“[P]rovocative and informative . . . . [T]he arguments and the material covered constitute a helpful corpus for reference and thoughtful discussion. The layout of the volume is excellent, and the numerous maps, pictures, and posters illustrating various points enhance its value. . . . [R]ecommended as an informed and provocative reexamination of dynamics within the Sikh diaspora . . . .” — N. Gerald Barrier , The Journal of Asian Studies
“This is a fascinating book. . . . [T]ruly attractive reading. . . . [A] delightful book to read.” — Hew McLeod , South Asia
"[A] brilliant treatment of the problematic category of diaspora." — Daniel Merton Michon , International Journal of Punjab Studies
"[A] provocative and interesting book. It is a wonderful theoretical tour de force that succeeds in raising challenges both to those scholars involved in Sikh studies in general, the anthropology of violence, and to those concerned with the historical formations of diasporas. Such scholars should most certainly have it on their shelves." — Louis E. Fenech , Journal of International Migration and Integration
"[A] provocative reading of Sikh historical figures and events. . . . [I]t provides valuable examples of transnational flows and the working of the social imaginary. Those interested in diaspora studies, gender studies, postcolonial theory, transnationalism, historical anthropology, and the anthropology of violence will want to take note."
— Verne A. Dusenbery , American Anthropologist
"[A]n important and timely contribution to the masculinity and embodiment literature, and will provide a useful resource for those interested in issues of Sikhism and diaspora." — Margaret Walton-Roberts, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space
"[Axel] has done an excellent job. . . . [He] has conducted extensive research and got to the bottom of things and thus created an important piece of academic literature." — Kuldeep Singh , Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History
"[S]tudents and specialists of diaspora studies in general, and the Sikh diaspora in particular, will find the book intellectually challenging. It should also be useful for students of South Asia." — Manish Thakur , Anthropology Review Database
"Axel engages in the . . . interesting task of understanding how the narrative of the homeland has become such a powerful defining force for an otherwise diverse and scattered population."
— Lindsay McMaster , Canadian Literature
"Axel proves that a white American male can do a truly non-ethnocentric historical anthropology. . . . [A] fascinating narrative. . . . For once, the blurb on the book’s jacket does not exaggerate. . . ."
— Anjali Gera Roy , Jouvert
"Beginning with his title, which nicely juxtaposes nation and body, Axel beautifully weaves the two together throughout the book. . . . Axel’s book is an impressive work that should be widely read among scholars of identity, nationalism, diaspora, or South Asia."
— Bridget Guarasci , Comparative Studies in Society and History
“Historical anthropology at its best, The Nation's Tortured Body explores the history and politics of the Sikhs in a complex, and contested, transnational context. Axel’s book evocatively charts the ways in which the crossing and marking of boundaries have shaped the foundational identities of a diasporic community, providing a graphic illustration of the multiple meanings of the idea of ‘homeland’ in our contemporary postcolonial world.” — Nicholas B. Dirks, Columbia University
“This groundbreaking study of the Sikh diasporic world is also a brilliant ethnography of violence and loss. Tacking deftly between the politics of images and the imagination, Axel shows how the iconic social categories produced in the colonial encounter shape the struggle over the politics of place, person and body in contemporary India. This book will surely change the ways in which we see how colonialism, diaspora and the politics of separatism inform the formation of modern subjects with mobile loyalties.” — Arjun Appadurai, University of Chicago