Journal of World History 7.1 (1996) 141-143
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Karl J. Schmidt's Atlas and Survey of South Asian History, volume 6 in M.E.Sharpe's series "Sources and Studies in World History," is a most welcome contribution to south Asian studies, Asian studies, and world history. [End Page 141]
The best way to review this excellent work is to probe into its breadth and depth of coverage by indicating the subjects Schmidt has selected and described with the help of nearly 100 mostly original maps. A wide range of topics is covered. Generally, one page of text is neatly limited to the left side, while one or more maps faces it on the right.
The Atlas and Survey is conveniently divided into four sections. The first contains three pages of text and twelve maps on geography, climate, and languages (pp. 1-9). The second discusses political and military history (pp. 11-95); with forty pages of text and maps, it is the largest section of the book. Beginning with Harappan culture of the third millennium B.C.E., it deals also with Indo-Aryan south Asia (c.1000 B.C.E.), republics and kingdoms in northern India (c. 700- 450), the Greeks in south Asia (550-50), the growth of the Mauryan empire, and all the major empires and regional powers to contemporary India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Included are topics such as the struggle for power in southern India (550-850 C.E.), the growth of Islam in south Asia (c. 700-1206), European settlements in south Asia (1498- 1763), the growth of the British army (1757-1947), India and its contributions to World War I, princely India (1858-1947), and south Asia and World War II.
The third section presents information on economic, social, and cultural history (pp. 98-135) and is even more enriching and innovative than what precedes. It includes topics on the trade between south Asia and the larger world to 200 C.E., the Indian economy from 1700 to 1757, imports and exports from 1800 to 1947, railway development from 1853 to 1947, the growth of the cotton textile industry (1854- 1947), and economic development in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh since 1947. There are also many interesting topics in the cultural field not usually found in an atlas of this kind on South Asia. These deal with the origins of Jainism and Buddhism in south Asia (c. 500 B.C.E.), south Asian religions and cultural sites (c. 400 B.C.E.-320 C.E.), the spread of Hinduism and Buddhism to southeast Asia, famine in south Asia (1769-1943), higher education in India (1857-1947), south Asians overseas (1830-1994), and population growth since 1871. The topic of popular unrest in India from 1900 to 1947 is covered, as well as urbanization and urban growth in south Asia until 1994.
The final section looks at Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan (pp. 137- 51) and is likewise rich in detail and coverage. Nepal and Sri Lanka to the beginning of the nineteenth century are discussed, as is their subsequent transformation. Special topics, such as the Anglo-Nepali war [End Page 142] of 1814-16, economic development in Sri Lanka from 1815 to 1948, are covered, along with a discussion of Bhutan. The Atlas also provides a glossary of sixty-four technical terms (pp. 153-54), an excellent bibliography of more than two hundred books and monographs, and a detailed index.
The author, Karl J. Schmidt, is a cartographer and historian of south Asia who teaches Asian history at Missouri Southern State College and has traveled widely in the region covered. This is a well-done volume on an important area for which no readily available source of this kind exists for students and teachers of south Asian history. Schmidt has filled a large gap and put us all under great debt. It...