Off the shelf
The world of sati
V. N. Datta

Immolating Women: A Global History of Widow Burning from Ancient Times to the Present
by John Fisch, translated from German by Rekha Kamath Rajan.
Permanent Black, Delhi.
Pages vii + 610. Rs.795.

big and wide-ranging work of global dimension on sati— provocative and challenging, this book contains a formidable 60-page bibliography based on primary and secondary sources. The book also has a special section on tables, maps, illustrations and a broad survey of the sources used on sati by scholars in different parts of the world.

She created her own path
M Rajivlochan
Indira Gandhi
by Inder Malhotra.
National Book Trust, New Delhi. Pages 198. Rs. 65.

the Left from the left and the Right from the right—and, just to keep everyone off-balance, once in a while, inverse the hits. This simple strategy enabled Indira Gandhi to become one of the most successful politicians of modern India. She further consolidated her position by having faith in the Indian people and genuinely being concerned about the well-being of the common person.

No causes for hate
Harsh Desai
by John Updike
Alfred A. Knopf.
Pages 310. Rs 951

many years John Updike was one of my favourite authors. After being introduced to him through his best selling Couples I loved his ‘Bech’ books and the ‘Rabbit’ books and his short stories, particularly Pigeon Feathers. I came to idolise the suburban America that Updike so lovingly described.

Melville: Shakespeare in prose
Darshan Singh Maini

Melville, that 19th Century American novelist could, at his best, be compared with Shakespeare in the power of his range and vision. He wrote a number of romances such as Piere or The Ambiguities, Moby Dick, White Jacket, The Confidence Man & Billy Budd. Of these, the best-known book is, of course, Moby Dick.

Understanding the Gurus’ word
scholar who has worked consistently in the field of Sikh studies, Dr Harnam Singh Shan is a prolific author. His two recent books, Sri Guru Granth Sahib: The Unique and Universal Scripture of the World and So Said Guru Angad Dev are both good examples of his blend of scholarship and devotion.

Eyewitness accounts
Kaviti Soni Sharma

Civil Disobedience Movements in India
India’s Case for Freedom
by C V H Rao. Frog Books, Mumbai. Rs 250 each.

two books under review were first published in 1945. The author was a veteran journalist of the pre-Independence era who had the privilege of interacting with the leaders of the Independence Movement and has provided an excellent eyewitness description of the political drama that unfolded.

Darker side of human nature

A World Lost and Other Stories
by R.P. Sisodia.
Sterling. Pages 248. Rs 150.

all have our moments of glory, fame and achievement. But there are moments when we feel that life has not been kind to us. That is the time when seeds of jealousy are sown that leads us to do strange things. We tend to blame human nature with all its vices with the mask of civilisation disguising them most of the time. But we forget that there are times when circumstances are beyond our control.

Capital’s green guide
Rajnish Wattas

Trees of Delhi
by Pradip Krishen
Dorling Kindersley, Delhi Tourism.
Pages 360. Rs 799

urban environmental degradation issues take centre place, the comprehensive user-friendly field guide Trees of Delhi fills a long-standing vacuum. Earlier attempts on the subject include a 1968 publication by the School of Planning and Architecture; which though useful, was woefully inadequate. Other ‘Garden Cities’ like Bangalore and Chandigarh too have inspired books such as Blossoms of Bangalore and Trees of Chandigarh documenting their tree wealth.

Folk tales & soldiers’ heartbeats
Randeep Wadehra
Love Stories of War Heroes
by Col Gopal Purdhani
Sterling, N. Delhi. Pages: x+155. Price: Rs 100

dwells in places strange as well as mundane. Nothing can be more mundane than a human heart. But what if that human heart belongs to a soldier who is giving battle to enemy and death both? Suddenly, the quality of love soars. It is this heightened sentiment that runs through the pages of this book.

  • Tales from Sri Lanka
    by Manel Ratnatunga
    Sterling, N. Delhi. Pages: 207. Price: Rs 250

  • Maharaja and the Kohinoor
    by Avtar Singh Gill
    Jaswant Printers, Ludhiana. Pages: 128 + Annexure. Price: Rs 150

Books received: Hindi

Old cure