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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a must read..., 10 July 2011
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This review is from: Gandhi and Churchill: The Rivalry That Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age (Paperback)
This is a wonderful treatise on Gandhi and Churchill. Although it is a historical account, this has been written like a novel - with the twists and turns which keep you enthralled. I am a Gandhi fan knowing that he had his faults. This book gives a balanced perspective of him. I did not know much about Churchill apart from the fact that he hated the 'other races'. This book did not endear me to Churchill and confirmed my views. He, however was a man with firm views and a great orator. I will probably read this book again after some time. I would recommend this to anyone interested in the history of Indian independence or in politics in general.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written, will increase your understanding 100fold, 23 Jun 2010
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This review is from: Gandhi and Churchill: The Rivalry That Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age (Paperback)
This is the best book I have come across so far describing the historic developments since the great mutiny, leading up to Gandhi's life time, how he was affected by it, and likewise the same for Churchill.

It explains the personal circumstances and lives and the broad historic trends and movements. It illustrates through 100s of quotes and adorned with minute and detailed references how over the span of their respective lives, Churchill and Gandhi left their mark on history.

It reads like a novel, it is one of the rare books that manage to combine true historic facts with the readability of a novel.

And one of the biggest benefits must surely be that it increases your understanding of the political situations of the middle east and the far east tremendously. Suddenly wars, political deadlocks, national interests and actions - both present day and past - become so much clearer.

Very well done!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a work of reference, 1 Oct 2008
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Gilbert Michaud (canada) - See all my reviews
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a great book on the two leaders who never understood each other. balanced fair and beautifully written
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant - and a good read, 13 Mar 2009
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Dr. R. G. Henderson "richardhenderson4" (North Yorkshire & Donegal) - See all my reviews
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This is not a quick read, but is compelling - and especially near the end "unputdownable".

These two men are fascinating and in some ways polar opposites. Gandhi: other-worldly, spiritual, ascetic and the pioneer of India's struggle for independence. Churchill: ambitious, fond of the good things in life, defender of Empire and inspiring war leader.
But these pictures of the two men are gross over-simplifications. Gandhi was difficult - many even of his Congress colleagues found him impossible. Indeed Gandhi was probably personally responsible for the failure of the penultimate Viceroy Wavell's plan to create a unified independent India which everyone else (including Jinnah) had agreed to. Churchill had a soft side, and was easily moved to tears and frequently depressed.

Both men were late Victorians, and both (in their different contexts) had the prejudices of the era. Both died in a sense broken men, as the India and the world which emerged were very different from the ones they had hoped and lived for. The book's final sentence sums it up:
"Their story is the great untold parable of the twentieth century"

So - a great book. I would have awarded 5 stars, but a few sloppy errors (some of which should have been picked up by the sub editors) make it 4. I know the author is American and the book was probably aimed primarily at an American audience, but it grates to see references to eg "Prime Minister of England". Also on p 252 he refers to Churchill's role in creating the Black and Tans in Ireland to "reinforce the Royal Ulster Constabulary" when he means the Royal Irish Constabulary. But these are minor quibbles. Get it and enjoy it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very readable, but with some minor issues., 26 Oct 2010
A well written comparison of the lives of two of modern history's great figures.

However, for a new book I am surprised about how well this fits in with similar books I read in the late 1980's on the same topic.

There is the oft repeated suggestion that the Indians were lucky to have the English as Colonial Masters (as compared to other Imperialist states). Well, perhaps, but the British were shaped by their experience of Empire elsewhere in the world - and then their 300 year occupation of India. Is too far fetched to believe that another Empire stepping into Britain's history would not have ended up the same way? The most brutal regimes are never long winded, so in order to see out the 300 years, they would have had to be moderated.

What is also never stated, but would be a valid counterpoint would be that the English were lucky to have the Indians as vice versa. Had the country been inhabited by as many Zulus as there were Indians, the British may have found their rule and the wealth extraction actions of Empire unsustainable.

There is also much made of the post independence violence. Which although Churchill seemed to have foreseen, seems to justify his arguments against independence and the inferiority of Indians. While it is impossible to argue that the violence was not shameful and horrific, in the aftermath of the Second World War and the horrors therein, one could not rank the Europeans above such monstrosities themselves.

A few smaller points also stood out for me in the book.

I was erked by the repetition of Churchill's quote of not becoming the first minister, to oversee the dismantling of the empire. It appears about 5 times in the book.

I was also slightly annoyed by the perspective of Sikhs in the book. Having been pivotal to the last two hundred years of Indian history - taking the British side in the Indian Mutiny, support of arms in the two World Wars and to Independence, they are barely mentioned in the book. Even in reference to the Amristar Massacre, which was mainly a Sikh affair. Every time they are mentioned after that, it is with strongly negative connotations (references to the attempted genocide in Calcutta). The last Sikh mentioned in the book - the Foreign Secretary of India at the time of Churchill's funeral is not even credited as such, but obliquely mentioned as a beturbaned and bearded gentleman. This treatment is rather out of place in this well written book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars battle of the giants, 13 Jun 2014
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An excellent, probably the most accurate account of the Indian road to independence and an insight into the mindset of two important statesmen of the era. This book is too good to miss, however it should have included Nehru's speech "at the midnight hour", but read this book if you are at all interested in the great country of India.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Two complete ends of the spectrum - One for Empire and the other Against it, 11 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Gandhi and Churchill: The Rivalry That Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age (Paperback)
This books is a great comparison between the two great leaders and a lot of in depth detail is discussed regarding their early lives and how they entered into politics. What comes across is that Churchill hated Gandhi as he wanted the Empire to continue as like Randolph Churchill maintained that without it Britain would no longer exist or be of any consequence in world affairs. Gandhi was almost on a divine mission to achieve Indian independence and nothing stopped him from achieving this mission.
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4.0 out of 5 stars good, 29 April 2013
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This review is from: Gandhi and Churchill: The Rivalry That Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age (Paperback)
It was an interesting read, particularly as it was a good comparison between the both characters. Good part of history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What you sow you reap, 2 Feb 2012
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The history of the Middle East and that of India, which anticipated the division of the subcontinent, is brilliantly shown in the description of the lives of these two men.I was amazed to read of the degree of failure that they both experienced.
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