Alex Von Tunzelmann begins the first chapter of her book, Indian Summer: The Secret History Of The End Of An Empire, with this provocative and silly paragraph:
“In the beginning, there were two nations. One was a vast, mighty and magnificent empire, brilliantly organized and culturally unified, which dominated a massive swathe of the earth. The other was an undeveloped, semi-feudal realm, riven by religious factionalism and barely able to feed its illiterate, diseased and stinking masses. The first nation was India. The second was England.”
In the next paragraph, she makes it clear that she thinks that the history of India began in the sixteenth century with the Mughal Emperors. She is wrong about India, and she is wrong about England. She lost me in the first three paragraphs. I have kept her book aside.