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I am honestly a bit disappointed in this book from William Dalrymple because he is a favorite author of mine, and I felt like the history of the East India Company was the perfect subject for him to tackle Dalrymple writes vivid, moving and colorful histories of the Indian subcontinent and I thought his idea here that the East India Company represents the prototype of an unregulated corporation run amok was one loaded with implications for the present The epilogue fleshes this idea out quite nicely, and I thought the book would be a hybrid of sorts, with history, political analysis and cultural insights that Dalrymple does quite well But for the most part the book is a quite detailed military history of the region and times It just was not as good as I expected from this author I do recommend Dalrymple to anyone with an interest in the region and time, but I don t feel this was his best. THE TOPSUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLERLONGLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NON FICTION A FINANCIAL TIMES,OBSERVER, DAILY TELEGRAPH AND TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR Dalrymple Is A Superb Historian With A Visceral Understanding Of India A Book Of Beauty Gerard DeGroot, The TimesIn AugustThe East India Company Defeated The Young Mughal Emperor And Forced Him To Establish In His Richest Provinces A New Administration Run By English Merchants Who Collected Taxes Through Means Of A Ruthless Private Army What We Would Now Call An Act Of Involuntary PrivatisationThe East India Company S Founding Charter Authorised It To Wage War And It Had Always Used Violence To Gain Its Ends But The Creation Of This New Government Marked The Moment That The East India Company Ceased To Be A Conventional International Trading Corporation Dealing In Silks And Spices And Became Something Much Unusual An Aggressive Colonial Power In The Guise Of A Multinational Business In Less Than Four Decades It Had Trained Up A Security Force Of Around , Men Twice The Size Of The British Army And Had Subdued An Entire Subcontinent, Conquering First Bengal And Finally, In , The Mughal Capital Of Delhi Itself The Company S Reach Stretched Until Almost All Of India South Of The Himalayas Was Effectively Ruled From A Boardroom In London The Anarchy Tells The Remarkable Story Of How One Of The World S Most Magnificent Empires Disintegrated And Came To Be Replaced By A Dangerously Unregulated Private Company, Based Thousands Of Miles Overseas In One Small Office, Five Windows Wide, And Answerable Only To Its Distant Shareholders In His Most Ambitious And Riveting Book To Date, William Dalrymple Tells The Story Of The East India Company As It Has Never Been Told Before, Unfolding A Timely Cautionary Tale Of The First Global Corporate Power William Dalrymple tells how a single business operation replaced the Mughal empire to rule the Indian subcontinent The East India Company was a first major multi national corporation, and an early example of a joint stock enterprise Most events occur between 1756 1803, around the time of the American and French revolutions The story begins in 1599 with the charter of the Company, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and the lifetime of Shakespeare.The Company was preceded by Walter Raleigh and Francis Drake and included veteran Carribean privateers, state sponsored pirates who attacked the Spanish armada for gold and silver The first Company voyage brought back spice from Indonesia by robbing a Portuguese ship Outdone by the Dutch in the spice trade, the Company began trade in India with the benefits of a British monopoly, license to raise an army and seize territory, all endorsed by the Crown.At the time of the Company s expansion of power the Mughal Empire had been weakened by a series of invasions and internal conflicts Increasing intolerance had pushed Maratha rebels under Shivaji to strike north from the Deccan plateau in the late 17th century Sikhs struck south from the Punjab Prince fought against prince In 1739 the Persian warlord Nader Shah sacked Delhi, and made off with the spoils of an empire The period is known as the Anarchy.Construction of fortifications at a British port in Bengal provoked the local Nawab and Mughal army to destroy the trading post in 1756 Captured British were thrown into the so called Black Hole of Calcutta where a significant number died from trampling and suffocation Robert Clive, a violent and ruthless soldier of fortune hired by the Company, would defeat and plunder the Mughals and oust the French from Bengal, returning home the richest man in Europe.In 1764 the Company put down a Mughal rebellion, and replaced the empire as tax collectors of the wealthiest lands on the subcontinent The Company amassed a private army twice the size of Britain s Draught, famine and Company hoarding caused a massive bailout in 1773 by the Crown Tea shipped west triggered the American revolution, and opium shipped east resulted in war with China At it s height the Company accounted for half of the world s trade.Much is covered during forty years Warren Hastings, Clive s successor as governor of Bengal, attempted to reform the worst excesses of Company rule, and was put on trial by his rival countrymen His successor would be Cornwallis, the general who surrendered the American colonies to Washington Tipu Sultan, Tiger of Mysore , was sought as an ally by Napoleon, until foiled by Nelson at the Nile Tipu was defeated by Wellington of future Waterloo fame.Dalrymple doesn t mince words about events that occured, nor do eyewitnesses of the period On British incursions before the battle of Plassey What honor is left us when we take orders from a handful of traders On the handover of the Mughal empire after the battle of Buxar The entire transaction took less time than the sale of a jackass All was realized under withering fire of artillery, executed by Indians armed and trained by the Company.Dalrymple s unifying narrative source is the Mughal court historian Ghulam Hussain Khan s epic Review of Modern Times He also scoured the India Office collection in London and National Archives in Delhi As noted in the introduction English and Mughal records of the period are extensive Primarily a military account, his contribution is gathering and presenting it all in an entertaining and edifying manner His talent for storytelling is clearly shown.For a look at what corporate capitalism can be, this is a fascinating case The Company thrivedthan 200 years ago Some things have changed, others have not Territorial takeover is frowned upon, but economic conquest is far from over Corporations, lobbyists and politicians can effectively do the same work The will to profit, avoid regulation and taxes, is intrinsic Dalrymple does not state this explicitly in the text, but the parallels are evident. A masterpiece Well researched book on East India Company and India Rarely comes a history book that reads like a fast paced thriller A must read for anyone interested in Indian history.