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Freedom at Midnight Paperback – January, 1983

102 customer reviews

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Paperback, January, 1983
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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews


'Magnificently enlightening and exciting.' -- National Observer, Washington

'The song of India...illuminated like scenes in a pageant.' -- Time Magazine, New York

'Thrilling...staggers the imagination.' --Daily Mail --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

'Thrilling ... staggers the imagination.' - DAILY MAIL

'There is no single passage in I this profoundly researched book that one could actually fault. Having been there most of the time in question, I can vouch for the accuracy of its general mood. It is a work of scholarship, of investigation, research and of significance.' JAMES CAMERON, NEW YORK TIMES The dialogue is convincing, the story is emotionally moving and it contains some of the best descriptions of battle I've read..." - TIME OUT

"I defy a reader to put the book down once Robinson has got him into the air..." Paul Fussell, NEW REPUBLIC '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 alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Avon Books (Mm) (January 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380006936
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380006939
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.1 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,840,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

114 of 115 people found the following review helpful By Jasleen Matharu on March 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre have managed to capture one of the most important years (1947) of world history in their book. Freedom at Midnight is possibly one of the most outrageously enthralling works of writing based on real events that I have ever read.
This book is an account of the year 1947 in context to the freedom of India from the British Raj. It opens on New Year's Day, 1947, London and takes the reader on a journey of significant events that lead to the independence of India. On the way, the reader is introduced to many brilliant characters who shaped up the history in that part of the world and have since left their mark that is still evident. The decisions made by these people defined the future of millions of people.
Freedom at Midnight is an intimate account of the reasoning of these historical figures that lead to the independence and division of India. Why did Prime Minister Clement Atlee who took office dedicated to break the Empire apart choose Louis Mountbatten, a member of the royal family to be the last viceroy of India? Why was he the man to administer India's freedom operation?
This book is one of the most intimate accounts of the most venerated figures in the world's history, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi aka Mahatma Gandhi. His approach, position, attitude towards the British Raj, the Indian Congress, the political and social blueprint that he dreamed of the Independent India. And vice-versa. As the book flows like an epic, it gives detailed account of final days of Gandhi and who, why and how of the assassination of this revered leader. The reader is also introduced to Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel and Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
What happened to the Maharajas, the palaces, the tigers, the jewels and the harems?
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By on September 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
History has never been so intriguing. Being an Indian I read the book from an Indian standpoint and for me it was an incredible experience. Having grown up in India I have been exposed to a lot of material about Independence but none have aroused such thought as "Freedom at Midnight". A masterfully written, superbly researched and above all a very human account of what happenned in that period of Indian History. Mountbatten comes across as the hero of India and though Gandhi is shown to be more human than saint his actions were definitely that of a Mahatma. This book gave me a better understanding of my own country. A must read for every Indian or anyone who is interested in India.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By DesertFox on October 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
The first time I read this book was years ago when I was in Graduate school, and since then I have taken out and read my copy frequently, at times to breeze through a chapter or a reference point, but twice to read it cover to cover all over again.

Setting out at the point when (a reluctant) Lord Mountbatten is assigned the task of dismembering the empire from its proudest colonial possession, the book proceeds to delve deep into the principal characters involved in one of the most remarkable events in human history. Through a combination of exquisite prose, meticulous research and skillful narrative, Collins and Lapierre brings to life these men and women, who with their life's work played out an irrevocable part first in the subjugation and subsequently, centuries later, to the liberation of millions in the sub-continent.

Portrayed thus in those highly textured and vivid images are the personalities of Mahatma Gandhi, breathtakingly simple in philosophy and excruciatingly complex in what he does; Jawaharlal Nehru, loyalties divided between his affection for the Mahatma and (what he considered) pragmatic solutions for India's problems; Sardar Patel, the man who many consider the "real hero"; Jinnah, unscrupulous and unflinching in his demand for Pakistan; and Mountbatten, flamboyant, savoir-faire, and as the authors would have us believe, ever empathetic towards India. (This last part being driven in at times with a bit too much fervour to the liking of many who look at it from the East's perspective). Added in good measures, in deference to the west's fascination perhaps, are revealing accounts of the Maharajas and their larger than life existences with their elephants and their harems.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Rishabh Jhunjhunwala on May 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
Freedom At Midnight is one of my favorite books of all time. The way it tells the story of the last few crucial pre-indepence years of the Indian struggle is admirable - it provides huge amounts of information, different viewpoints, and popular notions at the time all without making the whole affair a dry history lesson. It's gripping as any bestselling novel.

Some of the flaws of the book include an overt tendency to canonize Gandhi, to mention startling facts in a kind of look-this-is-so-exotic way without much exploration into their causes, and other simplistic approaches. For a book that otherwise provides fascinating insights into Gandhi, there needed to be much more information about and analysis of the lesser known aspects of his life - like his experiments with celibacy, and his occasional violation of vows. The British are portrayed too tamely and sympathetically and their atrocities (like Kalapani) are not recorded. The canvass of the book is too large to do justice to many events.

The authors freely crowd the commentary with their own takes on the issues, which makes the telling all the more interesting. Gandhi, much more than most other characters in the novel, is intimately presented to the reader, so much so that the book becomes a tearjerker when describing Gandhi's plight. And, to be honest, the simplistic startling facts do tend to be fascinating.

The storytelling ability of the authors is the highlight of the work. At many points, the book becomes impossible to put back down, much to the detriment of other engagements (the book took up 3 or 4 precious hours on the eve of the most important exam of my life).

A fascinating, commendable work.
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