Maha-bharata: The Epic of Ancient India Condensed into English Verse (Translated by Romesh Dutt)
The book is a condensed and translated version of the Hindu epic of a war of the kingdoms in Northern India caught in a scheme of a jealous cousin and five brothers struggling to reclaim their kingdom.
Mr. Dutt provided introductions and summary for each chapter. The summary might spoil the story for the first time readers of the epic but keep in mind that this is a condensed version. Some of the less important scenes were omitted. The contents of these chapters are in English verse form. The translator explained in the epilogue his method in selecting the passages and included here as well as his approach to its translation. This gives the reader an idea how much information was not included in this book. The translator was able to pick out the story of the Pandavas and Kurus buried in all the material added to the original epic. The information provided by Dutt in the epilogue is an excellent guide and introduction to the entire epic itself. There is also a glossary of terms at the end of the book which is very important because the translator retained some names and did not provide notes or translations within the chapters.
I recommend this book for first time readers of the Maha-bharata epic and those who think that all the additions to the original epic make reading it a daunting task. It's a beautiful story about family, friendship, love, and bravery. Although it has plenty of characters the author (or authors) were able to create distinct characters, each with unique traits.
Rating: 9 out of 10