"Stunning (photography)…Recommended for all collections."
Robert Arnett's India Unveiled is obviously a labor of love - a love for the people, the cities, and the traditions of a country that is as fascinating as it is mysterious. India, to American minds, means religious mystics and beautiful dark-eyed women in iridescent saris. It means crumbling ancient gardens and cities swarming with people. Robert Arnett's work captures all of these facets of India and more. It presents the reader with pictures and experiences of each Indian state; all the while searching for the greater meaning buried within the country. This melange of travelogue, photo-journal, and history lesson makes for engaging reading, as well as a festival for the eye. The book is well constructed, dividing the country into six distinct sections. Each section includes a map at the start and is further broken down by headings of cities or other locales. This format allows the reader to navigate the country with ease. The writing style of the work gives the reader an in-depth look at the history of each area, its geography and people, and focuses on details that are not common knowledge among tourists. Because of its large, coffee-table format, Arnett's book is not one that the reader will be able to tuck into her pocket for the journey. This is unfortunate, since India Unveiled gives much information about the tricks and trials of travel in out of the way towns and villages. In this respect, Arnett educates as well as entertains. His personal experiences also reveal a devotion to the people of this country and an appreciation of their ways of life that is rare in travel writing. This, combined with the historical detail of his work, gives the reader quite a complete picture of Indian life and culture. The lush photography immediately makes the large format of the book a necessity. The sacrifice of portable information is a small one to pay for the beauty of Arnett's photos. India comes alive on these pages. The words are descriptive, but the photographs speak volumes about Arnett's fascination with people, culture, and location. A photograph of jute workers in the fields sits opposite the palatial Victoria Memorial, and we understand the depth of diverse experience which is India. Yogis and sandscapes, temples and schoolgirls, palaces, paintings, and prayer flags keep the reader turning the pages, looking to the next photo to expand upon the images of the previous ones. We are not disappointed. The images compose as much of a journal as the words. Arnett, in his Author's Notes says, "This book is a tribute to the traditional values of India." It is a tribute to much more. It is a tribute to the people, the art and the stunning beauty of an entire country. -- Library Journal
India Unveiled by Robert Arnett is a heart-warming portrait of the people, landscape and multi-hued culture of India. India Unveiled is one of the most insightful and revealing compendiums written on India in decades. Arnett has captured for posterity the very essence of India as the oldest continuously surviving civilization on earth. The states of India are organized by regions into six chapters, each with a distinctive map.... [The] photographs and seven maps (all beautifully reproduced in full color on acid-free paper) further enhance the value and beauty of this magnificent volume. Perfect for browsing through by the armchair traveler, yet informative and engaging for any serious student of the culture of the subcontinent, India Unveiled is a highly recommended acquisition for all academic and community library collections.
Outstanding…Engaging…Captivating….For Young Adults: Plenty of report information in an attractive package. --Booklist, American Library Association
Excellent Introduction to Complex Subject
A heart-warming portrait of the people, landscape and multi-hued culture of India. The splendid and breathtaking photography combined with the engrossing narrative enables the readers to feel as if they are actually traveling with the author. Indians say it is one of the few books written by a foreigner who understands the country--which probably accounts for why it is possibly the only book ever published in the West which has been officially recognized by an Indian Prime Minister.
The author…obviously has a special affinity for the country and its people and offers us intimate glimpses into daily life, family situations and friendships. Writing with charm and humor, he skillfully weaves his own personal spiritual journey into an entertaining and informative account of the complex collage of scenes, sounds, colors, tastes and personalities which coalesce into a mosaic only found in India.
Though the setting of this book is India, it is a pilgrimage of devotion which transcends time and place. It achieves a major goal of portraying the one heart behind all hearts. This inspiring book is a "Must Read" for all who are interested not only in India, photography, and art but also the journey of the soul. India Unveiled is a befitting tribute…for a country which has been a beacon of spirituality and is the oldest continuously surviving civilization on earth.
"India Unveiled is a Scholar's Book"
Much of the story of India's civilization, going back 5,000 years, was not recorded by the native population, at least in records that have survived.
For much of our knowledge of early India, we have to turn to diaries of foreign travelers, either European or Chinese, in the 7th through 3rd centuries B.C. To this list of travelers we can add, in modern times, an alumnus of Tulane University who has traveled to India…recording his impressions of its rich multihued culture. Robert Arnett, initially attracted by Indian philosophy, went to India to experience is values and culture for himself.
As a pilgrim, he traveled the length and breadth of India. He visited big cities and remote villages, ancient temples and modern shrines. He stayed with Indians in their homes, participated in local religious rituals and met gurus and scholars. He brought back not only his understanding of an ancient civilization…but also a pictorial and narrative record of his travels.
India Unveiled…is divided into six chapters, each devoted to one region of India. Detailed accounts of his travels are interspersed with his impressions of the places he visited and the people he met. With a Western eye and a positive attitude and deep empathy and reverence for Indian culture, he gives an in-depth look at modern India.
Arnett's journey was not that of a casual traveler. Having been a professor of history at the University of Maryland and a collector or Oriental, African and primitive art, he chose places with cultural significance, or at least found significance in them in the light of his scholarly background and artistic and philosophical interests. …India Unveiled received two prestigious awards: the Small Press Book Award for the best travel book of the year and the Benjamin Franklin Award for the best travel essay of the year.
Arnett's book will reward any one interested in India. Even Indians can learn a lot about their own diverse culture from it.