A Wounded Civilization
By V. S. Naipaul
(Vintage Books, Paperback, 9781400030750, 176pp.)
Publication Date: April 8, 2003
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Drawing on novels, news reports, political memoirs, and his own encounters with ordinary Indians-from a supercilious prince to an engineer constructing housing for Bombay's homeless-Naipaul captures a vast, mysterious, and agonized continent inaccessible to foreigners and barely visible to its own people. He sees both the burgeoning space program and the 5,000 volunteers chanting mantras to purify a defiled temple; the feudal village autocrat and the Naxalite revolutionaries who combined Maoist rhetoric with ritual murder. Relentless in its vision, thrilling in the keenness of its prose, India: A Wounded Civilization""is a work of astonishing insight and candor.