5 Books That Write The History Of The World In Water

History is composed of narratives. It is a body of retrospective views that launch back into time from curious vantage points. And so, in an attempt to broaden our understanding of our collective past, while also discovering interesting alternate pathways through which it could be uncovered, we are curating a list of ‘Alternate Histories’, with the first instalment taking you back in time through ‘water’. From the fabled Saraswati and its secret view of the Indus Valley Civilisation to the Adriatic, a witness to the modern refugee crisis, our collection of historical non-fiction journeys through multiple histories via various waterways.

The Lost River: On the Trail of the Sarasvati by Michel Danino

Unveiling the mysteries of a vanished river, Michel Danino’s “The Lost River” explores the mystical Sarasvati, ancient India’s revered waterway. Weaving together archaeology, mythology, and geological science, Danino delves into Sarasvati’s role in shaping Indian civilisation. Positioning the lost river as the key to the Indus Valley Civilisation, it explores the effects of its disappearance on the course of history. Embark on a captivating journey to a bygone era, where a lost river holds the secrets of a forgotten civilization.

The Edge of the World: How the North Sea Made Us Who We Are by Micheal Pye

Unveiling a forgotten era, Michael Pye’s “The Edge of the World” presents the North Sea as the crucible of modern Europe. Travel back to a time when this turbulent water body, and not land, was the highway for Vikings, traders, and revolutionaries. With its unforgiving waves shaping not only commerce and warfare, but also law, science, and contemporary conceptions of marriage, the North Sea emerges as a lost chapter of history that forged the very foundation of our world.

Land of the Seven Rivers by Sanjay Sanyal

“Land of Seven Rivers” explores India’s vibrant history through the lens of its geography. Author Sanjeev Sanyal delves beyond the mighty rivers, examining how mountains, coastlines, and even the sea itself shaped empires, trade routes, and cultural development. Prepare to be surprised as Sanyal sheds new light on familiar events and exposes the fascinating interplay between land and sea in India’s grand narrative.

Indus Basin Uninterrupted by Uttam Kumar Sinha

Delving across millennia, “Indus Basin Uninterrupted” by Uttam Kumar Sinha transcends a mere river narrative. Sinha unveils the Indus not just as a waterway, but as a lifeblood shaping empires, commerce, and conflict. From Alexander’s conquests to the birth of nations, this book explores how the Indus basin has been a stage for humanity’s drama, leaving readers pondering the enduring influence of water on territory and politics.

Adriatic: A Concert of Civilisations at the End of the Modern Age by Robert D. Kaplan

Unveiling the Adriatic Sea as a crucible of global change, Robert Kaplan’s “Adriatic: A Concert of Civilizations at the End of the Modern Age” journeys through history, politics, and culture. Explore how this vital waterway transcends beauty, becoming a microcosm of the challenges shaping our world – from rising populism to the refugee crisis.

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