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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Roller Coaster Ride Through History
A memorable and moving book. I would highly recommend this book to anyone. A factual history that reads like a novel, this book speaks to everyone. Meticulously researched, the reader is left feeling as though they were there to experience every pain, every victory, every setback and every joy. I think this book is essential reading for anyone who wishes to...
Published on 1 Oct 1999

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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How balanced?
A fantastic read - moving, with the kind of sweeping coherent narrative worthy of a great fictional author. And maybe there's the rub: it has been criticised (I think with some justification) with being pro-British, and building the story from the elegiac portrayal of a fading empire whose greatness once...etc etc- and perhaps because of relying too heavily on...
Published on 17 Jun 2002 by cjeffery6


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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How balanced?, 17 Jun 2002
This review is from: Freedom at Midnight (Paperback)
A fantastic read - moving, with the kind of sweeping coherent narrative worthy of a great fictional author. And maybe there's the rub: it has been criticised (I think with some justification) with being pro-British, and building the story from the elegiac portrayal of a fading empire whose greatness once...etc etc- and perhaps because of relying too heavily on Mountbatten as a source. So read it - but maybe read Liberty or Death by Patrick French as well! In that version of the independence struggle, the British and - heresy in India, I know - Gandhi come in for heavy criticism.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written but..., 7 Jan 2013
By 
Samee Zafar (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Freedom at Midnight (Paperback)
It is infact a hagiography of Louis Mountbatten who was an early master of spin. This is the world seen through the eyes of Mountbatten.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Roller Coaster Ride Through History, 1 Oct 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Freedom at Midnight (Paperback)
A memorable and moving book. I would highly recommend this book to anyone. A factual history that reads like a novel, this book speaks to everyone. Meticulously researched, the reader is left feeling as though they were there to experience every pain, every victory, every setback and every joy. I think this book is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand the political and ethical problems that the world is still faced with today. Bravo!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkably researched and eternally poignant history, 29 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Freedom at Midnight (Paperback)
If the 20th century history of the sub-continent is not for you, think again. You will delight in the quirkiness, be appalled at the violence and be left saddened by the inevitability of human history. All of which is brought to life by the authors. A must.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One of the most biased books I have ever read, 16 Feb 2010
By 
D. J. Simons "dsimons" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Freedom at Midnight (Paperback)
For people totally new to the subject of India's independence from the British Empire and its subsequent horrors of the partition this is a nice introduction. It is very readable and reads like a story. Like a work of fiction with loads of footnotes. There are some MAJOR flaws that prevent this from being a great book.

The worst flaw I found was the often nauseating portrayal of Lord Mountbatten which makes him look like an Adonis-type: a leader of men, a winner of wars etc. Although some of those claims may be partially true I cringed at how much the authors of this book focused on anecdotes that seem grossly exaggerated. This also calls into question the portrayal of the other major players in the book - especially those of Jinnah, Nehru, and sometimes Gandhi.

Some parts of the book are very moving - particularly the plot and eventual success of the assassination of the Mahatma - which gives credit to the skill of the authors. (which credits my giving it 3* over 2* or 1*).

