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The Honourable Company talks about the rise of the East India Company, its reach at the time and its effects on empires that are at the top of their game today.
Summary Of The Book
The book chronicles 200 years of the East India Company's rise from a small group of traders in 1600 to the industrialized machination it came to be in the world. The book explains how this small group of Elizabethan traders went on to control half the world's trade all the way from Southern Africa to China. Readers are lead through the rule of Elizabeth I to Queen Victoria in the author's quest to explore the ways of the Company.
What began as a mission to acquire profit from the flourishing spice trade which was then dominated by the Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish and an attempt at selling wool, with skilled deception and booming sales in opium clubbed with increasing trade rights in India, came to foster some of the largest fortunes in British history, like that of Thomas Pitt, the great-grandfather of Prime Minister William Pitt. The book goes on to talk about the establishment of the cities of Bombay and Calcutta, the wars the Company waged, its vast empire and its final take-over by the British Government. There are intriguing characters to be met and enchanting places to be explored. The author takes us on a journey through the history of India and and how the East India Company's activities have quite possibly given shape to modern Singapore and Hong Kong.
What makes The Honourable Company stand out amongst many books of the same genre is that the author has managed to weave through the myriad facts and possibilities, relatable concepts like romance, adventure, tragedy and humor written in colorful language that does not fail to captivate.
About John Keay
John Keay is an English author and writer who specializes in history pertaining to India and countries of the Far East.
He has authored 20 books on the subject of history on various countries of the East. These include: China: A History, Into India, India Discovered: The Achievement Of The British Raj, The Royal Geographical Society History of World Exploration, and Indonesia: From Sabang To Merauke. His book Collins Encyclopaedia of Scotland has become the standard reference book on Scotland.
Keay primarily writes about colonisation of countries by the Europeans and focuses on their explorations in the East.
He studied modern history at the Ampleforth College, York and Magdalen College. He began his career at The Economist as a political correspondent. On a trip to Kashmir in 1963, he enjoyed the place so much that he has continued to return to India every 2 years. He has also made several documentaries for the Third Programme and contributed stories to BBC Radio in his career as a writer and presenter for the channel.