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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Message for Today
Gandhi's words have never been so pertinent as they are today. This is an anthology of his writings, edited by topic in chronological order. It's an autobiography revealing Gandhi's evolution from a fearful young man, afraid of the dark, to a fearless leader who feared no rebuke by an empire. More than an aesthete in a modern world, Gandhi's complexity is revealed in...
Published on September 2, 2003 by Tony Theil

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Editor's selection of Gandhi writing, not chronological
Disappointed that Gandhi's writing was lumped together by topic selected by the editor, rather than by chronology, so you can't really see how his thought developed over time. Still a good selection.
Published on March 10, 2010 by H. B. Grant


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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Message for Today, September 2, 2003
By 
Tony Theil (Philadelphia, PA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Essential Gandhi: An Anthology of His Writings on His Life, Work, and Ideas (Paperback)
Gandhi's words have never been so pertinent as they are today. This is an anthology of his writings, edited by topic in chronological order. It's an autobiography revealing Gandhi's evolution from a fearful young man, afraid of the dark, to a fearless leader who feared no rebuke by an empire. More than an aesthete in a modern world, Gandhi's complexity is revealed in each passage as he penitently reveals his transformation into selfless service and living simply. His words and actions inspired others to follow without fear of retaliation and could guide today's leaders to a peaceful resolve. The book reads like a primer on non-violence.
Eknath Easwaran's 18 page Preface is worth the price of the 339 page paperbound book.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I wish I had known this book!!!!!!!, April 4, 2006
By 
Zing Om (San Diego, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Essential Gandhi: An Anthology of His Writings on His Life, Work, and Ideas (Paperback)
Before purchasing this book I had purchased quite a few of other Gandhi titles, but this book truely takes the cake.

It is so incredibly well organized, hits the essential notes about Gandhi the man, his spiritual and political gifts to the world.

Anytime i need a dose of inner strength and need to evoke a spirit of service in my self this very portable and handy book is the magic key
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars gandhi as a philosopher, April 11, 2007
This review is from: The Essential Gandhi: An Anthology of His Writings on His Life, Work, and Ideas (Paperback)
The format of this book is a little unusual, it's basically an abridged version of Gandhi's writings, supplimented with editorial comments which set the scene for when and where his statements are coming from. If you're not entirely familiar with Gandhi's life or some of the basic aspects of Indian culture at the time, these editorial comments are very helpful. For example, just before some statements about Gandhi's use of the Gita (around page 160) the editor gives a brief summary of the what the Gita is.

Moving on from the basic format, I found this book very enlightening, and not in the way that other reviewers seem to have. I doubt very much that I'm in a position to change anyone's opinion on him, but I ask that if you buy this book, look closely at the ways in which Gandhi supports his claims. Oftentimes he makes grand statements and then leaves them in the air, unsupported. This is not in an of itself a bad thing, as sometimes the truth value of a statement is obvious to the casual observer, but then again sometimes it is not.

Gandhi was certainly a great leader, but I think it's stretching to call him a great philosopher. His ideas were not new, even if the grand-scale application of them was. He seeks truth but seems largely unconcerned with methodology, which undermines the grand statements he makes.

If you do read this book critically, it may help to keep in mind persuasive techniques, even beginner things like appealing to authority. Watch for strange analogies, as in page 168's equating atoms to people and Love to hydrogen/ionic/covalent bonds.

It probably seems a little weird to hear someone object to the methodology of someone like Gandhi, but these days we have to be aware of the methods by which the people around us seem convincing, whether we like what they're saying or not.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read Gandhi's autobiography aswell, December 13, 2004
This review is from: The Essential Gandhi: An Anthology of His Writings on His Life, Work, and Ideas (Paperback)
This book is a collection of Gandhi's writings linked together by a biographer. The writings are taken from many different sources (including his autobiography) which I found produced a slightly disjointed reading experience.

I found his autobiography (called The Story of My Experiments with Truth) worked much better for me. In this book, which is written entirely in his own words, we join Gandhi on a journey of self-discovery as he relates experiences and learning lessons which were important during his life. His mission was to seek truth, which he achieved through conducting experiments on himself and then appraising the results.

Gandhi was one who never followed the crowd. He felt they didn't know where they were going. He preferred to trust his own judgement and soul, rather than blindly following other people or their beliefs. This did not mean he rejected all commonly held beliefs but he always cross-examined them fully before finally accepting them. He urges us not to follow him, rather to seek the truth for ourselves through our own experimentations. After all seeing is believing.

He found that uncovering the truth was not always popular as many people are resistant to change, preferring instead to maintain the existing status quo either because of inertia, self-interest or misguided beliefs. However once the truth is on the march nothing can stop it. All it takes is time to achieve traction and gain momentum. As Gandhi says "The truth is far more powerful than any weapon of mass destruction".

