William Shirer goes further back, to reading his Rise and Fall of the Third Reich in elementary school I d liked it then and when I found he d written a memoir of Gandhi, the purchase was inescapable.
As it happened, Shirer had, in addition to his duties in Europe, been assigned for a time to cover the independence movement in the subcontinent The youngest of the reporters covering the matter, Gandhi had taken him under his wing, giving him access denied others This book is both a reminiscence of that association and a biography of Gandhi.
Shirer is critical of many of Gandhi s beliefs and practices, yet it is obvious that he was in awe of, even loved, the man Indeed, towards the end of his book and this towards the end of his life he notes that despite his career of studying the prominent people of the world, Gandhi was the one he most respected.
One brief anecdote is worth recalling In the twenties, on his way to the UK, Gandhi stopped in Italy for an audience with Mussolini It was attended by the Duce and his sons, one of whom sniggered at the little old man in rags and sandals accompanied by a goat Afterwards, Gandhi having departed Mussolini slapped the boy, saying, This little man you laugh at has brought the British Empire to its knees Can t remember any book that I ve read in the recent years that has touched me so deeply Absolutely beautiful.
This book is an interesting introduction to Gandhi It was written by the international news correspondent of the old school William Shirer who, apparently fairly open minded and liberal in nature, actually seemed to get Gandhi on a certain level and obviously admired and respected him greatly.
Though Shirer s actual personal contact with Gandhi was limited to a brief period of time during 1930 32, he remained in persoanl correspondence with him throughout the rest of his life and, of course, he followed the news of Gandhi and the Indian independence movement closely That caveat aside the book is a good introduction to Gandhi and the people who were closest to him in his struggle.
Shirer also presents a fairly anti Colonialist view of the British in India and the picture we get of how India was colonized bears eerie resemblance to how we occupied and then privatized Iraq after the invasion I would say, for me, this was the best part of the book Reading about and then realizing how very like our own imperialist endeavours were these older imperialist schemes.
India was essentially privatized under Crown supervision and run by a private corporation with its own private army until the Mutiny of 1857 when Queen Vistoria stepped in and officially made Inida one of the colonies As Gandhi often pointed out India had for centuries a fairly high standard of living and it was the Brtish occupation which ruined it and impoverished it for the benefit of goverment supported private companies You should read it if you wish to understand where the USA is now in terms of foreign policy.
A memoir of Gandhi by a journalist who greatly admired him William Shirer, the author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and other books about the horrors of Nazi Germany.
Very readable Complete but with personal touch.
In August Of , Journalist William Shirer Arrived In Berlin To Find The Nazis Preparing For Confrontation With The Rest Of Europe As Chief Of Universal News Service S Berlin Office, Shirer Was Eyewitness To Many Events The Nuremberg Rallies And The Olympics Of Germany S Military Build Up And The Occupation Of Lands Around Its Borders Hitler S Meetings With Neville Chamberlain And With Stalin The Invasion Of Poland That Heralded The Start Of War And The Steady, Inexorable Progress OfBlitzkrieg, As It Rolled Across Norway, Holland, Belgium, And France Throughout It All, Shirer Not Only Reported To The American People But Recorded His Impressions In His Diary More Than A Mere Catalogue Of Military And Political Events, This Wartime Journal Contains The Thoughtful Analysis Of A Trained Observer Who Watched In Horror As Germany Lunged Down The Road To Armageddon In The Last Half Of The S With A Madman At The Helm X BW Photos Let me qualify the 3 stars This subject of Gandhi s life is the most incredible cake served in the styrofoam cup of this book The cake proved a bit difficult to eat Why Well, major lack of sentence fluency AND major overabundance of words per sentence I give two sentences at the bottom of my review as examples I wonder if Shirer was a bit ADD Or perhaps I don t understand his journalism style of writing Either is possible However, the content must have overcome the distracting writing style for me I did finish the book Now on to Gandhi The film inspired me to learn about him I appreciate the comprehensive explanation of Gandhi s religious views I got from reading this book I also enjoyed knowing particulars of his political work I especially liked the conversations the author included I was surprised and rather shocked at the presented opinion of Winston Churchill on Gandhi Now I mean to learn about Churchill.
Oh, and the Goodreads summary of this book needs to be rewritten It seems to be summarizing another book Writing that s like a long commute home in 5 o clock traffic with a teenager driving a stick shift Example 1 In a harsh, cynical, violent and materialist world he taught and showed that love and truth and non violence, ideas and ideals, could be of tremendous force greater sometimes than guns bombs and bayonets in achieving a little justice, decency, peace and freedom for the vast masses of suffering, downtrodden men and women who eke out an existence on this inhospitable planet Distracting I think so.
Example 2 For those of us who glimpsed, however briefly, Gandhi s use of it non violent action and love , who had the luck, for however short a time, to be in his radiant presence and to feel his greatness and not many of us are still alive, as I write it was an experience that enriched and deepened our lives as no other did A few sentences in the book were shorter than this, but not many There were even a few twice the length and double the commas of these passages Ah High 3 This is an interesting eye witness account from the author who was sent by the Chicago Tribune to cover Gandhi s Civil Disobedience Movement between 1930 32 Shirer provides an insightful memoir which displays the inspirational yet contradictory figure who so tormented the British Empire s hold on the jewel in the crown The author captures the amazing scenes of the vast crowds who surged dangerously to see theirsaviour and the endless energy and enthusiasm of this elderly iconic figure Yet, Shirer also reveals the contradictions that Gandhi embodied, and the frustrations of Nehru at trying to accomodate his own agenda for a socialist modern India with this necessary figurehead who still clung to traditional Hinduist beliefs One such contradiction lay in Gandhi s adherence to the principles behind the caste system while, simultaneously, fearlessly striving to remove the stain of untouchability from Hindu society Shirer also vividly captures the grief with which Gandhi confronted religious tension between the Hindu and Moslem communities, and the calculating use of such tensions by the British to undermine the independence movement The most interesting accounts concern the British reactions to this frail yet magnetic figure both at their summer retreat at Simla in the mountains, and when Gandhi arrived on these shores to attend talks aimed at resolving the crisis in the autumn of 1931.