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: Who Gets In And Why by Jeffrey Selingo

Updated 20 September 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Who Gets In And Why by Jeffrey Selingo

For anyone interested in how decisions are made about admissions to the top-ranked colleges and universities in the US, Jeffrey Selingo’s Who Gets In And Why is for them. 

“Money talks and privilege walks. In the case of college admissions, it saunters through wrought-iron gates, past signs emblazoned with ‘Welcome Class of’ and into seats at convocation,” Anthony Abraham Jack said in a review for The New York Times. 

Timely and engaging, Who Gets in and Why details “how college admission is rigged in favor of the privileged and how it came to be gamed even further,” said the review. 

“Through revealing interviews with industry leaders and observations of admissions committee deliberations at three schools, Selingo unpacks the myriad ways that colleges’ desperate attempts to climb up in the rankings further open doors to students from more affluent families,” the review added. 

“Universities want to raise their profile, knowing that selectivity is a key measure in rankings. They also want to lock in their full payers early, a desire that may only grow stronger as colleges grapple with budget deficits brought upon by COVID-19,” the review said.