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Freedom at Midnight Audio CD – Audiobook, 1 Apr 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks; Unabridged edition (April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441746374
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441746375
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 4.9 x 14.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,421,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Back Cover

Fifty years ago, seconds after midnight on 14-15 August 1947, the Union Jack, emblazoned with the Star of India, began its final journey down the flagstaff of Viceroy's House, New Delhi. One fifth of humanity claimed their independence from the greatest empire history has ever seen. But 400 million people were to find that the price of freedom was partition and war, riot and murder.

In this new edition of their superb reconstruction of events at the time, Collins and Lapierre recount the eclipse of the fabled British Raj and examine the roles enacted by, among others, Mahatma Ghandi, Lord Mountbatten, Nehru and Jinnah in its violent transformation into the new India and Pakistan.

'Thrilling…staggers the imagination'
DAILY MAIL

'There is no single passage in this profoundly researched book that one could actually fault. Having been there most of the time in question, I can vouch for the accurate of its general mood. It is a work of scholarship, of investigation, research and of significance.'
JAMES CAMERON, 'New York Times'

'The song of India… illuminated in scenes like a pageant.'
TIME

'A heroic tale that has not been told a tenth as well before… It will give more non-Indians more knowledge of the vast circumstances surrounding the birth of India than anything previously written. With an instinct for drama and a skill in narration, the authors take the reader from Whitehall to Delhi, to Calcutta, to Lahore, to Pula, to the villages of the Punjab and Bengal; their hold on the reader never falters.'
JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

The enormous success of the international writing partnership of Collins and Lapierre is based on the phenomenal non-fiction bestsellers OR I’LL DRESS YOU IN MOURNING, IS PARIS BURNING? and O JERUSALEM! More recently Lapierre wrote CITY OF JOY (about Calcutta) and Larry Collins has written a number of thrillers published by HarperCollins (FALL FROM GRACE, MAZE and BLACK EAGLES). Lapierre is French, Collins American.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
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By A Customer on 17 Jun. 2002
Format: 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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Format: 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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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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Format: 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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Format: 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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