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Friday , January 4 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Paperback Pickings

Heroes and hero worship

Bal Thackeray & the rise of the Shiv Sena (Roli, Rs 350) by Vaibhav Purandare is a biographical account of the rise of Bal Thackeray from being a cartoonist to one of the most important political figures of Maharashtra. In almost childlike adulation, ace journalist Purandare documents every aspect of the rise of his favourite hero and of the Shiv Sena. He also dedicates a few chapters to the warring cousins, Raj and Uddhav Thackeray. Purandare records events like a bystander with a keen eye for details but refrains from being critical of Thackeray or of his actions.

The war ministry (Hachette, Rs 350) by Krishan Partap Singh is a political fiction set in Lutyens’ Delhi. In a style that is best described as hackneyed, Singh gives a ringside view of the murky world of politics and shows how money controls all political and social decisions. Azim Khan, the first Muslim prime minister, assumes power in the aftermath of a messy war with Pakistan. Being the head of a shaky coalition, Khan has to face criticism for all his decisions. The book focuses on the day-to-day activities of the prime minister’s office and peeps into the shady corridors of power — which make for an interesting conspiracy novel. The heavy sprinklings of political intrigue add to the charm.

RIP (Westland, Rs 200) by Mukul Deva is a thriller in Deva’s inimitable style, which, he claims, has been influenced by that of Al Zuckerman. The Resurgent Indian Patriots are a group of six ex-officers and self-appointed guardians of the nation who have vowed to fight corruption at all levels. A fast-paced, crisp novel.