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15 of 18 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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written but...
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.
Published on 7 Jan. 2013 by Samee Zafar


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5 of 5 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I only speak for myself, 16 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Freedom at Midnight (Paperback)
It took me 6 months to read this book. Why? I read 10 relevant books on the same subject in between for better understanding. Its obvious that this book will be perceived very differently by an Indian than by a non Indian. Moreover, if that Indian belongs to Brahmin cast, it will make a considerable difference. The book read like reading main stream media. In my opinion the naming of the book in rather out of place.

The writer made a good case for Gandhi and very cleverly pictured that what one man had done (N Godse) that many badly wished for. Either the Writer or the Translator chose words with utter contempt ie. 'Pathetic Indians' or 'Hindu Zealots' etc.
Instead of writing 'Hindus' the term 'non-Muslim' or 'non-Christean' would have been more appropriate. I expected an Interview from Gandhi's eldest son about his farther that I did not get. Its clear that 'All Indian Radio' made Gandhi famous. Bose's name was mentioned only once in the entire book.

Many historians and scholars understood and admitted that then weak British empire backed off facing tremendous pressure from Subhash Bose and his INA who wanted to take the freedom rather than getting a handover like Gandhi had, yet only Gandhi was mentioned and credited for the 'Freedom". It may not be the writers' opinion but that's what it read.

Mountbatten was always named with his full title whenever he was mentioned but Indian characters were not. A non Indian would find Indians no different from Africans and perhaps compare Godse with Idi-Amin dada!! Its very clear from the wording that Indian's were looked down upon given their physical structure shorter than occidentals exactly as Churchill perceived. It proves ignorance.

The way, Nehru and Jinnah were pictured was rather childish. It felt like whenever a child gets hurt cries out for his/her mother, as these two cried out for Mountbatten. The book talks about only a few characters among 350 million Indians as protagonists, who supposedly brought India her freedom.
This book is not a pure investigative journalism, its tainted with opinion, that I found slavish and uncultivated. Its quite alike a book written by Beverly Nichol in his book called verdict on India, who though had understood India in a year.

I surely give some credit to the Writers for mentioning that some princedom were better managed than English ruled areas and story of Buta Singh that I found 100 time more heart wrenching that Italian Romeo-Juliet.

Its true that a lot of hard work has gone into writing it and its a good read particularly first 400 pages and later it went very detailed.
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22 of 25 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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7 of 8 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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15 of 18 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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4 of 5 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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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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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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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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3.0 out of 5 stars Half-fiction and half-novel, 4 May 2015
This review is from: Freedom at Midnight (Paperback)
We concur some reviewer's comment. Well written but totally from the perspective of official story line . The authors are both brilliant writers, and especially O Jerusalem was well written and factual. However, in this book, the facts contained is from the western viewpoints. The actual accounts of the people of the land who were, literally broken up at the moment notice, not included enough, only cursory touched. Read as a half-fiction and half-novel. But what is written is not real story. This is due to the lack of the authors' ability to speak the local languages, especially Punjabi, Hindi, Gujrat, which are spoken in the affected area.
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