Can one of the most divided nations on the planet become its next superpower? James Crabtree reveals the titans of politics and industry shaping India in a period of breakneck change - from controversial prime minister Narendra Modi, victor in the largest election in history, to the leading lights of the country's burgeoning billionaire class.
While `King of the Good Times' Vijay Mallya languishes in exile in Britain, other major `Bollygarchs' prosper at home despite a series of scandals. Issuing jewel-encrusted invitations to their children's weddings, these tycoons exert huge power in both business and politics.
But India's explosive economic rise has driven inequality to new extremes. Millions remain trapped in slums and corruption is endemic. Reformers fight to wrest the nation from these dark forces, leaving its fate poised between that of a prosperous democratic giant and a saffron-tinged version of Russia.
`James Crabtree, once a hugely-admired star foreign correspondent, has transformed himself into a brilliant writer and analyst of the Indian super-rich. This timely, fascinating and eye-opening book is also - a rarity for a book about money - wonderfully witty and beautifully written.' -- William Dalrymple
`An enlightening and engaging story of wealth and poverty in India, but also a sad indictment of the power of inequity in subduing and overwhelming its areas of success.' -- Amartya Sen, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics
`Crabtree's stylish writing and sharp insights bring to life the extremes of a country changing with bewildering rapidity, and one the world will find increasingly hard to ignore. The Billionaire Raj is an essential guide if you want to understand modern India, as you must.' -- Edward Luce, Chief US Commentator, Financial Times, and author of In Spite of the Gods: The Rise of Modern India
`Billionaire-watching may seem like voyeuristic fun, but it also provides serious insights about where a nation is headed. James Crabtree does just that in The Billionaire Raj, as he traces the incredible rise of India's new super-rich and everything they reveal about the state of India's political economy. Mixing colourful anecdotes with serious analysis, Crabtree's urgent book gives us far more than just vicarious thrills about India's new Gilded Age.' -- Ruchir Sharma, author of The Rise and Fall of Nations
`A lucid, detailed and at times epic account of the new India... A must-read for all those interested in the political and economic destiny of the subcontinent.' -- Robert D. Kaplan, author of Monsoon and The Return of Marco Polo's World
`A fascinating look into the world of the Indian business elite...shedding considerable light on whether the country will sustain the miracle that is the Indian democracy or go the way of populism and authoritarianism as so many others have.' -- Dani Rodrik, Professor of International Political Economy, Harvard University, and author of The Globalization Paradox
`James Crabtree distinguished himself as the most insightful journalist writing for the Financial Times from India. It is not surprising therefore that he has now written a book that offers a splendid overview of the issues that have been raised concerning India's spectacular growth since the reforms began in 1991. It is bound to become a classic.' -- Jagdish Bhagwati, author of In Defense of Globalization
`In this eye-opening rumination on wealth, power, and those who seek both...Crabtree brings a reporter's precision and flair to his story... An inside look into the corridors of power, this is an invaluable commentary on Indian democracy and the forces that threaten it.' * Publishers Weekly, starred review *
`A wonderful book! It artfully weaves together lively stories of India's billionaires while retaining a balanced perspective on the the big picture of the rise of India. It is not easy to write contemporary history but Crabtree manages to get to the heart of the matter - the problem of India's state capacity and the need to reform the institutions of governance.' -- Gurcharan Das, author of India Unbound and The Difficulty of Being Good
`Who are the Indian nouveau riche and what do they want? James Crabtree's The Billionaire Raj will prove the defining work on these questions. It is a must-read for anyone interested in wealth, inequality, India, or the evolution of capitalism.' -- Tyler Cowen, economist, blogger and author of The Great Stagnation