This concise, elegantly written history of the British experience in India holds interest for both experts and general readers. Judd has total command of his material, with interesting stories to tell at every turn. His account is filled with quotations and anecdotes that vividly capture the spirit of the times. The early British competition with the French, the Portuguese, and the Dutch is covered without the usual confusion over a series of oddly named wars, and his telling of the rise of the British East India Company and the transition to imperial rule illustrates the ambivalence of the British. Judd objectively covers the emergence of Indian nationalism and the struggle for independence but ultimately withholds judgment on whether this story is a positive or a negative one, whether the British developed India or exploited it. What he is sure of is that it is astonishingly complex and one of the truly great stories of world history.
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