Of Fanás and Forecastles: The Indian Ocean and Some Lost Languages of the Age of Sail. Amitav Ghosh is tracing the culture and language of the lascars, the diverse Indian Ocean "natives" who made up the rosters on so many sailing ships. In 11 parts, the first nine are up now: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. RIDLH, of course
Given how little thought India’s contribution to the World Wars gets in our collective historical memory, it is almost strange to think that in the First World War India made the largest contribution to the war effort out of all of Britain’s colonies and dominions. Close to 1,700,000 Indians – combatants and non-combatants – participated in WWI. My own area of interest is India’s role in the Mesopotamian theatre. [more inside]
An interview with John Updike on Terrorist, his most recent novel. Some reviews: Kakutani, Donohue (USAToday), and fellow novelist Amitav Gosh (Wapo).