The best books about Delhi 📚

Browse the best books on Delhi as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Capital: The Eruption of Delhi

Capital: The Eruption of Delhi

By Rana Dasgupta

Why this book?

It reads like a great novel but is a great work of non-fiction. The subject is India’s capital as it undergoes massive change and growing polarization. The book gets under the surface of change to reveal some of its costs and consequences. The book is a great blend of reportage, political critique, and sympathetic accounts of the varied citizenry, from the very wealthy to the very poor. A fascinating and empathetic account of rapid change in one of the city's largest cities in one of the world's most populous countries as it both fashions and is impacted by globalization. 

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The best books on cities and their power to change lives and attitudes

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Book cover of Delhi: A Novel

Delhi: A Novel

By Khushwant Singh

Why this book?

I loved this book because this was the first time I came across history in this way. Of course, historical fiction has a long history but this book moves away from that tradition and tells a story of a city in a manner that is somewhere between history and historical fiction, creating a genre of its own. The book is riveting and true to a lot of fascinating historical detail. 

From the list:

The best books that merge genres and writing styles

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Book cover of The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty: Delhi, 1857

The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty: Delhi, 1857

By William Dalrymple

Why this book?

Mixing deep archival scholarship with brilliant storytelling, Dalrymple transports the reader into the final days of the Mughal Empire and its last emperor. The story centers on Delhi during the mutiny against British rule in 1857, the last great attempt by the Indians to throw off their European overlords until Gandhi. What begins with hope ultimately ends in tragedy, for the Mughal poet-ruler who fails to grasp his chance to change history, and the brilliant civilization his empire had fostered.

From the list:

The best Asian history books for a Sunday afternoon

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Book cover of An Obedient Father

An Obedient Father

By Akhil Sharma

Why this book?

A dark story about a corrupt man, An Obedient Father unfolds in a closely observed world. From page one: “It was morning. The sky was blue from edge to edge. I had just bathed and was on my balcony hanging a towel over the ledge. The May heat was so intense that as soon as I stepped out of the flat, worms of sweat appeared on my bald scalp.” The close sensory detail makes a dark story shockingly intimate.

From the list:

The best sensuous writing: literature of India

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Book cover of Out-Innovate: How Global Entrepreneurs--from Delhi to Detroit--Are Rewriting the Rules of Silicon Valley

Out-Innovate: How Global Entrepreneurs--from Delhi to Detroit--Are Rewriting the Rules of Silicon Valley

By Alexandre Lazarow

Why this book?

Alex Lazarow is one of those rare people who can observe things taking place around the world and package them for us in a way we can comprehend that an important change in the way things used to be done is taking place, and if we want to keep up we need to pay attention.  The change Alex sees is in the way start-ups are happening and companies are being structured.  Whereas investors and entrepreneurs alike used to try to create “unicorns” – i.e., companies that “disrupted” an existing sector with little capital investment and could scale from thousands to…

From the list:

The best books for entrepreneurs to learn how to survive and flourish

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Book cover of City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi

City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi

By William Dalrymple

Why this book?

This book introduced a whole new way of travel and history writing for me. It beautifully merges the experiences of the author, his interactions with people, and the history of the city he is engaged with. I loved how he used everyday conversations and experiences to link it back to historical moments and told a chronological story of an amazing city. The book is important to me because it also taught me that travel writing can happen within one’s home and one’s own city. One doesn’t need to travel hundreds of miles, in a foreign country, to engage in travel…

From the list:

The best books that merge genres and writing styles

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