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Gandhi: An Autobiography - The Story of My Experiments With Truth Paperback – November 1, 1993
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Although Gandhi presents his episodes chronologically, he happily leaves wide gaps, such as the entire satyagraha struggle in South Africa, for which he refers the reader to another of his books. And writing for his contemporaries, he takes it for granted that the reader is familiar with the major events of his life and of the political milieu of early 20th-century India. For the objective story, try Yogesh Chadha's Gandhi: A Life. For the inner world of a man held as a criminal by the British, a hero by Muslims, and a holy man by Hindus, look no further than these experiments. --Brian Bruya
—The Christian Century
“An absorbing book that stands alone in frankness and plain honesty...Its place among the classics of autobiography cannot be in doubt.”
—The New Statesman
“An amazingly frank self-revelation of the greatest and humblest modern man.”
“It is...only by reading the whole long and detailed day-by-day record that readers can sense the magic of Gandhi’s being and discover him fully.”
“(Gandhi’s) autobiography remains invaluable for its account of the shaping of a new path to collective resistance to injustice.”
—From the foreword by Sissela Bok
- Publisher : Beacon Press (November 1, 1993)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 560 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0807059099
- ISBN-13 : 978-0807059098
- Lexile measure : 1010L
- Item Weight : 1.45 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.4 x 1.6 x 7.93 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #580,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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But, this book was just plain hard to read. The style was more like reading legislation than reading a life story. That probably makes sense, given Gandhi's educational training. This style might work for a short, thoughtful treatise on a specific topic. But, 500+ pages in this style was just too much.
I finally did get through the book. I would like to say that it was worth it, to get to know Gandhi better. And, that might be true if this book was the only way to get to know Gandhi, but it's not. There are many other sources to learn about him. I think it would be better to chose one of the others.
Gandhi is by no means perfect in my eyes. He writes about his exposure to Christianity while in England and why he saw no need to convert to it from the Hinduism of his upbringing. Further, he describes why he spent much of his life as an adamant vegetarian and refused even taking milk for the sake of his health. Finally, Gandhi’s family life seems arranged around patriarchy, and Gandhi never seems to wrestle with this inequality. While still disagreeing in reading this work, I found evident respect for his reasons as to why.
Even more, I found respect for how he overcame discrimination in South Africa and in India under the British Empire. He did so with an optimistic view of the law – that the law, at its best, is a chronicle of humans struggling with each other. He holds an unwavering faith in the eventual triumph of justice in human affairs on earth, and it seems that this faith is rooted in the very nature of the universe’s life as being sustained by God.
This autobiography describes Gandhi’s life from its earliest days (including an arranged marriage at age 13!), to his youth as a student, and to his adult years as a lawyer in South Africa and India. It covers his role in Indian independence and ceases with the assumption of his public role. Like most memoirs (and this book could certainly be categorized as a memoir), this work elucidates the formative events in his life and describes these events from the inside out.
Any reader will have to grow comfortable with the mixing of words from many languages. Many non-English words, when pertaining to specific concepts rooted in culture, are not translated in this edition. This can serve as a good introduction to the subcontinent, however, and as a pericope into the linguistic challenges present in Indian life. These challenges persist today.
Gandhi does not come off as a self-absorbed narcissist. Rather, as the subtitle implies, Gandhi sees this story as “experiments with truth,” as a scientific, objective approach to human affairs. Although readers will be struck by Gandhi’s high view of justice, he does not seem particularly hung up on his ego needs. Rather, he seems genuinely concerned with speaking up with integrity for his fellow humans – particularly those who are not from a privileged background. That ethical excellence, combined with wide-ranging experience, is why this work is a classic and should continue to be read as a treasure by all.
This is a great introduction to his life. I highly recommend it.
Top reviews from other countries
However I have to admit I did struggle to get through the book as it never really gripped me and dragged me back in.
But this one is exactly opposite, full of self-criticism and determined to present himself as the fallible guy.
Simply outstanding, Mahatma presented himself as he was. After finishing this book, I realized what it takes to do unthinkable.
1. Honesty (to the core)
2. Self critic