Gandhi: The Years That Changed the World, 1914-1948 by Ramachandra Guha

Gandhi: The Years That Changed the World, 1914-1948

Ramachandra Guha

Ramachandra Guha has drawn on sixty different archival collections to create a portrait of Gandhi and of those closest to him.

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The second and concluding volume of the magisterial biography that began with the acclaimed, Gandhi Before India: the definitive portrait of the life and work of one of the most abidingly influential--and controversial--men in world history.

This volume opens with Mohandas Gandhi's arrival in Bombay in January 1915 and takes us through his epic struggles over the next three decades: to deliver India from British rule, to forge harmonious relations between India's Hindu and Muslim populations, to end the pernicious Hindu practice of untouchability, and to develop India's economic and moral self-reliance. We see how in each of these campaigns, Gandhi adapted methods of nonviolence--strikes, marches, fasts--that successfully challenged British authority, religious orthodoxy, social customs, and would influence non-violent, revolutionary movements throughout the world. In reconstructing Gandhi's life and work, Ramachandra Guha has drawn on sixty different archival collections, the most significant among them, a previously unavailable collection of papers belonging to Gandhi himself. Using this wealth of material, Guha creates a portrait of Gandhi and of those closest to him--family, friends, political and social leaders--that illuminates the complexity inside his thinking, his motives, his actions and their outcomes as he engaged with every important aspect of social and public life in the India of his time.

Advance Galley Reviews

It took me forever and a day to finish this one. It's well written, and though at times I felt as though I was plodding week by week through this man's life, it actually is well curated. There's just so very much information available about Gandhi. But I learned a lot. The author is a big fan and very forgiving of Gandhi's faults, which I more or less expected, since he's clearly devoted his life to this study. Really remarkable undertaking. I'm just not sure I was really in it for this many pages. I did get a copy from First to Read to review, although it took me way too long to read to get it done on time.

This portrait is exhaustive and a wonderful read for students of history, activism, and/or religion. The length is somewhat overwhelming, but the more you get into it, the more you want to read.

Gandhi: The Years That Changed The World, 1914-1948 by Ramachandra Guha is the second book of his in-depth two-part biography of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Picking up in 1914 with Gandhi's return to India, this excellently researched book is a richly detailed history of Gandhi and his role in India's emergence from the British Raj to self-rule and the partition into Pakistan and India. Guha does an excellent job of presenting an even-handed look at one of India's most influential political, religious and social leaders as well as his friends and foes during the decades-long battle for the nation's independence. Many thanks to Penguin's First To Read for the opportunity to enjoy an early read of Guha's insightful book.

I know only as much about Gandhi as one learns in American history education and picks up in popular culture so thought this would be a good way to learn more about such a well known but unfamiliar historical figure. It wasn't. I felt at sea from the beginning. There is an earlier years biography by the same author which didn't help, but also it assumes more background than I possess to follow the thread. I am sure for Gandhi scholars this is a great book with obviously well researched foundation including in a newly public collection. But for the casual reader looking to supplement paltry knowledge of such a key historical figure it is just too detailed without a strong narrative.

I've read very few biographies, but this was a very insightful read. Through this incredible account, the author gives readers an opportunity to better understand Ghandi, the people who played vital roles in his life and the depth of his influence, as we gained a comprehensive look into his life's work. It's a lengthy read which would be enjoyed by biography lovers... for those who are fanatics of other genres, you may find it rather tedious.

I wish I would have read the first book first. That said, I dont think you have to, but I feel it would have set a better context in my head. Lots of great information here about a powerful leader. Thanks for the opportunity!

This is a very dense, well-researched book. I found it a bit overwhelming, and felt I would have been better prepared had I read the author's earlier work on the topic. That being said, I was fascinated by the information, and took away a better understanding of Gandhi and the world around him. History buffs would love this.

