First I must say that Ramnath did an incredible amount of research. The amount of time that went into this work is certainly impressive. Nonetheless, despite its intriguing topic, this book is largely devoid of a convincing argument.
The main problem is that Ramnath lists all quasi-connected events and characters under the banner of Ghadar. This is to compliment her argument that Ghadar served as a switchboard that could "provide connecting links" for anti-colonial movements, a purpose Ghadar was ideal for since it did not have a strict ideology or central leadership. However, it is not apparent, even in the book, as to when Ghadar actually became a movement. The first issue of the Hindustan Ghadar newspaper is the first clear signal of a beginning. Yet, Ramnath begins her narrative with events and personalities that pre-date the first issue by over a decade. Many of these individuals were apart of long standing nationalist movements and did not have any formal participation in the actual Ghadar party that evolved later. Hence, one could just as easily list these personalities and events under the banner of another movement, one that pre-dated Ghadar or a coeval one that was much more encompassing than the majority Sikh constituency of Ghadar.
It would’ve been helpful if Ramnath had let the personalities in her book speak for themselves, to let them explain exactly how they identified themselves in anti-colonialism. However, Ramnath instead relies more on British intelligence and not on the actual Urdu, Persian, Punjabi etc. writings of these men. This is rather unsettling, considering the degree to which the British sensationalized and misinterpreted the statements and activities of these men. More importantly, it’s unfair to the activists that they are interpreted and judged by us (the readers) through the very British imperialists they were fighting. Ramnath seems to have studied Urdu, but it is not demonstrated in the work. Additionally, all the archival material was derived from English language archives. No German, Soviet or Afghan archival sources were used despite the immense importance of all these countries to the movements mentioned in the book.
The University of California Press seems to have published this book more for its appealing topic than any actual argument within it.