Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan

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Product Details

W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date
6.5 X 9.3 X 1.2 inches | 1.4 pounds

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About the Author

Ruby Lal is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and History at the Johns Hopkins University. Her research focuses on issues of gender relations in Islamic societies in the pre-colonial world.


This is an outstanding book, not only incredibly important but also a fabulous piece of writing. Here, India's greatest empress is reborn in all her fascinating glory in a luminescent account of her life and times. Ruby Lal has written a classic--one of the best biographies to come out this year and certainly the best ever of Nur Jahan.--Amanda Foreman, author of The World Made by Women
What an extraordinary and detailed account of a remarkable woman--amazing! A very impressive, thorough, poetic, humane work.--Deepa Mehta, filmmaker and screenwriter
An enchanting evocation of the brilliant Mughal Empire and a tender tribute to India's first female leader. Lush and sensuous, a jewel box of a book.--Rosalind Miles, author of Who Cooked the Last Supper? The Women's History of the World
Ruby Lal's marvelous account of Empress Nur Jahan's life is as intriguing, inspiring, and relevant to us today in 21st-century America as it was to her times in 17th century India.--Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran
Lal's intriguing biography, with its chronology of [Nur Jahan's] relatively swift rise to power and even swifter descent, restores [her] to her full splendour.--Jane Ciabattari
There's much more to the story [of Nur Jahan], as historian Ruby Lal reveals in her fascinating new book--Randy Dotinga
Lal has done a service to readers interested in the Mughal period and the many forgotten or poorly remembered women of Indian history.--Vikas Bajaj
Ms. Lal has not only written a revisionist feminist biography; she has also provided a vivid picture of the Mughal court, with its luxuries, beauties, intrigues and horrors. Moreover, at a time when India's Hindu-nationalist government chooses to emphasise one strain in the country's history, she offers a reminder of the diversity of Indian tradition.
A luminous biography...It is a captivating account, its depth of detail recreating a world whose constraints of lineage would seem to preclude the advance of an unknown, self-made, widowed queen...Lal's book is an act of feminist historiography.--Rafia Zakaria
The author's descriptions of Agra are superb, and her detailed explanations of Nur's upbringing reflect her long study, deep understanding, and modern take on a little-explored subject...[Nur] must be held as one of history's great independent, powerful women. A page-turning, eye-opening biography that shatters our impressions of India as established by the British Raj.
Lal makes clear her subject's relevance...Closely researched and vividly written, this telling finds that the truth is as fantastic and fascinating as myth.