I first heard of The Buddha in the world durring an interview of the author Pankaj Mishra on NPR. His interview was fascinating discussing what I felt was a subject that could use a freash approach. I picked up the book soon thereafter and tried to get into it. The subject interests me very much but mr Mishra never engaged me. His personal stories and his dry historical accounts were forced. It almost seemed like this was writen as one would a pre-graduate college paper on an assighned subject with mounds of reference books close by. the book has but little continueity or flow. I was dissapointed, but maybe my expectations were too high. Even as a history book I would look elsewhere.
I enjoyed Mishra's The End of Suffering; however, as others have commented, the book would have been improved simply by leaving out a lot of the philosophical material, especially in the last third of the book. Is it really necessary to show links between Nietszche, for example, and the Buddha? Do we really care the David Hume's philosophy comes near to that of the Buddha? These sidelines detract from, rather than aid, the author's argument for the timeliness of the Buddha's message. However, I did really enjoy Mishra's discussion of Kashmir and Mashobra, issues which the author seems to have a much more personal and interesting story to tell.