Raghu Karnad, Farthest Field: An Indian Story of the Second World War – Fall Lecture at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Athenaeum of Philadelphia is pleased to invite you to its final lecture in October, Farthest Field with author Raghu Karnad. This lecture will take place in the Athenaeum’s Busch room on Saturday, October 31, 2015 at 1:30pm. Come early and see the final day of exhibition City Abandoned by artist Vincent Feldman. The Athenaeum of Philadelphia is located at 219 S. Sixth Street, Philadelphia, PA. The Athenaeum is open Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm and Saturdays from 11am-3pm. Reservations can be made by emailing events@philaathenaeum.org or calling 215-925-2688.

A brilliantly conceived nonfiction epic, a war narrated through the lives and deaths of a single family. The photographs of three young men had stood in his grandmother’s house for as long as he could remember, beheld but never fully noticed. They had all fought in the Second World War, a fact that surprised him. Indians had never figured in his idea of the war, nor the war in his idea of India. One of them, Bobby, even looked a bit like him, but Raghu Karnad had not noticed until he was the same age as they were in their photo frames. Then he learned about the Parsi boy from the sleepy south Indian coast, so eager to follow his brothers-in-law into the colonial forces and onto the front line. Manek, dashing and confident, was a pilot with India’s fledgling air force; gentle Ganny became an army doctor in the arid North-West Frontier. Bobby’s pursuit would carry him as far as the deserts of Iraq and the green hell of the Burma battlefront.

The years 1939–45 might be the most revered, deplored, and replayed in modern history. Yet India’s extraordinary role has been concealed, from itself and from the world. In riveting prose, Karnad retrieves the story of a single family—a story of love, rebellion, loyalty, and uncertainty—and with it, the greater revelation that is India’s Second World War.

Farthest Field narrates the lost epic of India’s war, in which the largest volunteer army in history fought for the British Empire, even as its countrymen fought to be free of it. It carries us from Madras to Peshawar, Egypt to Burma—unfolding the saga of a young family amazed by their swiftly changing world and swept up in its violence.

Raghu Karnad is an award-winning writer and journalist who lives between Bangalore and New Delhi, India. His essay detailing the origins of this book was described by Simon Schama as “nothing short of brilliant.” Farthest Field is his first book.

About the Athenaeum:

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia was founded in 1814 as a member-supported library and museum that engages members, scholars, and the public in the cultural and intellectual life of Philadelphia. For 200 years the Athenaeum has been dedicated to preserving and celebrating America’s rich cultural heritage of architecture, literature, and decorative arts.

For questions or to learn more about the Athenaeum, please visit www.PhilaAthenaeum.org or call (215) 925-2688.


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