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Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire Paperback – 7 Apr 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK; UK ed. edition (7 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416522255
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416522256
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,182 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

""Indian Summer" is a true tour de force: absorbing in its detail and masterly in the broad sweep of its canvas."--Sir Martin Gilbert, author of "The Somme"


""Indian Summer" is outstandingly vivid and authoritative. Alex von Tunzelmann brings a lively new voice to narrative history-writing."--Victoria Glendinning, author of "Leonard Woolf
"
"Alex von Tunzelmann is a wonderful historian, as learned as she is shrewd. But she is also something more unexpected: a writer with a wit and an eye for character that Evelyn Waugh would surely have admired."--Tom Holland, author of" Rubicon" and" Persian Fire
"
"An engaging, controversial, very lively and, at times, refreshingly irreverent tour de force. Alex von Tunzelmann has written a dramatic story, laced with tragedy and farce, and done so very well; a remarkable debut."--Lawrence James, author of" The Middle Class: A History" and "Raj: The Making and Unmaking of British India
"

"A brilliantly vivid page-turner that captures the backstage dramas raging on the eve of India's independence."--Tina Brown
"Irreistible . . . A fascinating book that may well change how we look on the benighted world in which we live today."--"Los Angeles Times"
"[A] captivating group portrait, pulling forth the most telling details of each figure's inner life. . . . To have turned an era of such significance and continuing relevance into a page-turner, to both entertain and educate, is an an admirable accomplishment."--"San Francisco Chronicle" "A fascinating behind-the-scenes account of the breakup of British rule in India."--NPR's "Fresh Air""""
""[Von Tunzelmann] keeps us riveted. . . . [She] has a fine knack for teasing out the play of personality in momentous events."--"Houston Chronicle"
"Von Tunzelman is witty, erudite, and thoughtful about her subject. . . . An oppinionated and sardonic writer, [she] is perfectly willing to take on both saints

"A brilliantly vivid page-turner that captures the backstage dramas raging on the eve of India's independence."--Tina Brown
"Irreistible . . . A fascinating book that may well change how we look on the benighted world in which we live today."--"Los Angeles Times"
"[A] captivating group portrait, pulling forth the most telling details of each figure's inner life. . . . To have turned an era of such significance and continuing relevance into a page-turner, to both entertain and educate, is an an admirable accomplishment."--"San Francisco Chronicle" "A fascinating behind-the-scenes account of the breakup of British rule in India."--NPR's "Fresh Air""""
""[Von Tunzelmann] keeps us riveted. . . . [She] has a fine knack for teasing out the play of personality in momentous events."--"Houston Chronicle"
"Von Tunzelman is witty, erudite, and thoughtful about her subject. . . . An oppinionated and sardonic writer, [she] is perfectly willing to take on both saints and heroes."--"The C

From the Inside Flap

The stroke of midnight on 15 August 1947 liberated 400 million people from the British Empire. With the loss of India, its greatest colony, a nation admitted it was no longer a superpower, and a king ceased to sign himself Rex Imperator.

It was one of the defining moments of world history, but it had been brought about by a tiny number of people. Among them were Jawaharlal Nehru, the fiery Indian prime minister with radical plans for a socialist revolution; Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the Muslim leader who would stop at nothing to establish the world's first modern Islamic state; Mohandas Gandhi, the mystical figure who enthralled a nation; and Louis and Edwina Mountbatten, the glamorous but unlikely couple who had been dispatched to get Britain out of India without delay. Within hours of the midnight chimes, the two new nations of India and Pakistan would descend into anarchy and terror. Nehru, Jinnah, Gandhi and the Mountbattens struggled with public and private turmoil while their dreams of freedom and democracy turned to chaos, bloodshed, genocide and war.

Indian Summer depicts the epic sweep of events that ripped apart the greatest empire the world has ever seen, and saw one million people killed and ten million dispossessed. It reveals the secrets of the most powerful players on the world stage: the Cold War conspiracies, the private deals, and the intense and clandestine love affair between the wife of the last viceroy and the first prime minister of free India.

