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Mohandas K. Gandhi, known as Mahatma (great soul) Gandhi, is a revered figure worldwide for his nonviolent action to free India from British rule. His iconic status endures in the United States, through his influence on Martin Luther King, Jr., and in popular culture, including quotations, a blockbuster film, and interest in Hindu spirituality and practices. Readers will d Mohandas K. Gandhi, known as Mahatma (great soul) Gandhi, is a revered figure worldwide for his nonviolent action to free India from British rule. His iconic status endures in the United States, through his influence on Martin Luther King, Jr., and in popular culture, including quotations, a blockbuster film, and interest in Hindu spirituality and practices. Readers will discover how Gandhi came to be a member of the exalted pantheon of men for the ages. They will follow him from his family's home in the provinces to an early arranged marriage, solo sojourn in England to prepare for a law career, and growth from a timid new barrister in South Africa to India's foremost negotiator with the British power structure. He is shown evolving from a loyal British subject to become the champion of Home Rule for India--often inciting illegal actions to get himself and his supporters arrested to futher the cause, and risking his life with his famous hunger strikes. The narrative of Gandhi's life and contributions also illuminates Indian society and the caste system from the latter half of the 19th century up to World War II, including British colonial rule, racism in South Africa and India, and Hinduism. Controversial aspects of Gandhi's choices are covered as well. For example, he was largely an absentee husband and father. After siring four children, he took a vow of celibacy, but nevertheless formed attachments to several young, female Western devotees through the years. Ultimately, it was Gandhi's role as a compromiser who believed in Hindus and Muslims in a free, united India that led to his assassination.


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Mohandas K. Gandhi, known as Mahatma (great soul) Gandhi, is a revered figure worldwide for his nonviolent action to free India from British rule. His iconic status endures in the United States, through his influence on Martin Luther King, Jr., and in popular culture, including quotations, a blockbuster film, and interest in Hindu spirituality and practices. Readers will d Mohandas K. Gandhi, known as Mahatma (great soul) Gandhi, is a revered figure worldwide for his nonviolent action to free India from British rule. His iconic status endures in the United States, through his influence on Martin Luther King, Jr., and in popular culture, including quotations, a blockbuster film, and interest in Hindu spirituality and practices. Readers will discover how Gandhi came to be a member of the exalted pantheon of men for the ages. They will follow him from his family's home in the provinces to an early arranged marriage, solo sojourn in England to prepare for a law career, and growth from a timid new barrister in South Africa to India's foremost negotiator with the British power structure. He is shown evolving from a loyal British subject to become the champion of Home Rule for India--often inciting illegal actions to get himself and his supporters arrested to futher the cause, and risking his life with his famous hunger strikes. The narrative of Gandhi's life and contributions also illuminates Indian society and the caste system from the latter half of the 19th century up to World War II, including British colonial rule, racism in South Africa and India, and Hinduism. Controversial aspects of Gandhi's choices are covered as well. For example, he was largely an absentee husband and father. After siring four children, he took a vow of celibacy, but nevertheless formed attachments to several young, female Western devotees through the years. Ultimately, it was Gandhi's role as a compromiser who believed in Hindus and Muslims in a free, united India that led to his assassination.

30 review for Mohandas K. Ghandhi: A Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    David

    In many ways this book is trying to do a very difficult task--introduce younger readers (the book is targeted to high school students and general readers) to Mohandas Gandhi, who was a complicated person (ascetic, lawyer, writer, philosopher, activist etc.) trying to achieve complex political aims across several decades in different continents using innovative methods that were drawing on religious ideas and philosophies that are unfamiliar to many Americans and doing all of this in less than 20 In many ways this book is trying to do a very difficult task--introduce younger readers (the book is targeted to high school students and general readers) to Mohandas Gandhi, who was a complicated person (ascetic, lawyer, writer, philosopher, activist etc.) trying to achieve complex political aims across several decades in different continents using innovative methods that were drawing on religious ideas and philosophies that are unfamiliar to many Americans and doing all of this in less than 200 pgs. That said, perhaps because the book has such a difficult task, I felt like the book was a bit of a slog in that I found out many things that Gandhi did in his personal and political life, but it did not have much of a narrative flow and I had to push myself to finish the book. This wasn't due to the difficulty of the writing (which was appropriate for the book's aims) but rather the lack of "reading momentum" the book generated and the degree to which my interest was sustained. I could see that the author worked hard to give contextual details to the reader and explain many of the political complexities involved in Gandhi's life, though I felt that the book leaned too hard on political details about various intrigues and factions and did not include enough on Gandhi's philosophy and ways of thinking about problems or the personalities with which he was engaged. I realize that this would be tough to do and keep things at an approachable level, but I can say that I feel like I know far more now about the political context of Gandhi's life than I do about how Gandhi himself thought through particular challenges and why precisely he made various political and personal decisions. The book was fairly sparing in its use of quotes from Gandhi's writings and letters, and I think that including more of this would have helped get the reader more connected to mind behind his decisions. For some people, their philosophy and religious ideas are not especially important for their decision making but it is obvious that these things were crucial for Gandhi (as the author would surely agree). I was often puzzled as to the putative reasons behind Gandhi's actions and feel like Gandhi's mind is about as mysterious to me now as when I began the book, which is not what I was hoping for, even knowing the level of reader the books is aimed at. I think my favorite part of the book of is that it communicated the range of difficulties Gandhi faced in his life (e.g. how Gandhi would often be facing crises in his personal life with health and family in the midst of tremendous political pressures) and did not shy away from bringing up biographical facts that put him in a less than flattering light. This was neither hagiography nor was it a slash-and-burn to Gandhi's reputation. In this book Gandhi comes across as an impressive, serious, and dedicated person but not one without some serious faults in judgment. In general, I would recommend the book for those (like me) who want a general overview of Gandhi's personal and political life, but I'd be wary of recommending it to anyone who isn't willing to do some mildly serious learning about the larger social contexts in which Gandhi was involved.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Julia

  3. 4 out of 5

    Siddharth

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chandan Shukla

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jorge Serbia

  6. 4 out of 5

    Robert Hibbard

  7. 4 out of 5

    Karthik Karthi

  8. 5 out of 5

    Hamda Majid

  9. 5 out of 5

    Barb

  10. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Marcello

  11. 5 out of 5

    Janak

  12. 4 out of 5

    Emmi

  13. 5 out of 5

    Amy B

  14. 4 out of 5

    Emma Keen

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rushin Shah

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sarthak

  17. 5 out of 5

    Khadeeja Hamid

  18. 4 out of 5

    Gaurav

  19. 5 out of 5

    Zamora Marjo

  20. 4 out of 5

    Susan Nicol

  21. 5 out of 5

    Angela

  22. 4 out of 5

    Deepak Bhagwani

  23. 5 out of 5

    Halin Swaroop

  24. 5 out of 5

    Carolina

  25. 4 out of 5

    Devon Shallenberger

  26. 4 out of 5

    Vlad

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel Woods

    This was a fascinating book full of information I did not know about Mahatma. The details of his life in this book explain so much about why he became the liberator of India.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ronelle Kania

  29. 5 out of 5

    Juliana Lopes

  30. 5 out of 5

    Successpetra

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