Epics of history are rare and The Peacock Throne is one of them. No royal lineage offers such a spectacle of high drama as the Mogul Dynasty of India, which created the world's most famous monument-the Taj Mahal. Not since Greek tragedy has there been so stark a revelation of the excesses of human behavior: incest, fratricide, sons revolting continuously against fathers, and the madness of uncontrolled aggression. These are the forces animating The Peacock Throne, which brings India to both Eastern and Western readers as never before. Brilliantly written and structured, the book reads almost like a novel-history shaped with esthetic intent-yet every line is backed by scrupulous research. Great events of Mogul history barely recorded before are climactically portrayed here : the death of the Lady of the Taj in the midst of plague; Shah Jahan the Magnificent's imprisonment and death at Agra fort; the horrifying martyrdom of his son Dara Shikoh; the challenge of the naked homosexual saint Sarmad to Mogul power.
For the first time we are given a vivid psycho-logical portrait in depth of the vice-ridden Mogul royalty who in every way are as fascinat-ing as European kings and queens. Among unforgettable characters are Akbar with his rude genius; opium-eater Jahangir and his power-mad consort Nur Jahan; the fiendish Princess Raushanara who secretly kept nine boys in her apartments to divert her; and Aurangzeb, the most obsessive Mogul of them all. Seizing the peculiar dynamics of the dynasty itself, Waldemar Hansen focuses on India's colossal War of Succession-one of the most important power struggles in all world history, since it paved the way for British rule and a host of conflicts that affect the Indian subcontinent to the present day. Seventeenth-century India, in all its contrasts of opulence and squalor, violence and love, mysticism and war, is the background for the author's powerful and evocative prose.
With the Publication of The Peacock Throne, WA L DEM A R HANSEN garnered widespread encomiums for "history in a different key"-highlights of the critical tributes appear on the back of this jacket. For his monumental study of the Moguls, he made many trips to India over more than a decade, and spent five years in intensive research and writing.. Prodigiously itinerant, Waldemar Hansen early for-sook academic perquisites and donned seven-league boots, becoming a veteran traveller who can truthfully claim intimate first-hand knowledge of virtually every country in the world ! A polyglot writer and personalized historian, he is equally pre-eminent as a specialized "floating" lecturer in global history and culture-world cruise passengers know him well. When at anchor, Waldemar Hansen lives in New York City.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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