If you can swallow the biases, the book does act as a very good introduction to the story, but I highly recommend immediate further reading to elaborate on some elements of the book (as they often feel too good to be true).
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very well presented perspective, 30 Oct 2002
By 
Pranay Manocha "da spyder" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Freedom at Midnight (Paperback)
This book is an incredible read. It is a book that records history and tries to understand the idealogies and the struggles of British Raj and the transition from colonialism to independence in the Indian subcontinent.
This book, however, is naturally biased towards British views - but clearly, the authors seek to understand the Indian view and present it in a very readable and interesting way.
I highly recommend this book to people interested in Indian studies or people who are generally drawn by India. 'Freedom at Midnight' provides a unique and rare colection of things you always wanted to know more about.
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44 of 58 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not at all a book for intelligent or informed readers, 10 Sep 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Freedom at Midnight (Paperback)
I have to disagree with the other reviewers on this one, I'm afraid ... this book does not at all present a balanced picture of the events surrounding the independence and partition of India ... much more than that, it is an attempted apology for the British role in that process & the authors' sycophancy to Mountbatten is frankly distasteful (they even mention that after reading this book, he asked them to be his biographers!! Say no more). That may be their view, which is fair enough, but they barely present, discuss, analyse or rebutt (more credible) opposing views. More dangerously in a work of popular history, it portrays the British Raj as an age of untarnished glory, with the prose practically dripping with the authors' romanticisation of the era. That may have been the experience of the tens of thousands Brits ruling India, but it obviously was not the much harsher historical reality of the hundreds of millions of exploited Indians or they clearly would not have been agitating for independece. Worse, this is a history-by-personality, embarrassingly light on meaningful or robust analysis of broader economic and social reasons for change ... and even as history-by-personality, it is one dimensional and full of caricatures. Mountbatten is always "dashing", the masses "unruly", Jinnah "cold and austere", etc etc. A very superficial and unobjective book, which is disappointing but probably explains why it sold so many copies. There is not enough space to set out the numerous misconceptions in the book, suffice to say, don't let this be your only source.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not the best book on the subject, 21 Oct 2009
By 
San Roze "San Roze" (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Freedom at Midnight (Paperback)
This book is not an all balanced reading material. If someone is looking for a launch pad into the innumerable books written on this subject ie the turmoil that lead to the partition of the subcontinent and the chaos that followed it, this is an excellent place to start. Being American and French, the authors seem to be pretty unbiased in their view on the leaders of the subcontinent. Nevertheless, there are rather silly mistakes they do in history which even a school kid from India or Pakistan would know. For example, Asoka was a Buddhist King born in a Jaina family and not an Hindu. The authors use this to emphasis that by using Asoka's wheel symbol on its flag India propelled itself as an Hindu nation. Also they use this point to say that Asoka was a warmonger, which is true but he gave up war and violence pretty early in his reign as Emperor of Mauryas and the wheel emblem itself was erected in honour of Buddha's ideas of peace and ahimsa. This is just but one example that the authors misinterpret history when they draw examples from beyond 1947/48. I am not quoting the other examples since I neither have the time to write an extensive review nor any reader on Amazon would have the time to read. In a nut shell, this is a good book to read as along as you are sure that you are not going to stop with this. This book is better titled "Freedom at midnight: Mountbatten's perspective". If a reader be interested in the other side of the story please read "Shameful Flight: The Last Years of the British Empire in India". Patrick French's book on this subject is said to be good too, but I have never read it so can't actually say much. It probably sold out this many copies oweing to its Jinnah bashing, making him look like a cold emotional person.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If there is one book to read on Indian independence, then this is the one, 19 May 2014
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This review is from: Freedom at Midnight (Paperback)
I have read many books on the Indian Independence as well as partition but this sets the standard. There is so much intricate detail about all the relevant parties involved in the Independence/Partition on India as well as the horrific violence that followed. The book is very unbiased in its approach as it criticises all parties where necessary.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Independence for India - Challenges and Tragedies!, 14 Dec 2013
By 
David Lusher (London England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Freedom at Midnight (Paperback)
This is an essential read if you are ever to understand India. It is an absorbing and, at times, poignant portrayal of the dilemmas facing India and Britain in granting independence to India. The challenges facing the last Viceroy, Mountbatten. The angst of partition, the terrible price paid by the Indian people because of the communal violence that followed, the cunning of Jinnah who insisted on the creation of Pakistan and who urged haste in resolving the issue (publicly because dragging the issue out would lead to bloodshed, but privately knowing that he was dying and only had months to live). The very moving account of the assassination of Gandhi, including insights into the sheer incompetence of his assassins as well as the Indian Police. This is a superb book, well researched and written, and I recommend it highly.
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Freedom at Midnight
Freedom at Midnight by Dominique Lapierre (Paperback - 12 Jun 1997)
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