So many talks, so many authors, so may books, not enough time. A problem with multi-day festivals is not famine but gluttony, the smorgasbord threatens to overwhelm the ardent acolyte, and so you fall back on reading the description and the title.
With a good title like The Billionaire Raj, there is no doubt about either the theme of the book or the talk. I immediately knew what it was, and I also knew that while I only had a vague idea of James Crabtree, I have read and loved everyone of William Dalrymples’ books. (Though love perhaps is too pallid a word for the emotions bestirred by his well researched tales of the unsavoury and sometimes horrific histories of the Raj).
So the talk on Billionaire Raj could be clickbait titled as Robber Barons or the Riotous East, but Billionaire Raj is enough — a perfect title that both describes the topic and evokes a slighty sordid horror at the return of the robber barons.
In a talk that raced at top speed from the killer instincts of the politically astute to the fabulous riches of the golden toilets, Jame Crabtree and William Dalrymple unpacked the economic phenomenon that created fortune of the Rockefellers and the Carnegies were identical to those creating the startlingly obscene wealth of the Adanis and the feuding Ambanis.
In sharp English accented staccato, and a deadpan face to rival the Zuck’s, James Crabtree delivered a breathtakingly insightful talk on a book that took him months or years to write.
I love that succinctness..
Here’s the link to the book —