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A must read for every lover of history, political movements, social reform and India - to see where the first prime minister came from. View 1 comment. View all 4 comments. A couple of years ago, my personal interest in Current Affairs was blooming out of my appreciation and love for beauty that exists. And the more I ended up trying to understand what it all is, and how, I also ended up with a 'why'.
This paved the way for me to know and understand what had happened before, to lead to the now. How the forces of history shaped and moulded the present. To pursue that, this was the book I chose, to understand the world history, before exposing myself to any other spe A couple of years ago, my personal interest in Current Affairs was blooming out of my appreciation and love for beauty that exists. To pursue that, this was the book I chose, to understand the world history, before exposing myself to any other specific histories of any kind.
Jawaharlal Nehru wrote the contents of this book as a set of a hundred and ninety-six letters to his daughter Indira while he was in the Central Prison at Naini, the District Jail at Bareilly, and the District Jail at Dehra Dun, from January 1, until August 9, The letters were then published as a book in two volumes in the following two years.
Having written to his daughter, who being of thirteen summers at the time, the writing is easy for a youngster to understand the stuff of the book. The only problem of the book is however, that the retelling of history is only until There is a small page Postscript that has been added as an update written on November 14, , which gives the reader a brief synopsis of what happened in the later five years.
Although it is a BIG book my largest non-fictional reading till date, and I am doubtful that this record might break: P , the amount of details of the history is still in brief and is superficial. However it is enough to cover nearly everything that has largely taken place until The book grabs a lot of pages in the following ways: However, it can be justified that not much of recorded history was available in those times that pertained to that place.
And also not to forget that much of the contents of the book letters were written out of the author's good memory. To conclude, a really good book, for anyone who wants to know most of the world's history.
Although a huge book, it can be a fast-read, and easy to understand and follow.
Certainly recommended to anyone who is new to history. Mar 01, J. Watson aka umberto rated it really liked it Shelves: View all 7 comments. Sep 20, Alireza Nourian rated it it was amazing. Mar 15, Shreya Shreya rated it really liked it Shelves: I read this book because one of my best teachers recommended it to me. I must say I enjoyed this book though I conveniently picked other books and procrastinated it at times.
The reason was the book's format was not very pleasing to the eye. Nehru does intend to take you through the beginning of time to the then current political scenario of the world. He does it very briefly and ofcourse leaps from one time to another, one field to another, but by the end gives you a proper panoramic view of th I read this book because one of my best teachers recommended it to me.
He does it very briefly and ofcourse leaps from one time to another, one field to another, but by the end gives you a proper panoramic view of the history and politics of the world that matters. It was easier for me to read and also comprehend this book for a simple reason that the frame of reference was Indian or Eastern culture, values or ideas.
Being able to see things from this perspective, helped me draw my own conclusions better. Also, I found that Nehru is a socialist in nature, meaning his ideologies tend to tilt left.
All in all, I say these glimpses of history that he wrote for his daughter gives an insight to the world in ways that you can have a timeline in your head and also see the cause factors of various incidents of history and also remember them to some extent.
However, for people who are already aware of most happenings of history, this book will not really add much to your knowledge. Now, I have decided to read history books that go deeper than that of the brief analysis of Nehru's. Nov 13, Perumal rated it it was amazing.
Glimpses of World History - Wikipedia
One of my all time favourites! You can't read this book and not be in awe of the man! His intellect, his education and his language I thought the review in the back of the book summed it up very well. I am not a fan of Nehruvian socialism as it is defined and understood today Above all, Nehru was a rebel He was a man of his time..
If he was alive today, he would still be a rebel I would so love to buy this in Kindle or hardcover! Jul 18, Mansoor Azam rated it really liked it. Picked up this one randomly.. But watever it was thankful, that i got it and read it. Nehru's brilliant intellect, deep humanity and lucid style make The Discovery of India essential reading for anyone interested in India, both its past and its present.
But to find that the book is actually a combination of letters wr Picked up this one randomly.. But to find that the book is actually a combination of letters written by Nehru to his school going daughter in which he attempted to make his daughter pass through different ages of history seemed so sweet and awesome to me.
Dec 25, Stephen rated it it was amazing Shelves: In , a man who would later become the first prime minister of India was thrown in jail for a period of two years. There, removed from his family and regretful that he was forcibly absent from his daughter Indira's life, Jawaharlal Nehru labored to impart what wisdom he could through a series of letters.
Beginning in October and ending in August , the letters -- written in a loving and erudite pen -- cover the whole of the human story, from prehistory 'til the "present day" of Composed from memory, notes, love for his daughter, and fervent if beleaguered hope for humanity, Glimpses is an extraordinary collection.
