Ancient Worlds: An Epic History of East and West by Michael C. Scott

Ancient Worlds Michael Scott

Rating: 3 Stars ★★★☆☆

The ants were as big as wild foxes and they bored tunnels into the earth, mole-like, excavating soil into towering piles on the surface.

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With stunning range and richness Ancient Worlds illustrates how the great powers and characters of antiquity shared ambitions and crises, ways of thinking and forms of governing: connections that only grew stronger over the centuries as political systems evolved, mighty armies clashed, universal religions were born and our modern world was foreshadowed.

Scott focuses on three epochal ‘moments’ across the ancient globe, and their profound wider significance: from 509-8 BCE (birth of Athenian democracy and Rome’s republic, also the age of Confucius’s teachings in China); to 218 BCE (when Hannibal of Carthage challenged Rome and China saw its first emperor); to 312 CE, when Constantine sought to impose Christianity on the Roman world even as Buddhism was pervading China via the vast trading routes we now know as the ‘Silk Roads.’

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Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India by William Dalrymple

Nine Lives William Dalrymple

Rating: 4 Stars ★★★★☆

Twin hills of blackly gleaming granite, smooth as glass, rise from a thickly wooded landscape of banana plantations and jagged palmyra palms.

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A Buddhist monk takes up arms to resist the Chinese invasion of Tibet – then spends the rest of his life trying to atone for the violence by hand printing the best prayer flags in India. A Jain nun tests her powers of detachment as she watches her best friend ritually starve herself to death.

Nine people, nine lives; each one taking a different religious path, each one an unforgettable story. William Dalrymple delves deep into the heart of a nation torn between the relentless onslaught of modernity and the ancient traditions that endure to this day.

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The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

The Jungle Book Kipling

Rating: 3 Stars ★★★☆☆

It was seven o’clock of a very warm evening in the Seeonee hills when Father Wolf woke up from his day’s rest, scratched himself, yawned, and spread out his paws one after the other to get rid of the sleepy feeling in their tips.



Plot

When Father Wolf and Mother Wolf find a man-cub in the jungle, they anger the greedy tiger Shere Khan by refusing to surrender it to his jaws, and rear the child as their own. But when little Mowgli grows up, the pack can no longer defend him. He must learn the secret of fire, and with the help of his friends Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear, he faces his nemesis at last.


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