Archive for February 6th, 2015

Book Review: Makers of Modern Asia

February 6, 2015

This is a great book to read up and start on Asian history. With the world looking at Asia for future growth and leadership, it is really important to understand how some countries in Asia have been shaped by its leaders.

The book is  a collection of eleven essays covering leaders from India (3 leaders), China (4), Singapore, Indonesia, Pakistan and Vietnam (one each for last four). It is edited by Ram Guha and just like Makers of Modern India (which have just scanned), he tries to shapes the essays to bring key ideas and insights.

The essays on Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore and Deng Xiaoping of China are really illuminating and gives a different perspective. We are made to believe by several economic writers on how these two shaped/reshaped economic development in these countries. They are concerned as magicians who weaved some wand and lo the growth happened. Very few know the background both came from and how it was not and is not just about gains. Huge price has been paid by both countries for the vision of these two leaders.

Likewise essays on Mao, Ho Chi Minh (rare to read on him), Zulfiqar Bhutto and the Indians (Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Indira Gandhi) are interesting as well. Though, keep wondering why Sardar Patel is missed from these essays. The book does not include leaders from Japan and some other charismatic leaders  from Asia. Guha explains why he has not included them.

A brief summary of the book:

(more…)

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