I think it is only fair to begin this review of “Gandhi: The Years That Changed the World, 1914-1948” by focusing on what Ramachandra Guha gives us in the preface. Here we get the expected overview of the book and of Gandhi's life but also a peek into Guha’s methodology as a historian. A methodology that is refreshing and shapes the way that the rest of the book unfolds. Guha explains how he endeavored to go beyond merely recounting Gandhi's own eighty volumes of collected works. He looked at personal letters, newspapers, and friends (“and rivals”) personal papers. The account that results is a book that presents a full picture of Gandhi - both as the statuesque leader and as a complicated human being – Guha’s account walks the line perfectly providing a full and deep picture of Gandhi respecting what he’s accomplished and providing an understanding of being human. This is a full and complex account of a figure that is worth knowing more about. The one critique of the book I have is that it does start a bit abruptly. This is easily forgiven as this is the second of two books. However, not reading the first book, and being a novice to this part of history, there was a bit of context that I missed early on that I picked up as I went. This book can definitely still be read as a stand-alone and the lack of some early details of Gandhi's life is not in any way a deal breaker. Actually, in many ways, it is kind of nice not to get bogged down and jump right in and it does make me want to read the first book.

Although I am interested in this subject, I find that I am not really interested enough to give this door stop of a book (if it were an actual book and not a download) the time and attention it would require. My fault, not that of the author.

While this book is very long it does not read like that. Ramachandra Guha does an excellent job keeping the narrative going at a good pace. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has a love of world history.

“On Gandhi: Don’t ever forget, that we were not lead by a saint with his head in clouds, but by a master tactician with his feet on the ground."? Shashi Tharoor "I and others may be revolutionaries but we are disciples of Mahatma Gandhi, directly or indirectly, nothing more nothing less." Ho Chi Minh “Gandhi was inevitable. If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable. He lived, thought and acted, inspired by the vision of humanity evolving toward a world of peace and harmony. We may ignore Gandhi at our own risk.” — Martin Luther King Jr. How can people with such different personalities and moral views all praise Gandhi? How can Ho Chi Minh murderer of nearly 3 billion people and MLK Jr. who believed in peaceful protest both honor and respect Gandhi? Ramachandra Guha is a serious Gandhi biographer. He has split the biography into 2 parts and either can be read independently as Gandhi basically led two lives, one in South African and one on his return to India. Gandhi 1914-1948: The Years That Changed the World, deals with his life after returning to India. In the West we were told that Gandhi was a great man, who did great things, and it was all done with peaceful protest. That is such a simplistic and naive view. Gandhi 1914-1948: The Years That Changed the World goes in depth to who Gandhi was, what he believed, why he believed it, and his reactions to the world around him. He wasn't loved and idolized by everyone, including his own children. He was idealistic, and sometimes quite hard core in his moral ethos. Did the ends justify the means? India is struggling today with that question. Delve into this book and decide for yourself as you learn who Gandhi truly was.

This book was an extensive look at the progress of Gandhi’s activism and views. The author has clearly done her research which is reflected nicely in this book. I found it well written but a little hard to get through the entirety simply due to length. I’d recommend this book for two types of people: one who has already read about Gandhi and is looking for a more in-depth view of this time period of his life, or someone who knows nothing but is committed enough to digest through such a detailed book as it does offer great insight into his views and commitment towards people. I didn’t know much details of Gandhi before this book and definitely can say that has changed from this book.

This is a very thorough history of Gandhi's activism starting with his experiences in South Africa. I found the progression of his beliefs and how he decided to act on them very interesting. Because of the length of the book and the time requirements to fully digest the information, I found I had to make a pretty big time commitment. It was worth it. I learned a lot about Gandhi and his times.

This is an exhaustive look at the work that Gandhi started in South Africa. It shows how he became obsessed with helping India and Indians improve their lives. Through letters and other documents we get a better understanding of Gandhi and why he went to extremes to get people to pay attention to the conditions of his people. If you’re interested in knowing more about Gandhi and his work this is the book for you.


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