India was the jewel in the crown of the British Empire, an Empire that needed a rail network to facilitate its exploitation and reflect its ambition. But, by building India’s railways, Britain radically changed the nation and unwittingly planted the seed of independence. As Indians were made to travel in poor conditions and were barred from the better paid railway jobs a stirring of resentment and nationalist sentiment grew.
The Indian Railways network remains one of the largest in the world, serving over 25 million passengers each day. In this expertly told history, Christian Wolmar reveals the full story, from the railway’s beginnings to the present day, and examines the chequered role this institution has played in Indian history and the creation of today’s modern state.
An engaging and welcome account of this magnificent institution and its dramatic history up to the present day. ― Spectator
Wolmar entertainingly examines the complicated legacy of the [Indian] railway, the most palpable element of British imperialism. ― Michael Portillo
Railways and the Raj is valuable not only as a lively history of the Indian railways, but as an intervention in our own political moment. ― TLS
Instructive, inspiring and even endearing, Railways and The Raj is a captivating read. ― Shashi Tharoor, author of INGLORIOUS EMPIRE
Railways & The Raj is brilliant – absorbing, engrossing and definitive. ― Michael Williams, author of ON THE SLOW TRAIN
Wolmar tells an epic story, at once shocking and inspiring. Stripped of false nostalgia for the Raj and all its deceptions, India’s railways emerge greater than ever, and still central to the nation’s identity and future. — Simon Bradley ― Author of THE RAILWAYS
Christian Wolmar brings to life the early days of trains in India and describes with great clarity and wit how railways have spread across the vast country over the years. This is not a dry, stuffy read merely for rail enthusiasts. It’s full of energy, enthusiasm and erudition, explaining the role of railways at key moments in the country’s history from early mutinies against the colonialists to independence and beyond. Highly recommended. — Tom Chesshyre ― Author of TICKET TO RIDE
This is one up-to-date book on Indian Railways that captures its history, life, stories and status… A must-read for all those keen followers of India’s railways and for those who want to know all about it. — Rajendra B. Aklekar ― Author of HALT STATION INDIA
About the Author
Christian Wolmar is a writer and broadcaster. He is the author of The Subterranean Railway (Atlantic Books). He writes regularly for the Independent and Evening Standard, and frequently appears on TV and radio on current affairs and news programmes. Fire and Steam: A New History of the Railways in Britain was published by Atlantic Books in 2007.
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