Flying high at 75
B. G. Verghese
Himalayan Eagles: History of the Indian Air Force (Volumes I, II & III)
by Pushpinder Singh. The Society for Aerospace Studies, New Delhi. Pages 612. Price not stated.
It is a pity that so little of India’s military history has been written. This is partly because Indians seem somewhat unhistorical and have often left it to others to write about themselves. However, excessive classification has also been greatly inhibiting.


A blueprint for harmony
Mohit Goswami
Discordant Democrats
by Arun Maira. Penguin. Pages 210. Rs 395.
india is among the largest democracies in the world, and a vibrant one at that, but discord appears to be the main impediment in its development. All sections of society have their say, with vested interests throwing in their weight for their selfish motives, and progress is the casualty in the process. This book presents a blueprint for arriving at consensus among varied groups, having different backgrounds and needs, and paints a picture of harmony among antagonistic shades of opinion.

Of love and hope
Deepika Gurdev
High Tea in Mosul
by Lynne O’Donnell. Cyan. Pages 213. US $21.95
They arrived with a suitcase in their hands, with the men they’d fallen in love with. It was to a land they’d soon grow to love. It was a journey, they hadn’t quite imagined. There were no potatoes. Unthinkable. Like so many others, they were journey women. Is it an ordinary story?

OFf the shelf
Forgotten treasure trove
V. N. Datta
1857 Revisited: Based on Persian and Urdu Documents
Ed. Prof S.M. Azizuddin Husain. Kanishka Publishers, New Delhi. Pages VIII+329. $45.
The book opens with a 32-page scholarly introduction written in a modest spirit and in free and flowing Urdu prose, bereft of artifice and frills. The author, Prof S. M. Azizuddin Husain, a Professor and Head of the Department of History at Jamia Millia Islamia and a specialist in medieval history, has compiled in this work the generally neglected primary Urdu and Persian source-material relating to the Revolt of 1857.

Superb recreation of a lost world
Chandak Sengoopta
Filming: A Love Story
by Tabish Khair Picador. Pages 399. £16.99.
Many tried in the late 19th century to set pictures in motion, but the cinema, as we know it, began only with the demonstration of the Cin`E9matographe by the brothers Auguste and Louis Lumi`E8re at a Paris caf`E9 in 1895. Within months, the brothers had dispatched representatives to demonstrate their invention all over the world. Bombay was one of the earliest cities to be visited and the new technology proved an immediate hit.

Biography that jingles
S. Raghunath
ho, in the long run, benefits mankind more? Is it the deviser of a new literary form or the inventor of a new machine? If the answer is the deviser of a new literary form, then Edmund Clerihew Bentley has served mankind more enduringly than the inventor the motor car.

Comic take on life
Arun Kumar
irgin Comics and MySpace have teamed up to launch Coalition Comix, a new online comic book platform, allowing readers to work with leading comic book creators in developing new characters and stories.

Are Harry Potter books bad for children?
Sunandita Dasgupta
s Pottermania rages across the world with the launch of the seventh and final instalment in the tales of the boy wizard, so does a debate about whether the Harry Potter books could affect children in an adverse way by promoting witchcraft and superstition.

Back of the book
The Queen of the Night
by Paul Doherty, Headline. Pages 452. £2.99
August 314 AD: the cosseted world of Rome’s rich and powerful is rocked by a series of violent abductions, as the elite’s children are kidnapped and held to ransom. Meanwhile, veterans of Constantine’s army are being barbarously murdered; the killings reminiscent of the gruesome practices of the Picts whom they fought many years before.