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4.4 out of 5 stars
An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 15 December 2007
This is a fantastic book. Like most everyone I knew the basic facts of the great man, mostly based I guess on the Ben Kingsley film.

This book is autobiographical articles that MK Gandhi wrote in the 1920s to be published as installments in newspaper publications. The beauty of that for me was the fact that although the book is quite long it was broken into 170 chapters of a few pages each. This also allowed time for reflection.

It is the story of his personal walk from childhood and married at 13, through studies in the UK, difficulties as he started work in India and his movement to South Africa to find work, his time in South Africa and his return to India and his early years back in India. It misses most of the famous things about his life and focuses more on his personal and spiritual search for Truth. I liked that it that way.

It gave a very different perspective on his life. Although some parts were hard to understand without a more detailed knowledge of his life, India and Hindu religious belief I did not find that detracted very much at all from my enjoyment or reflection on this book.

It also shows his struggles as he is trying to perfect his search for Truth/God and where he feels disappointed with his efforts. There is a lot of information on his experiments with dietetics.

Gave me a very different view on some cores of his belief in Hinduism, without being a treatise for any particular religion.

It probably wasn't easy being his wife!
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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on 17 June 2000
This book will be an inspiration for anyone, who themselves strive to integrate ideals such as contentment, sacrifice and love for all beings in their dayly life. Gandhi faced many hardships in his life, but his constant return to ethics, when confronted by problems gives inspiration and hope for those of us struggling to deal ethically with our (comparatively) lesser problems. By reading Gandhis humble account of his life, you will be inspired to take a more patient, tolerant and forgiving approach to your fellow beings. That alone should be sufficient reason to buy this book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 23 July 2013
This book is a must read, not only for understanding one of the greatest men ever but also for finding answers to the many dilemmas and predicaments that cloud human mind and soul. The tone of the book is so simple and honest that it's almost like having a conversation with the man himself. A journey so extraordinary and the experiments with 'truth' so outstanding and consequential that it leaves one dumb found and mesmerized. From South Africa to India, from lies and deception to punctiliousness, from dietary fads to intricacies of man-woman relationship, from cooperation to civil disobedience, from obedience to inquiry, from means to end, from immediate family to the nation, from ordinary to the extraordinary - the theme of the book is 'evolution' of man and his ideas. As the 'Bhagvad Gita', Tolstoy's 'Kingdom of God is Within You' and Ruskin's 'Unto this Last' influenced Gandhi's nascent mind, 'My Experiments with Truth' is a work of similar significance and power.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 26 January 1999
When I was young I was told in my school and syllabi books that Gandhi was the ringleader of "Hindu toola" who were creating Hindu-Muslim hatred before 1947 (I am talking about schools in Pakistan).Eventhough my ideas regarding Gandhi changed by the time I entered Uni,my instinct to explore the true nature of our pre-independence leaders is still there.This book no doubt has been my favourite since the day it was published and anyone who has misconception of any types should read this .
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on 12 May 2004
In his own words, Gandhi takes us through some of the experiences in his life, with each chapter forming at least one important learning lesson to him. All experiences, whether good or bad, had a positive learning lesson on him and contributed to his goal of seeking truth.
One of his main beliefs was using non-violence as a means of protesting against acts of oppression and using international law to seek justice. This meant he never raised his fists or lowered himself to barbarism however much he was provoked, violated or attacked. In fact this seems to be the opposite attitude demonstrated by all terrorists and most countries (West, Middle East and East) where the belief is that violence and war works. It never has and never will. As Gandhi says "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind".
As we now enter the third of the world wars, where the weapons are horrific and the consequences unimaginable, Gandhi's words have never been more important. All politicians and world leaders should read this book. In fact everyone should read this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Not an autobiography in the traditional sense but an account of one man's thoughts and beliefs that espoused his way of life. Simply written to express ideas over his life up to the time he felt his life was too public for him to write about.

Though a significant person in world events this autobiography emphasises the smaller `elements' of his life, illustrating the equal passion he applied to both his politics and personal life. Gandhi's `experiments in truth' discloses his thoughts on such topics as veganism, sanitation, dietetics, fasting, natural medicine, communal living and celibacy (all relating to ethics of living). He places equal emphasis and passion on these ethics as he does with injustices of the South African regime, untouchability and the English empire. The book illustrates a man who lived with integrity and dignity under trying conditions.

Though a lot of his philosophy is about self restraint, we get a sense of a fierce exponent of justice who lived under oppressive regimes. His ability to negotiate injustices indicate a man of great intelligence and courage who understood the political arena and challenged the status quo through non-violence.

