From the Ruins of Empire by Pankaj Mishra
The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia

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Mishra’s astute and entertaining synthesis of these neglected histories goes a long way to substantiating his claim...
-NY Times

Synopsis

A surprising, gripping narrative depicting the thinkers whose ideas shaped contemporary China, India, and the Muslim world

A little more than a century ago, as the Japanese navy annihilated the giant Russian one at the Battle of Tsushima, original thinkers across Asia, working independently, sought to frame a distinctly Asian intellectual tradition that would inform and inspire the continent's anticipated rise to dominance.

Asian dominance did not come to pass, and those thinkers—Tagore, Gandhi, and later Nehru in India; Liang Qichao and Sun Yatsen in China; Jamal al-Din al-Afghani and Abdurreshi al Ibrahim in the ruins of the Ottoman Empire—are seen as outriders from the main anticolonial tradition. But Pankaj Mishra shows that it was otherwise in this stereotype-shattering book. His enthralling group portrait of like minds scattered across a vast continent makes clear that modern Asia's revolt against the West is not the one led by faith-fired terrorists and thwarted peasants but one with deep roots in the work of thinkers who devised a view of life that was neither modern nor antimodern, neither colonialist nor anticolonialist. In broad, deep, dramatic chapters, Mishra tells the stories of these figures, unpacks their philosophies, and reveals their shared goal of a greater Asia.

Right now, when the emergence of a greater Asia seems possible as at no previous time in history, From the Ruins of Empire is as necessary as it is timely—a book essential to our understanding of the world and our place in it.

 

About Pankaj Mishra

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Pankaj Mishra was born in India in 1969 and lives in London and Mashobra, India. The author of An End to Suffering (FSG, 2004) and Temptations of the West (FSG, 2006), as well as a novel, The Romantics, he writes for The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review, and The Guardian.
 
Published September 4, 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 369 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for From the Ruins of Empire
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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Hari Kunzru on Sep 21 2012

Mishra’s astute and entertaining synthesis of these neglected histories goes a long way to substantiating his claim...

Read Full Review of From the Ruins of Empire: The... | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by JENNIFER SCHUESSLER on Aug 27 2012

Mr. Mishra’s flair for the grace note is matched by a sometimes ferocious instinct for the jugular.

Read Full Review of From the Ruins of Empire: The... | See more reviews from NY Times

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