His autobiography confirms to us that the most important battle to fight is in overcoming one's own demons, fears and insecurities. It is all too easy to blame people, governing powers or enemies for our actions and wellbeing. The solution to our problems can normally be found just by looking in the mirror. The path to enlightenment is a journey to be travelled alone and requires us to open our hearts, our minds and our eyes.

In addition to Gandhi's autobiography I would also recommend the film Gandhi by Sir Richard Attenborough plus the books The Kingdom of God is Within You by Leo Tolstoy and Fit for Life II by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Editor's selection of Gandhi writing, not chronological, March 10, 2010
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This review is from: The Essential Gandhi: An Anthology of His Writings on His Life, Work, and Ideas (Paperback)
Disappointed that Gandhi's writing was lumped together by topic selected by the editor, rather than by chronology, so you can't really see how his thought developed over time. Still a good selection.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars EXTRAORDINARY COLLECTION OF GANDHI'S WRITINGS FROM VINTAGE SPIRITUAL CLASSICS SERIES, November 13, 2006
This review is from: The Essential Gandhi: An Anthology of His Writings on His Life, Work, and Ideas (Paperback)
but why not get the originals instead, avaiable here cheaply on amazon.

This book draws from a number of original sources, including "My Experiments with Truth", etc., and you may choose to skip these excerpts and get the full writings. The more in this case the better.

Yet please take a moment to view the back cover using amazon's remarkable "Search Inside" feature, to read the quote about Gandhi's inevitability written by our nation's greatest Christian preacher, the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., slain for doing and preaching non-violence, including opposing profitable warmongering and warmaking that only killed and wounded his and other peoples of color. King learned much about Christianity from Gandhi, and we can do no less. Lucky if we do as well.

Again, please search the mighty amazon for all of Gandhi's orignal works and read them in their entirety,and not only these excerpts collected originally long ago. (In fact one chapter heading, not quoting Gandhi, refers to Negros, a term which fell out of use some forty years ago).

I in particular now study with gratitude his Tous les hommes sont freres, whose topics are tellingly urgent today. His Way to God is also very very helpful and consoling.

But if you need a fine introductory text, begin here if you promise not to rest here. Vintage Spiritual Classics series are a decent popular source, but not the deep river that runs nearby. It is a division of Random House here recycling and reprinting old works still in the catalogue in new wineskins.

Go to the originals! These are the leaders and voices we most sorely need today: Dr. King and Gandhi. Or just read the Reverend Father John Dear, SJ, and you'll get the idea if not the Spirit. Or better yet, get Father Dear's collection of Gandhi's writings instead, from Orbis Books' Modern Spiritual Masters series entitled, Mohandas Gandhi: Essential Writings.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very well organized, and informative, December 29, 2006
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This review is from: The Essential Gandhi: An Anthology of His Writings on His Life, Work, and Ideas (Paperback)
I really liked the way everything is laid out in this book, allowing you to read Gandhi's own words coupled with an explanation of events that was driving him.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well organized, inspiring, June 8, 2008
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This review is from: The Essential Gandhi: An Anthology of His Writings on His Life, Work, and Ideas (Paperback)
I've read a total of 3 books about Mahatma Gandhi, all of them stemming from his own writings. This is the best out of those three books.

It is well organized and takes the most crucial parts of his writings and puts them in an order that is coherent and easy to read. The notes by the editor also make it easy for someone who does not know the whole history surrounding Gandhi's plight. She sets the setting and environment with each chapter making sure the reader knows what is going on regardless of their previous knowledge of the situation.

This is why I always suggest this book to anyone who wants to start learning about this amazing man. It is very inspirational, and I have highlighted and reflected on quite a few passages. This is one of my most lent books since everyone hears about and references this man, but very few actually know anything about him.

This is the best book to allow people to be introduced to his ideas and beliefs.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to Read Impossible to Forget, November 5, 2003
This review is from: The Essential Gandhi: An Anthology of His Writings on His Life, Work, and Ideas (Paperback)
The best anything I've ever read about Gandhiji! I read this over 6 weeks when I was visiting India in the Fall of 2000 to see my mother for the last time. Every night I was so eager to read the book from the place I left the night before. At the end, the book was in several pieces but I still remember the highlights. A great author to write a great book about a unique soul!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational, January 9, 2007
By 
L. Humphreys (Minneapolis, MN USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Essential Gandhi: An Anthology of His Writings on His Life, Work, and Ideas (Paperback)
This is a wonderful book about Gandhi's whole life, his personal growth, relationships and tells how Tolstoy's "What I Believe" influenced the man that he became. A inpiring story that proves that peace is the way.
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