The autobiography does not focus on political events in a contextual manner - these are best served by observers to his life who would cover the background to these events. This book concerns itself on a remarkable man who avails his thoughts and expresses them in his deeds, through his pursuit of truth, with the honesty not found in other political biographies.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 2 January 2008
I am yet to finish reading this book and I have to say it is an amazing book to read. The man is what he says he is and the truth he does tell. He has so far told us things I would expect the normal person who was in his position not to say a word about a few things, however he is very open with what he is about and why. He's an open book. I have read his Bio before and this is hands down much better as it's 1st hand information.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 6 August 1998
Gandhi changed the way the world thinks. His life and message for the world has influenced MLK's fight for civil rights in the USA. Gandhi revolutionized the fight for freedom. All revolutionary wars before India's independence were fought by using brute force. Gandhi used Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience" as the basis for India's fight for freedom from over 200 years of British rule. In Gandhi's own words, the reader is given a truthful account of the man who gave his life so that the posterity of Indians could enjoy what his own ancestors had not. Gandhi's fervent devotion to truth can be seen in his description of many details that one would find embarassing and awkward, but Gandhi does not leave out any minor detail. His honesty and philosophy is one capable of moving the citizen, whether he be an Indian, American, or of any other country.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Gandhi was one of the most influential individuals of the 20th century. He is best known for developing, and promoting the principles of "satyagraha," that is, peaceful and non-violent resistance to authority. He used this tactic to achieve independence for the second most populace country on earth, India, from the strongest military power at the time, Britain. In terms of non-violent resistance, he was influenced by Leo Tolstoy, and he in turn influenced many others, including Martin Luther King. The subtitle is: "My Experiments with the Truth." And indeed, there are many. Before the reader undertakes this book, the principal drawback should be realized: it stops in 1921! The most important two and a half decades of his life are omitted. He brushes this off in the farewell, by saying: "My life from this point onward has been so public that there is hardly anything about it that people do not know." Somewhat true, but what we all do NOT know are Gandhi's thoughts about the actions he undertook.

His autobiography was first published in 1927, 6,000 copies. I bought my copy in India, in 1971, published by Navajivan, in Ahmedabad. It appears to have cost 12 rupees, a pittance, but seems to make it more "authentic." Gandhi was a "child groom," marrying his wife, Kasturba, at the age of 13 (she was an "older woman," age 14). Though he was a strong advocate of women's rights, and, in particular, the end to the custom of "sati," where a wife burns herself to death on her husband's funeral pyre, he made the not very "PC" observation of her: "But she is blessed with one great quality to a very considerable degree, a quality which most Hindu wives possess in some measure. And it is this: willingly or unwillingly, consciously or unconsciously, she has considered herself blessed in following in my footsteps, and has never stood in the way of my endeavor to lead a life of restraint. Though, therefore, there is a wide difference between us intellectually, I have always had the feeling that ours is a life of contentment, happiness and progress."

Though not a brilliant student, Gandhi went to London in the 1890's, and studied law, become a barrister. Then he went to South Africa, for 21 years, which spanned the Boer War, where he was in charge of an Indian ambulance service for two months. He developed his non-violent resistance techniques during this period. He only went to live in India, on a permanent basis, in 1915, and, as indicated above, the book ends six years later. Gandhi was a vegetarian, and part of the book covers the "fads" involved in his dietary "experiments with truth." For example, he says: "I very nearly ruined my constitution during the recruiting campaign. In those days my food principally consisted of groundnut butter and lemons. I knew it was possible to eat too much butter and injure one's health..." Health home remedies are fine with me, and do often work, but I believe his statement is a wild exaggeration: "Though I have had two serious illnesses in my life, I believe that man has little need to drug himself. 999 cases out of a thousand can be brought round be means of a well-regulated diet, water and earth treatment and similar household remedies." He is also famous for various experiments with "chastity," which involved a young girl sleeping naked with him at night. This is not covered in the autobiography.

A quirky individual, who took a major part in shaping the 20th Century, and whose autobiography can be revealing, stilted, a bit pompous, all at the same time. An essential read, however. 4-stars.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 19 May 2005
In his own words, Gandhi takes us through some of the experiences in his life, with each chapter forming at least one important learning lesson to him. All experiences, whether good or bad, had a positive learning lesson on him and contributed to his goal of seeking the truth.
One of his main beliefs was using non-violence as a means of protesting against acts of oppression and using international law to seek justice. This meant he never raised his fists or lowered himself to barbarism however much he was provoked, violated or attacked. In fact this seems to be the opposite attitude demonstrated by all terrorists and most countries (West, Middle East and East) where the belief is that violence and war works. It never has and never will. As Gandhi says "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind".
As we have now entered the third of the world wars, where the weapons are horrific and the consequences unimaginable, Gandhi's words have never been more important. All politicians and world leaders should read this book. In fact everyone should read this book.
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