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Land of the Seven Rivers: A Brief History of India's Geography

Language: English
Length: 352 Pages
Publisher: Viking
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Land of the Seven Rivers: A Brief History of India's Geography (Hardcover) Price: Rs.454

Moving from the geological beginnings of the subcontinent to present day Gurgaon: from the Stone Age to the Information Age, this is a riveting and wry book, full of surprises!

Did the Great Flood of Indian legend actually happen? Why did the Buddha walk to Sarnath to give his first sermon? How did the Europeans map India?

The history of any country begins with its geography. With sparkling wit and intelligence, Sanjeev Sanyal sets off to explore India and look at how the country's history was shaped by, among other things, its rivers, mountains and cities. Traversing remote mountain passes, visiting ancient archaeological sites, crossing rivers in shaky boats and immersing himself in old records and manuscripts, he considers questions about Indian history that we rarely ask: Why do Indians call their country Bharat? How did the British build the railways across the subcontinent? What was it like to sail on an Indian Ocean merchant ship in the fifth century AD? Why was the world's highest mountain named after George Everest?

About the Author
Currently the Global Strategist of one of the world's largest banks, Sanjeev Sanyal is a prolific writer who divides his time between India and Singapore. An Eisenhower Fellow, he was named Young Global Leader for 2010 by the World Economic Forum. Sanjeev is a prolific writer who divides his time between Delhi and Singapore. His last book was The Indian Renaissance: India's Rise after a Thousand Years of Decline, published by Penguin in 2008.

Specifications of Land of the Seven Rivers: A Brief History of India's Geography (Hardcover)

Author Sanjeev Sanyal
Book Details
Publisher Viking
Publication Year 2012
ISBN-13 9780670086399
ISBN-10 0670086398
Language English
Edition 1st Edition
Binding Hardcover
Number of Pages 352 Pages
Width 5.70 inch
Height 1.30 inch
Weight 476 g
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Book Reviews of Land of the Seven Rivers: A Brief History of India's Geography

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Most Helpful Reviews (5 of 29)

19 January 13
misleading title

The book received good reviews on So, I ordered it.

Initially it is more like a book by Romila Thapar, I.e explained geology and then started real history. This technique is followed till the end of Harappan civilization. After that the economist in the author woke up and delivered opinions on historical develoments. The economic view of history is really interesting.

History was explained in a linear fashion till Mughals. From that point, he started on hopping. Author mentioned importance of lot of things in and around Delhi which are not famous tourist spots. Few anecdotes , trivia and lot of local stories which are useful for a tourist guide but not for a history reader.

The views of author on slums around a city and path of
transformation of a village to suburban and then to urban in the liberal India are amazing. Its good to read a popular economic cum geology cum historical book on India.

But there are few faults. The caption of the book is " A brief history of India's geography " . But there is less geography, it's not even history in the back drop of geography. Definitely not a reference book for either history or geography of India.

Author has mentioned " Rudrama devi of Golconda". Its a blunder.

Cover page of the book is the geographical map of India showing its rivers. In those rivers Godavari is missing. As name is the book is " land of seven rivers", graphic designer , author and publishers should have checked if the map on the cover page is correct. The word Geography on the cover page made it look more silly.

But, on the whole, it's a good read. It just didnt deliver what I expected from the book title.

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67% of 18 users found this review helpful.
30 December 12
A Book Every Indian, Young and Old, Must Read

In a recent interview with Aung San Suu Kyi she was asked about 'India' and she replied - "I prefer to refer to it a a land, it is so much more romantic." The title of this book reflects that beautiful sentiment and its pages thrill and surprise you with little known facts about our land, the sub continent, withouts its modern political borders.

Did you know that the Aravalli's are part of Rodinia, which pre dates Pangea and Gondwanaland, one of the oldest, if not the oldest land mass in the world. And that it may have been as high as the Himalaya's hundreds of million years ago. That there was probably a major river called the Saraswati, where the Ghaggar is in Haryana today, which was the actual cradle of the Indo Saraswati civilisation. It was the drying up of this river that caused the migration to the Ganges and not an Aryan invasion, as is popular lore. That this is the only land which has both the lion and the tiger!

Sanyal simply amazes you with his capacious knowledge and you wonder how one person can know so much about so many things.

He has drawn on the research of many people and added his observations. You will not agree with everything, but anyone who reads this book cannot but be filled with wonderment.

Arvind Sethi

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9 of 9 users found this review helpful.
14 March 13
Excellent Read

This is an excellent book. For a history buff like me, this book is a treasure trove of information with an expanse that covers 5000 years. From Aravalis, Rodinia, the mythical Sarswati, Ghaggar, to Maurya empire to Mughals to present day urban planing - the expanse of the book is really what makes it a must have in any personal library.

One further advice - In the past few years the democratization of media that has taken place due to advent of social media has altered many a perspective on what we considered to be truth earlier. Similarly, this book sheds complete new light, and with historical rigor, on what has till now been a primarily distorted picture of our history advanced by colonial historians. For this reason alone, this book must be read.

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6 of 6 users found this review helpful.
04 February 13
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Awsome Book

Nice book it has some really mind boggling facts of pre independence and Indian History.
A must buy for people who have an interest in Indian History...

Some topics are really nice like the comparison of River Saraswati with Ganga, Mahabharat, Ramayan are they real or just a story created, rise & fall of great kingdoms like Maurayans, Mughals, trade history of India with rest of the world this book really digs deep into the facts and really makes you think......

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6 of 7 users found this review helpful.
17 August 13
a great book.

this book provides us a new angle to look into in our history. historians in colonial time like max muller, vincent smith were not above doubt. sometimes they misinterpreted our ancient texts like vedas, and puranas by mistake or may be knowingly. because our ancient texts were older than the history of christianity. so, there came a controversy over validity of christianity. according to old testament bishop usher calculated that the gensis took place in around 4000 bc. but, in puranas, the idea of four eons (chaturjug) had smashed the idea of bishop usher. it threatens the foundation of christianity.
therefore those christian historian knowingly defame our rich heritage for the sake of the welfare of christianity. also it is in colonial nature that rulers claim themselves to have richer historical heritage otherwise they could not rule over us. for this reason british found a college namely haileyburry college to teach those people who are coming to india as an administrator. in this college they were taught indian history by james mill, who never been to india and know no indian language but wrote indian history in 6 volume. those books contain no history but how to diminish indian historical heritage.

as per edward syed 'orientalism is a western style for dominating, restructing and having authority over the orient.'
this is the high time to re write our history, and this book is a firm step toward this...

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1 of 1 users found this review helpful.

Most Recent Reviews

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What a book!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading 'Land of the Seven Rivers'. Every Indian especially one who loves history will love this book. It...

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13 April 14
A rare book

The 'Land of the Seven Rivers' is described by the author very interestingly as the history of India's geography. The book is a...

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15 March 14
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Refreshing take on Indias History through a geographical perspective

A superb book explaining the history of India through its geography. The Book starts with R1a1 genes and its origins, goes on t...

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28 January 14
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Interesting book, more like trivia rather than history of geography

The book is a simple, interesting read. If you buy this expecting a detailed history of forces/factors that may have affected I...

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20 December 13
More than 25 history facts never taught in school

Excellent book that presents many new developments in understanding India's past. Skimpy on south India even though the author...

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16 November 13
    Book: Land of the Seven Rivers: A Brief History of India's Geography by Sanjeev Sanyal
    ISBN Number: 0670086398, 9780670086399, 978-0670086399


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