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on 22 November 2012
I found this a very interesting book, dealing with a most critical time in the history of India and Pakistan.
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on 16 July 2017
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on 7 April 2013
Absolutely stunning and breathtaking! Each and every page is incredibly alluring.
Highly recommended work to anyone interested in Indian History.
Students of history should not miss it.
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on 10 May 2015
everyone interested in India should read this book.
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on 2 August 2013
third time reading this - wore out last copy! visited india so made sense to read this amazing book fab
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on 21 October 2009
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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on 16 February 2015
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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on 27 March 2014
This book MUST be part of the historic collector's possession! I have only recently received it, but want to just say how beautifully written it is and so true to facts! My friend had lent her copy to a person who didn't return it, which kept on mentioning how upset she was.so asked her for the title. I managed to get it from Amazon UK so am learning another part fo history! It's difficult to put it down, as the authors have written several historic books but this beats them all!!! I very strongly recommend anyone who likes to learn true facts of history that they won't overlook this one - it's incredibly a master piece!
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on 16 February 2010
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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on 14 September 2005
This is a book recommended to me by my father, who read it back in the day ('80 or something). My recent interest in history is well served by this book, even if it does somehow blow up a few biographies and events of 1 year into 582 pages.
I would have to say it's a brilliantly written book, even if it does seem a little too enamoured and awe-struck with the British. Some people I know find it partial and apologist, but I would suggest potential readers to dismiss this as sanctimoniousness. Read it!
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