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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2003
This book is one of my favorite non-fiction books. The beauty of this book is that the main points are in Ghandi's exact quotes while the flow of the arguments are edited by his biographer, Louis Fischer, to give a great feel of direction. Because Ghandi edited his own newspaper his life-changing views are abundant and easily accessible. If only this book were read by all leaders of people.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2011
My son wrote a most excellent research paper on Gandhi at a state competition a few years ago, and that was enough to get me interested again. I had wanted to read some of his work to learn more about community organizing and direct action. My previous exposure to Gandhi's life and work was almost solely the movie and a few quotes here and there, so I was ready and willing to be de-hollywoodized.

I enjoyed the book, but found it to be difficult to plow through. I greatly appreciated it was entirely in Gandhi's own words (and found several times evidence where he might often be misquoted, or at least referred to out of context). But the text often just didn't flow. The editor seemed to say (in the introduction) that this was necessary because of Gandhi's obtuse writing style. I believe him, but ... he ... may ... have ... gone ... overboard.

After reading this book, I do think I have a better grasp of Gandhi's actual thought and philosophy, but I could only go up. I have no idea if there are better overviews of Gandhi's thought & work (for the lay person) out there. I do recommend the book to anyone interested in learning more about Gandhi.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2006
Essential religion, essential spirituality, essential humanity, essential leadership, essential politics, essential history and more. All in one book!

Praise to Louis Fischer for creating such an incredible view into the mind of an incredible man.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2008
I have been researching Gandhi for a number of years, so I can claim some expertise in evaluating this book. Simply put, I am not sure why I didn't get to it earlier, as it is a superior collection of Gandhi's writings, blended in skillfully with some of Fischer's own writings about Gandhi. This anthology goes beyond mere collection in that it also is organized with attention to telling the story of Gandhi's life chronologically. If you know the story of Gandhi well, this book will capture some of the rare gems of Gandhi's thought, as well as his controversial ideas. If you don't know Gandhi's life story yet, start with Fischer's Gandhi: His Life and Message to the World, a short, concise summary. The Essential Gandhi succeeds in being just that: a treasury of thought of one of the most important men of the past century.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Essential Gandhi edited by Louis Fischer provides the reader with a solid introduction into Gandhi's' life, work, and ideas in his own words. It's not a biography in the conventional understanding of the word, but rather a hybrid mix of biographical note and philosophical articulation of the principles that have made Gandhi one of the most beloved historical figures of the last century. Gandhi was not a perfect man as illustrated by the sections on meat eating and his early religious struggles in the first part of the book. That's really important because noted historical figures sometimes take on a pre-godly reverence that blinds us to their flaws. Highly recommended book on Gandhi that just may cause one to step back and consider their own life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2008
The best thing about this book for me is that in short chapters a reader is given a relatively thorough understanding of Ghandi as he spoke about different categories such as non violence, the power of the mind, political principles or how he felt about himself as a father. The kind of book you can pick up to read a chapter in an hour or so.
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Wow! This is such an inspirational book! I'm chagrined that I hadn't read it before. In this book, Ganhi's thoughts, experiments, approaches that resulted in the coming together of millions of people, guiding them to not just a more enlightened spiritual being, but, like most great religious leaders, moving them toward [political] justice. Brilliant read. Perhaps because of the interpretation or the shear brilliance of the man, I found this book to be a much slower read than many books. As one with an interest in personal - spiritual growth as well as political movements, this was an outstanding book for me. I was surprised to read about his relationships with his children. I couldn't give this a rating any lower than A+.
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on January 29, 2006
This is the only book I have read about Gandhi and it was enough for me to get an overall idea about his personality. It's an autobiography written in a simple style which talks about all aspects of Gandhi's life: childhood, his marriage at young age, the time he spent in africa, so on and so forth. It is a good book for first time readers who don't know anything about Gandhi's life. I saw the movie 'Gandhi' right after I finished reading this book which showed clear differences between the content covered in both. The book is far better than the movie because it is more honest and detailed.
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on September 21, 2008
This book is one that will change your life. Gandhi's view on non violent protest really changed the way people could stand up for their rights without violent actions. In the words of Gandhi "a violent action in nature elicits a violent response but a non violent action...."
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on February 26, 2010
"The Essential Gandhi" is the most inspiring work I have read in a long time. Reading about the life of this most amazing man can be nothing short of inspirational. It makes me want to change my own life in so many areas. I give this work my highest recommendation.
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