Steeped in the private papers and reflections of the participants, this is an extraordinary story of complex passions and divided loyalties. With wit, insight and a sharp eye for detail, Alex von Tunzelmann relates how a handful of people changed the world for ever. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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An excellent, entertainingly written, history of the events pertaining to the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947, plus, as it happens, something of a biography of, in particular, Lord Mountbatten, but also the other main protagonists like Edwina Mountbatten, Nehru, Jinnah, and Gandhi.

Although amusing as a "soundbite", it is not the case that the big guns at Singapore could only fire out to sea. The reasons why Malaya and Singapore fell include the British Government hanging on to the best planes and pilots just in case Hitler broke off fighting the Russians and go back to wanting to invade Britain, a lack of tanks, and General Percival being astonishingly poor in his battlefield tactics and preparation of defensive positions.
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my dad, his siblings and parents all born in india left India for the uk in 1947 - they were very sad and lost many of their belongings - my dad is now 85 and he really enjoyed this book and he told me he flearned many new things about partition and the consequence to families from all religions and backgrounds - he has read it twice so he doesnt miss anything - great book
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I have read a great deal about the Indian sub-continent partition as I was fortunate enough to live in India as a child not long after these events. This book amazes me more with each page. The research that has gone into its writing is incredible. How the author has winkled some of this information out of little known places is jaw dropping and I use these superlatives wisely. It is a very detailed book, not a quick read, but mindblowingly full of facts, some little known or previously barely covered in books on the same subject. I take my hat off to this very talented author.
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I had never thought that history can be made to sound so interesting, before I picked up this book.
The author Alex Von Tunzelmann is a great story teller, to narrate the saga of India's independence, followed by a bloody partition and its aftermath with so much elan, combining both style and substance, is novel to say the least. Where it is easy for bias to creep in, the author has done remarkable justice to the characters and events by not taking sides. The effect created is of a high voltage drama replete with emotions, sarcasm, controversies, intrigues, passions, revenge, gossips set againt hard hitting reality, that will touch, stir and amuse readers. Edwina Mountabatten inspite of her flaws, stands out as she defies norms and conventions and re-defines prototype. Subtle and in some passages obvious reference made to the lowly status, struggle and porgress made by women, particularly Indian women stands out and appealed to my feminist tendencies.
The book has much to recommend itself even to a person with less interest in history or India, for it is an exquisite tale, that will delight and enrapture.
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I find some historical books rather dry for my taste, but this book really brings this era to life. Alex von Tunzelmann succeeds in not only educating us about a time in the past but also about the intricate details of the main player's lives and characters. I found that the book gave a well researched and rounded perspective of the events that led to the eventual fall of the British Empire. The characters, like the events, are full of contradictions and flaws and that always makes for interesting reading. I studied this period of history at school and again at university, and this was a wonderful way to relive my love for this era.
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This is a fabulous book. I have no connection with the author - I am an author of 30+ books myself so just giving praise where it's due. There are some very average books out there and the good ones need to be applauded. It's brilliant in the telling of what happened in this great period of history, but it's made great by the acid humour and honesty with which the author treats the central characters ( the Mountbattens, Gandhi, Churchill, Nehru, Bose). Yes, all of them great in many ways (maybe not Bose, if you're Brit or rational) but full of flaws. This is 'popular' history at it's best. Magnificent effort. Hats off.
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I really enjoyed this book. My interest in the events leading to the independence of India were piqued during a holiday when we visited the Viceregal House in Shimla in the Himalayas. We saw the room and table where the 'deal' was agreed and this made me want to find out more about it. This book was perfect for that - it gives a brief history India up to this point so you understand how they got to this point then deals in detail with the negotiations and events which led to the 'deal'. It focuses on the key individuals involved and paints a fascinating picture of the importance of personal relationships to the course of events. It's very readable and illustrates the points made with some apt (and sometimes gruesome) anecdotes. Highly recommended.
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This is a really great book, it tells the story of India in a sweep of personal history. The facts are all there, but the author has done a wonderful job in not getting too bogged down with details, she has kept the great sweep of historical events moving with momentum and verve.The result is a most fascinating read. If you are going to India this book is essential. I read it as I was touring India and it enriched my trip no end; all the others on tour wanted to read it too.The insights into the key players; Mountbatten, Gandhi, Jinna, Nehru and Edwina are a joy from beginnning to end. This book helped me to understand so much more about the End of Empire, the Partition and the amazing role of the 5 people who literally changed world history.
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