Excavation of a neglected period
Reviewed by Belu Maheshwari
Early Medieval India: A Reader
Ed Upinder Singh.
Oxford University Press. 
Pages 354. Rs 750
History is a vital part of any nation, community or individualís being and a link which provides rootedness to the present. The way history is understood by most people has to be challenged and modified. It can be questioned and theories and concepts can be open to debate and new formulations. There have been major achievements in the past half century of historical investigation. These include a rigorous analysis of political processes, agrarian relations, social stratification and the formation of regional cultures.

Of Arabian knights
Superman Is an Arab
By Joumana Haddad.
Westbourne Press. £8.99
Joumana Haddad, a Lebanese poet and journalist, has written a bold and often very funny polemic on patriarchy in the Arab world. The macho species, Haddad argues, see themselves as "Supermen", and Arab men, in particular, find it hard to reveal their vulnerabilities or share their anxieties with women.

Desperation, love, power and politics
Reviewed by Balwinder Kaur
Delhi Stopover
By Tulika Mehrotra.
Penguin Metro Reads.
Pages 393. Rs 250.
Making it in Los Angeles is far from easy but struggling actress Lila is on her fifth agent and is still waiting for her big break or any break. But what actually breaks is her relationship with her significant other, Armaan. Now at her own breaking point, she flees to her cousinís home in Delhi for two months of peace and quiet. But a favour for a friend lands her squarely in the limelight. Her rest and relaxation is interrupted by opportunity's knocking. Her first sashay down the ramp earns her a plum contract with a premier modelling agency. But all that glitters is not gold.

Riveting tales of trailblazers
Reviewed by Abhishek Joshi
Making News, Breaking News, Her Own Way
Ed. Latika Padgaonkar & Shubha Singh. Tranquebar. Pages 321. Rs 250
Making News, Breaking News, Her Own Way is a compilation of insightful thoughts and experiences of some of the most outstanding women journalists of our times. Their work won them the Chameli Devi Jain Award for Outstanding Women Mediapersons, dedicated to Chameli Devi Jain, a simple housewife who joined the freedom struggle in Delhi. The stories range from the days of Prabha Dutt and Usha Rai to those like Tavleen Singh, Barkha Dutt and Madhu Kishwar. The book also pays tribute to pioneering photojournalist Homai Vyarawalla, whose camera has frozen many moments of historic change.

Zeroing in on the Northeast
Reviewed by Arun Gaur
Highway 39: Journeys through a Fractured Land
by Sudeep Chakravarti. Fourth Estate. Pages xxviii+388. Rs 450
The book delineates the sufferings of the people of the Northeast because of the "political arrogance and ineptitude." This area is far away from New Delhi. Further, it cannot supply more than a few members to the Lok Sabha. These two factors have contributed to its gross neglect by Indian policy makers.