Of course, their author was an extraordinary man. I first encountered him some six years ago, when I watched the film Gandhi and found him such a sympathetic figure that I read his biography and became utterly transfixed by him.
Most striking was a story his biographer, Shashi Tharoor shared -- that Nehru was so unnerved by his support in office that he wrote an anonymous letter warning people to be more skeptical -- "Nehru has all the makings of a dictator Having read Glimpses, having spent upwards of a month with Nehru, reading these intimate letters to his daughter, I can more readily believe that he wrote such a thing. Here was a man whose deep appreciation for human history allowed him to create from memory and notes, an epic history of the world without recourse to a library -- who would, in the progress of the letters, continually connect them to one another in one fabric of historical reflections.
He was as conversant with the weaknesses and pains of the human experience as the potential and glory.
Glimpses reminded me much of H. Wells' Outline of History, and this is no accident; Nehru quotes it a few times, using it as one of his sources. While Wells and Nehru share a common worldview, however -- scientifically centered and politically progressive, the two combining in a ready belief that science was on the precipice of conquering politics and economics with state socialism -- Nehru writes more broadly of the world.
Not surprisingly, India and Southeast Asia are at the book's heart. Even when writing on other topics, like Ireland's perennial fight with England, allusions to India are common.. These connections are partially the result of him writing as teacher to his daughter, but as he admits the letters serve him as well, allowing him to reflect and inwardly digest the lessons of history.
As an actor in India's ongoing drama for independence, no doubt there are lessons he hopes to apply in practice. He also draws out these lessons in contradiction, contrasting "priest-ridden" India with China, which he views as more rationalistic even in antiquity. Again with Wells, Nehru is not a fan of organized religion, largely viewing it as nothing more than elaborate conspiracy to keep people from thinking about being poor. He does not blame it for every ill of the world, however, referring to it often being used as the mere cover for more mundane conflicts.
What does Glimpses offer the modern reader?
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For starters, Nehru's history regularly visits India, southeast Asia, and the middle east in a way that westerners at least probably do not encounter. I have never read about India colonialism, for instance, and have only encountered Persian history post-Sassanids when I sought it out deliberately. There is the virtue of novelty, then, but Nehru makes this all the more valuable by relentlessly chronicling areas' histories in connection with one another; they're not disjointed.
Even when Nehru is forced to make sudden jumps, he offers recaps and reviews to remind his daughter, of what we discussed previously. Considering that there are nearly two hundred letters, this is especially helpful. There is also Nehru's teaching style to consider. This is not an academic history, but the counsel of a parent to a child, and it is therefore tender.
When he devotes four chapters to the trade crisis and Great Depression, one suspects he is writing more for his own benefit, but Nehru frequently stops chronicling to reflect. It is here when he is musing on the lessons these recollections to have teach us that Nehru sounds most loving, most wise.
He is a pleasure to listen to, to spend time with, and this is an invaluable attribute for an author. Even if a reader disagrees with a man, it is possible to listen to him, take him seriously, and earnestly reason together with him -- if he is a sympathetic author. If he is a boor bellowing in confrontation, there is neither wisdom nor argument to find, only courage in one's prejudices. Nehru is no boor -- and neither is he a bore. While Nehru was a political figure, his history does not limit itself to politics; he frequently dwells on literature, architecture, and poetry, frequently including verses for his daughter's consideration.
Glimpses Of World History
He also includes tables of trade and population statistics, because fifteen year olds eat that stuff up. Obviously, I prefer Gandhi's strident village anarchism to any sort of state-centered scheme, but Nehru isn't an extremist. He writes of science that humility goes hand in hand with knowledge, as every discovery only creates further questions. He exhibits that humility most of the time, frequently chronicling the unintended consequences of government actions and the chronic moral frailties of man.
If Nehru has a blind spot, it is authoritarian socialism, and particularly his enamored take on Stalin. While the author is happy to accept Roosevelt's tinkering with the American economy as a kind of socialism, he declares that Hitler's tinkering with the German economy had nothing at all to do with socialism despite its "National Socialism" name.
Both were using the state to 'buffer' the economy on behalf of: The big difference between Nehru's writing on Stalinism and his writing in the hundreds of pages before is that with Stalin, he is writing on the present, without benefit of hindsight. I imagine that if Nehru were to live in our own time, he would present a view of Stalinism -- and Maoism, and Pol Potism, and Juche, and the other variations which have killed and enslaved many millions in the 20th century -- that is more critical, his being able to see the consequences from afar.
