A Teardrop on the Cheek of Time: The Story of the Taj Mahal

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9780552154154: A Teardrop on the Cheek of Time: The Story of the Taj Mahal

In 1631, the heartbroken Moghul Emperor, Shah Jahan, ordered the construction of a monument of unsurpassed splendour and majesty in memory of his beloved wife. Theirs was an extraordinary story of passionate love: although almost constantly pregnant - she bore him fourteen children - Mumtaz Mahal followed her husband on every military campaign. But then Mumtaz died in childbirth. Blinded by grief, Shah Jahan created an exquisite and extravagant memorial for her on the banks of the river Jumna. The Taj Mahal took twenty years to build and depleted the Moghul treasuries. But Shah Jahan was to pay a greater price for his obsession. He ended his days imprisoned by his own son in Agra Fort, gazing across the river at the monument to his love. The building of the Taj Mahal had set brother against brother and son against father in a savage conflict that pushed the seventeenth century's most powerful empire into irreversible decline.

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About the Author:

Diana Preston's most recent books are Wilful Murder: The Sinking of the Lusitania (now also a major BBC1 drama documentary), A Pirate of Exquisite Mind and Before the Fall-Out (selected for the Samuel Johnson Prize longlist and winner of the Los Angeles Times Science and Technology Prize). Her new book, Cleopatra and Anthony, will shortly be published by Doubleday. Her co-author is her husband Michael Preston, an historian and traveller.

Review:

"The Prestons' delightful and definitive book tells the monument's full, extraordinary story, not only of the vast undertaking of the building itself, but also the operatic sweep of the dynastic and romantic convulsions behind the project ... Combines tremendous scholarship with a host of cracking stories well told." Sunday Telegraph "The Prestons' richly patterned chintz of a book also delivers a romantic account of the Mughal empire as a whole." The Independent "A hugely entertaining book packed with information, often irrelevant but still fascinating, about the Mughal emperors of India and in particular Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal." Guardian "An enthralling history of extraordinary kings and their peerlessly cultured and opulent lives ... truly unforgettable." Daily Mail "A highly readable potted history of the Moghul empire that produced this extraordinary building...thorougly enjoyable." Financial Times

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