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From The Critics"The purer the suffering the greater the progress," Gandhi wrote, and it's wisdom that could serve as an epigraph for Wolpert's well-reasoned biography. Erik H. Erikson's Gandhi's Truth still stands as the most audacious examination of Gandhi's life; Wolpert, though, briskly gives us the entire story—we see India's liberator not only as an avatar/sage in the line of Krishna, Tolstoy, Emerson, Thoreau and Ruskin, but as a politician steely enough to face down an empire. First acquainting himself with his adversary's strengths by studying law in England, Gandhi then blueprints passive resistance in South Africa before inspiring millions with satyagraha (soul force) in his homeland. Devoutly single-minded, he's never easy on himself (as a guest, he cleans his hosts' toilets to break his ego) or, for that matters, on others (his wife lived life mainly in his absence). Wolpert, a professor of South Asian studies at the University of California, knows India. And he knows history, skillfully delineating Gandhi's influence on Dr. King, Nelson Mandela and other peaceful warriors. The irony that India is now among the world's leading militaristic forces isn't lost on Wolpert—but, like his subject, he takes the longer view, insisting that Gandhi's life, struggle and martyrdom remain exemplary, a passion that will continue to inspire.