A marvelous—and marvelously ambitious—book ... With finesse, the author dwells on the symbolism of dams in India ... While Mr. Sen’s book is undeniably academic, it is pleasingly written and indisputably the single best text on the Ganges and its history.
Does not disclose any new information culled from any lost and found scrolls, papyruses, sketches, artifacts, or manuscripts. The book relies on various known but scattered sources to trace the many biographies of the river. It is a sort of meta-analysis that skillfully pulls together the bits and pieces of information, the macro and micro stories, from various disciplines to compose a more panoramic view of the Ganges, popularly known as Ganga in many languages of the sub-continent ... almost a reference book, written over many years as the complexity of details demonstrates. It is a scholarly tome that brings together historical materials related and unrelated to the river ... This Yale book is a sumptuous buffet and there is plenty for everyone to savor, munch, binge, and even take some home for family and friends.
An all-encompassing history of the river, its ecologies and the people who have lived alongside it for millenniums ... as there are more historical accounts to rely on as various kingdoms were built up and battled over control of the river, the details of dynasty, war and succession bog down Sen’s writing. Snipped narratives of the various kingdoms that fought through the first 1,000 or so years of the common era dominate this middle section, and time (rather necessarily) passes too quickly as Sen details the rise and fall of dynastic rulers in the space of a few pages.