up to the present day. * Spectator *
Wolmar tells an epic story, at once shocking and inspiring. Stripped of false nostalgia for the Raj and all its deceptions, India's railways emerge greater than ever, and still central to the nation's identity and future. -- Simon Bradley * Author of THE RAILWAYS *
Railways & The Raj is brilliant - absorbing, engrossing and definitive. -- Michael Williams * Author of ON THE SLOW TRAIN *
Christian Wolmar helps to explain what is special about Indian railways, and why despite being the work of a colonial power, they fit so well with the country... Wolmar entertainingly examines the complicated legacy of the railway, the most palpable element of British imperialism. * Michael Portillo *
Christian Wolmar brings to life the early days of trains in India and describes with great clarity and wit how railways have spread across the vast country over the years. This is not a dry, stuffy read merely for rail enthusiasts. It's full of energy, enthusiasm and erudition, explaining the role of railways at key moments in the country's history from early mutinies against the colonialists to independence and beyond. Highly recommended. -- Tom Chesshyre * Author of TICKET TO RIDE *
This is one up-to-date book on Indian Railways that captures its history, life, stories and status... A must-read for all those keen followers of India's railways and for those who want to know all about it. -- Rajendra B. Aklekar * Author of HALT STATION INDIA *
Eschewing the dryness of other books on the subject, Wolmar's historical detail is pumped with colour and life... If we're ever to trust a writer on India's railways, it should be one who isn't afraid to sit in the open doorway of a moving train, chai in hand, watching the country roll past in all its glory. -- Foreword by Monisha Rajesh * Author of AROUND INDIA IN 80 TRAINS *
Wolmar... has an instinctive feel for transport as both politics and culture, and a gift for communicating it to his readers... Railways and the Raj is valuable not only as a lively history of the Indian railways, but as an intervention in our own political moment. * TLS *

ISBN: 9780857890641
ISBN-10: 0857890646
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 384
Published: 11th December 2017
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.6  x 3.18
Weight (kg): 0.78

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