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Gandhi's passion : the life and legacy of Mahatma Gandhi
Stanley Wolpert
Adult Nonfiction DS481.G3 W64 2001

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Wolpert, a professor emeritus in South Asian history at UCLA, is well versed in the politics of India and has written numerous books on that country and its neighbor Pakistan. His new work is not so much a book on how Gandhi came to be the Mahatma, or India's "Great Soul," but a chronicle of India's independence movement after WWI and the communal violence that led to the 1947 partition along religious lines. The most absorbing part of the book shows how Gandhi's legal training at Inner Temple in London and his work to protect the rights of Indians in South Africa at the turn of the century led to his agitation for Home Rule in India. Wolpert skillfully uses Gandhi's own writings there are 90 volumes of his collected works and descriptions of meetings and travels to organize mass passive resistance, including boycotts and marches, to explain how Gandhi's nonviolent resistance, or Satyagraha, essentially forced the British to grant dominion status to 300 million Indians. However, Wolpert does not convincingly illustrate how Gandhi came to believe in nonviolence and how he transformed himself from a rich Anglophile and lawyer into a near-godlike figure who valued equality, self-control, celibacy and the relinquishing of wealth and desires. Wolpert touches on the fact that Gandhi's transformation alienated his children and wife (whom he married at age 11) even while he expressed an "intensely personal passion" for various Western missionaries and forced some ashram devotees to sleep by him naked. By supplying more detail than useful analysis, Wolpert's effort is ultimately disappointing, and, in the end, Gandhi remains a recognizable but cryptic figure. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Wolpert (South Asian history, emeritus, UCLA) has written biographies of Indian freedom fighters Jinnah (Jinnah of Pakistan) and Nehru (Nehru: A Tryst with Destiny). While his life of Gandhi is well written, one has to ask why yet another biography of the Father of India? There is no burning issue or question that he raises, nor a great new insight into Gandhi that has not already been discussed in previous biographies. In the introduction, Wolpert notes that the news of the nuclear explosions in India in 1998 prompted him to undertake this book on the apostle of nonviolence. What he has produced, however, is yet another general biography of one of the most remarkable men of the 20th century. Only libraries collecting in depth on India need consider this title, which does not supplant Gandhi studies by Erik Ericsson, Louis Fischer, or B.R. Nanda. Donald Clay Johnson, Univ. of Minnesota Lib., Minneapolis (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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