Gandhi & Churchill: The Epic Rivalry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age

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Random House Publishing Group, Apr 29, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 736 pages
In this fascinating and meticulously researched book, bestselling historian Arthur Herman sheds new light on two of the most universally recognizable icons of the twentieth century, and reveals how their forty-year rivalry sealed the fate of India and the British Empire.

They were born worlds apart: Winston Churchill to Britain’s most glamorous aristocratic family, Mohandas Gandhi to a pious middle-class household in a provincial town in India. Yet Arthur Herman reveals how their lives and careers became intertwined as the twentieth century unfolded. Both men would go on to lead their nations through harrowing trials and two world wars—and become locked in a fierce contest of wills that would decide the fate of countries, continents, and ultimately an empire.

Gandhi & Churchill reveals how both men were more alike than different, and yet became bitter enemies over the future of India, a land of 250 million people with 147 languages and dialects and 15 distinct religions—the jewel in the crown of Britain’s overseas empire for 200 years.

Over the course of a long career, Churchill would do whatever was necessary to ensure that India remain British—including a fateful redrawing of the entire map of the Middle East and even risking his alliance with the United States during World War Two.

Mohandas Gandhi, by contrast, would dedicate his life to India’s liberation, defy death and imprisonment, and create an entirely new kind of political movement: satyagraha, or civil disobedience. His campaigns of nonviolence in defiance of Churchill and the British, including his famous Salt March, would become the blueprint not only for the independence of India but for the civil rights movement in the U.S. and struggles for freedom across the world.

Now master storyteller Arthur Herman cuts through the legends and myths about these two powerful, charismatic figures and reveals their flaws as well as their strengths. The result is a sweeping epic of empire and insurrection, war and political intrigue, with a fascinating supporting cast, including General Kitchener, Rabindranath Tagore, Franklin Roosevelt, Lord Mountbatten, and Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. It is also a brilliant narrative parable of two men whose great successes were always haunted by personal failure, and whose final moments of triumph were overshadowed by the loss of what they held most dear.

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User Review  - nmele - LibraryThing

I was fascinated by this comparative biography which looks critically at Gandhi and Churchill, two men who have been much idealized and mythologized. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - danoomistmatiste - LibraryThing

Come on, attempting to compare a true saint like Gandhi to that foul mouthed, ill tempered and mean curmodgeon would be like doing the same with one of Christ's true apostles with Pontius Pilate. A ... Read full review


The Churchills and the Raj
The Gandhis India
Gandhi in London
Churchill in India 1896I899
SIX2 Men at War 13991900
SEVENI Converging Paths l900l906
EIGHTI Brief Encounter 19061909
ELEVENI A Bridgchead Too Far 19111915
SIXTEEN Eve 0F Battle 1929
ontm Mundum 19311932
N TYTHREEI iullision Course 19391940
THIRTYI Death in the Jardcn l471948
THRTYONIi2 Lion in Twilight 19481965
Triumph and Tragedy
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NINEZ Break Point 9U99l0 1

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About the author (2008)

Arthur Herman is the bestselling author of How the Scots Invented the Modern World, which has sold over 350,000 copies worldwide, and To Rule the Waves: How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World, which was nominated for the prestigious Mountbatten Prize in 2005. He is a former professor of history at Georgetown University, Catholic University, and the Smithsonian’s Campus on the Mall. He and his wife live in central Virginia.

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