I do not believe his love for the common man would be diminished in the least, nor would his hope. This was a man who concluded his letters in the s, when Japan and Germany stood astride the world, when the democracies were ailing and impotent, when India still languished under foreign domination -- and yet he urged his daughter to not take a dismal view of the world: For history teaches us of growth and progress and of the possibility of an infinite advance for man; and life is rich and varied, and though it has many swamps and marshes and muddy places, it has also the great sea, and the mountains, and snow, and glaciers, and wonderful starlight nights especially in gaol!
So that each of us may well say: Glimpses was a book, for me, six years in the waiting, and worth the waiting. I hope to spend more time with Nehru in his Discovery of India. Jan 14, Salman Tariq rated it it was amazing. One might have difference in political stance with Nehru regarding partition but his historical accolade shine among the top. This writing is a stamp of his broad vision , adversity , travesty about the world.
It contains collection of letter written during jail time to his daughter. With brief Salam dua every letter deals with history from beginning of time to the present world. As he move along from past to present things get more detailed.
Its very unconventional ,yet interesting way of teac One might have difference in political stance with Nehru regarding partition but his historical accolade shine among the top.
Its very unconventional ,yet interesting way of teaching history. What I enjoy reading was how first world war was shaped , I could almost feel tanks passing by me and earth ripped apart by hatred and greed.
He is not only a good story teller but also good analytic of political personalities. A must read - high five: May 02, Pawan rated it it was amazing. This book is a collection of almost letters that Nehru had written to his daughter Indira Gandhi at that time Indira Nehru from pr http: This book is a collection of almost letters that Nehru had written to his daughter Indira Gandhi at that time Indira Nehru from prison in an effort to teach her about world history and so the style of writing is very conversational and informal making it a very interesting read.
He has traced human history of almost all parts of the world from BC to the present day world and has taken a very non-biased view of events. This was probably the first attempt to write history from non-anglican bias and hence gives equal importance to civilizations which are non-European. Also, it is not just a collection of dates and names but looks in more detail about how these civilizations flowered and then floundered. He has also given detailed accounts of evolution of various major religions of the world.
I found his description of origin of Islam to be very interesting and that is something that has remained with me for a long time. I am sure he was also influenced in some parts by his own thoughts and association with Mahatma Gandhi and he must have given more importance to certain aspects. Probably that is the reason for writing in detail about King Ashoka and Mongol Empire.
I really feel that history should be taught in schools in this manner and definitely not the way we studied in our schools. Apr 19, Sabil Ali rated it it was amazing Shelves: One of the best book i have ever read.
You will be astonished by the vastness and depth of Jawaharlal nehrus knowledge. He wrote these letters with historical references without any reference, from his notes and memory. The great values kept by Nehru can be seen throughout this book. This book created in me a interest to study about world history. History which used to be a boring subject in school with dates suddenly started becoming too interesting.
A must read book for all. Jul 31, Marut Lucky rated it really liked it Shelves: Before this I have read only one book of world history and that was world civilization by E. That book mostly focused on the culture of Europe and its war and its consequence and about its civilization. In that book there very little space was for the civilization of China, Japan or India and even of Russia.
But this was really a good one having detailed history of China. The purpose of the book was to make Indira Gandhi aware of the history of the world and I think it might have been f Before this I have read only one book of world history and that was world civilization by E.
The purpose of the book was to make Indira Gandhi aware of the history of the world and I think it might have been folly of Indira if she might not have thought about the world history so seriously. Though for Indira it might have been tough to read at the age of thirteen but this is a book which can be taken seriously even by someone interested in serious history.
The description of event taking place during the early 20th century is vivid. Anyone wanting to do serious research for that period about the world history can surely take the reference of the book. This was my second book of Nehru and before this I have read his Discovery of India.
After reading both these books i have developed a great respect for him. The language used by him is poetic. Generally when you read some book by academician his language is to moribund but language of Nehru force you to read his book. The admiration for Him in my mind has also increased just because i didn't find any figure about whom till this date i know, and about that personality he has not discussed something. The best example is of Al- Afghani. In the book of Pankaj Mishra's first time I found this name, Mishra has written a book about Al- Afghani and I think very few might have heard his name but Nehru has mentioned even such a forgotten name.
The most interesting thing is about the history of China, about history of Japan, about history of South east Asian countries, about history of Russia, in these discussions you can see his love for China.
So it do not seems intriguing when he believed that China would not attack India during the Sino-India war. His understanding of demerits of capitalism is visible when he criticizes it and it is visible that if he is given chance he will opt socialism which he did.