Ashoka: The Search for India's Lost Emperor

Author(s): Charles Allen

Biography & Memoir

Thrilling new biography about the first man to rule all of the Indian subcontinent - Asia's lost emperor, Ashoka.

India's lost emperor Ashoka Maurya has a special place in history. In his quest to govern India by moral force alone Ashoka turned Buddhism from a minor sect into a world religion and set up a new yardstick for government which had huge implications for Asia. But his brave experiment ended in tragedy and his name was cleansed from the record so effectively that he was forgotten for almost two thousand years. But a few mysterious stone monuments and inscriptions survived, and the story of how these keystones to the past were discovered by British Orientalists and their mysterious lettering deciphered is every bit as remarkable as their author himself. Bit by bit, fragments of the Ashokan story were found and in the process India's ancient history was itself recovered. In a wide-ranging, multi-layered journey of discovery that is as much about Britain's entanglement with India as it as about India's distant past, Charles Allen tells the story of the man who was arguably the greatest ruler India has ever known.


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* Thrilling new biography about the first man to rule all of the Indian subcontinent - Asia's lost emperor, Ashoka

Like an explorer in a jungle, stripping away the foliage from a long-forgotten city, Charles Allen brings to light the most extraordinary ruler in Indian history: an emperor who devoted his reign to peace, animal rights, and the pursuit of his subjects' happiness. - Tom Holland 'A labour of love and notable scholarship, Charles Allen's Ashoka is a fitting testament to a forgotten epic of discovery. His own feats of research and synthesis mirror exactly those of the great orientalists whose story he has so ingeniously pieced together. All who relish India's antiquity should read this book' - John Keay 'Charles Allen has a written a thrilling book which reads like a mystery novel. Ashoka, whose story had been forgotten for a thousand years, was rediscovered by a fascinating collection of intrepid amateurs, who combined their daily work with much enterprise to dig, draw and decipher the hidden secrets of the when and whereabouts of India's first great king, whose chakra now adorns the Indian tricolour. Read this and you will see how absorbing history can be' - Lord Meghnad Desai, Author Of Rediscovery Of India.

Charles Allen is the author of a number of bestselling books about India and the colonial experience elsewhere. A traveller, historian and master storyteller he is one of the great chroniclers of India.

General Fields

  • : 9781408701966
  • : Little, Brown Book Group
  • : Little, Brown
  • : February 2012
  • : 234mm X 153mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : March 2012
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 480
  • : 1
  • : Hardback
  • : Charles Allen