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I purchased this book in the Everyman's Library Classics Edition. The Everyman's Library Classics Edition books are, in my opinion, the best quality books available in the price-range. They are quality bound: with acid-free paper; dust jacket; and ribbon page marker. There are also a great range of authors available in this collection, and they are very reasonably priced.
As someone previously uninterested in the Raj and the British obsession with it, I approached this book with trepidation, on the insistent recommendation of a colleague. He kept saying that although the book is perhaps one of the most obsessive and detailed literary accounts of the last years of the British in India, it is, at the same time, not about that at all, but about the uncertainty of modernity and the clash of tradition with 'enlightenment', the universal tension between same and other, and, ultimately, the human condition as a whole. Well, he was right. What he omitted is how beautifully Paul Scott writes, how masterfully he shifts from the minutest detail to sweeping accounts of military encounters and political tensions. When he dispenses with his desire to be faithful to 'facts' (admittedly my least favourite bits) and returns to his reflective/poetic mode, the effect is often breath-taking, conveying a tension that builds throughout the four volumes of the work, that never quite lets out, and is simultaneously unbearable and exquisite. This is the best way to be introduced to the Raj - although a word of warning: you may never be able to read anything else after, as it will pale by comparison. The Everyman edition does justice to the beauty of the text, and withstands the repeated readings that the book demands.
.......two of the books, of four. Immaculate publication, beautifully printed. Very useful for study. The research by the author is astonishingly excellent. Heavy tome, so not for reading in bed without suppport of some kind. A novel based on history, real life characters, and time lines.