As far as understanding where the seeds were sown for the decline of the Maratha Empire, and even the roots of the eventual confederate nature of the Marathas, this is a wonderful book.
I couldn’t help thinking, however, that Decline And Fall Of The Maratha Empire does an unintentional disservice to the achievements of the Marathas after the Shivaji era. And I say unintentional with much seriousness. As may be obvious from the title of the book, this book is an analysis of the decline and the fall. It assumes, but not explicitly, that the reader has more than a general awareness of the history of the period between the mid 1600s to 1818. If you pick up this book, without the background to this period, this book will come across as grossly critical, negative, and utterly depressing. Needless to say, that is not the author’s intention.
It perhaps needs pre-reading; on the lines of Rise of the Maratha Power, by Justice MG Ranade, or a similar book that describes this period’s history that is comprehensive and well-rounded.
While it is clear that the intention of the book is not to specifically shine light on the darker side of this history, it is a topical book. The reader should bear that in mind.
The analysis itself, is very well done. It is clear and well referenced. It is not a very long book, and the references are a treasure trove, if you are history nerd. Dr. M. S. Naravane writes clearly, unambiguously, with a good sense of the chronology of the start of the decline, and covers some of the not-so-obvious aspects of the issue.
Highly recommended if you are a student of Maratha history. One star removed, for some references which felt gossipy.