• Category Non-Fiction
  • Format Paperback
  • Imprint Rupa
  • Price 395
  1. ISBN: 9.79E+12
  2. Pages: 376 pages
  3. Date: 2001


This collection of a hundred book reviews, from Sham Lal’s well-known literary column ‘Life and Letters’, gives a vivid idea of how leading social scientists diagnose the ills of modernity, while going into the reasons which led to the collapse of all communist regimes. The book discusses not only the pathologies of globalism, and consumerism but also of the network society which is creating a new class of pariah states. It also analyses the nature of the changes underway, which are infecting contemporary thought with a new virus of nihilism, which dismisses all notions of truth, justice and freedom as partial, provisional and highly unstable. The second part of the book deals with the work of over forty poets, playwrights and novelists. Their experience of the modern world is at a level much deeper than that of discursive thought, and they provide a necessary corrective to the ersatz cheer that is being spread by the proliferating networks of T.V. channels, and ever more efficient means of mass entertainment and instant communication.


Sham Lal joined the Hindustan Times in 1934. He moved to the newly started Delhi edition of the Times of India early in 1950. Soon after he was transferred to the main edition of the paper in Bombay, he began writing a weekly literary column under the general heading ‘Life and Letters’. In 1967 he took over as Editor. His column was the first to introduce many Indian readers to scores of writers and thinkers who left their mark on post-war literature and social thought. For the last seven years, he has been writing regularly for The Telegraph, and occasionally for Biblio: A Review of Books, a literary journal.

Featured Books