What We Are Reading Today: The British in India - A Social History of the Raj

Updated 31 December 2018

What We Are Reading Today: The British in India - A Social History of the Raj

Author: David Gilmour

The British in India: A Social History of the Raj is a brilliant historical account, which avoids over simplifications or political posturing.
Author David Gilmour states: “This book is a social history rather than a political one, and it is about individuals rather than institutions.”
“With The British in India: A Social History of the Raj, Gilmour, metaphorical microscope in hand, has written a broad-ranging but precise and intimate examination of the British men and women who served and lived on the subcontinent,” said Isaac Chotiner in a review published in The New York Times.
“Gilmour does not offer much in the way of assistance to people who may be unfamiliar with the workings of the British administration in India, or the contours of Indian history, but he is so wide-ranging and diligent that it almost doesn’t matter,” said Chotiner.
William Dalrymple, reviewing the book The Guardian, said: “All British colonial life in India is here presented in elegant prose.”
“Gilmour, author of biographies of Rudyard Kipling and Curzon, in this book draws on more than 30 years of research in the archives, and presents an astonishing harvest from diaries, memoirs, letters and official documents of the era.”


What We Are Reading Today: The Music of Time by John Burnside

Updated 21 January 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Music of Time by John Burnside

Poetry helps us to make sense of our world, transforming what the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam called the “noise of time” into a kind of music. 

The Music of Time is a unique history of 20th-century poetry by one of today’s most acclaimed poets, blending incandescent personal meditations with rare insights about a broad range of poets who distilled the essence of the moment, gave voice to our griefs and joys, and shaped our collective memory.

Bringing together poets from times and places as diverse as Tsarist Russia, 1960s Harlem, and Ireland at the height of the Troubles, John Burnside reveals how poetry responded to the dramatic events of the century while shaping our impressions of them. 

He takes readers from the trenches of World War I to a prison cell in Nazi Germany, and from Rilke’s grave in the Swiss Alps to Dylan Thomas’s Welsh seaside. His luminous narrative is woven through with insights into the poet’s creative process as well as lyrical and thought-provoking digressions on topics ranging from marriage to the Kennedy assassination.

A spellbinding work of literary history, The Music of Time reveals how poets engaged with the most important issues and events of the 20th century, and bears personal witness to the beauty and power of an art form unlike any other.