The Early History of India

The Early History of India

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Smith's book is a seminal and comprehensive history of India from antiquity until the Muslim conquest, covering over a millennium that saw Alexander the Great's conquering army arrive as well. From the preface: This edition presents a view of the early history of India as it appears to me after nearly forty years study. It is as accurate and up-to-date as I can make it, but does not pretend to be final, because finality in a work dealing with a subject so progressive is unattainable.

The mass of new matter and fresh discussion accumulated since the publication of the last edition, a little more than five years ago, is so great that difficulty has been experienced in maintaining the decision to confine the book within the limits of a single volume of reasonable size and moderate price.

It would be much easier to expand it to double the length. Notwithstanding constant effort to avoid prolixity and wearisome details, material enlargement, compensated in some measure by certain omissions, has proved inevitable. Readers are invited to remember that the book was designed to be, and still is, primarily a political history. It is not intended to be an encyclopaedia of Indian antiquities, as some critics seem to think that it ought to be.

The History of Fine Art in India and Ceylon (1911), planned as a companion volume in order to give the history of Indian artistic utterance so far as it can be recovered, renders unnecessary any detailed account of the subject in this work. Special treatises on the history of literature, science, philosophy, religion, and institutions, so far as they exist, must be consulted by students desirous of full information on those subjects, which cannot claim more than slight notice in this work. Although emendations in both form and substance have been made in every chapter, the general arrangement remains unaltered.

Oxford University Press. Hardback w dustjacket.

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