Unsurpassed as a prose stylist, Ved Mehta is an acknowledged master of the essay form. In this book-the first special collection of Mehta`s outstanding writings-the distinguished author demonstrates a wide range of possibilities available to the narrative and descriptive writer today. Addressing subjects that range from religion to politics and on to education, and writing with eloquence and high style, Mehta here offers a sampling of his works. Mehta provides a splendid, insightful introduction on the craft of the essay, meditating on the long history and diverse purposes of the form and on the struggle of learning to write in it himself. In the eight reportorial, autobiographical, and reflective essays that follow-each a self-contained examination of cultural, intellectual, or personal themes-he writes on his experience of becoming an American citizen; on Christian theology, with a focus on Dietrich Bonhoeffer; on Calcutta and the poorest of the Indian poor; on the disastrous fates of three of Mehta`s brilliant Oxford contemporaries; and on a variety of other subjects.