Gandhi: A Memoir

Gandhi: A Memoir

by William L. Shirer

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Recalling his friendship and conversations with the late Indian leader, William Shirer presents a portrait of Gandhi that spotlights his frailties as well as his accomplishments.

As a young foreign correspondent, William Shirer reported briefly on Gandhi—but the year was 1931, when India's struggle for independence peaked and Gandhi scored perhaps his greatest political success. The year before, he had led a 200-mile march to the sea to pick up a lump of salt—a violation of the British salt tax; and this symbolic act (like—he reminds Shirer—the Boston Tea Party) had propelled the Indian masses into nonviolent civil disobedience on a large scale. To check its spread, Gandhi had been arbitrarily imprisoned. Now he was out of prison and negotiating with the British viceroy: if Gandhi would call off the civil-disobedience campaign and attend an upcoming London conference, the British would make concessions too.

These, however, were so limited and vague that many Indian nationalists regarded Gandhi's agreement as a sell-out; but Shirer underlines history's judgment of its wisdom with Gandhi's own words. More importantly, he notes, the British had finally been forced "to deal with an Indian leader as an equal." Along these lines, Shirer also witnessed British discomfiture at Gandhi's arrival—complete with loin cloth, spinning wheel, and goat’s milk; he saw the sensation Gandhi caused in London—and heard him address Lancashire millhands thrown out of work by the Indian boycott of British cotton. And he saw him at home, subsisting on four-hours' sleep and "frenzied acclaim." This book is sure to press upon readers the worldwide force of Gandhi's example.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451699944
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 08/21/2012
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 1,053,773
File size: 21 MB
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About the Author

William L. Shirer was an American journalist and historian. He became known for his broadcasts on CBS from the German capital of Berlin through the first year of World War II.

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Gandhi 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
alittlebitdifferant on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Shirer was an American journalist in the world of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, who happened to be in the right place at the right time - first with Gandhi, then with Hitler and his murderous gang and then in San Francisco, where the UN was being born. After the devilish inspired Berlin Diary, Death of Berlin Diary and The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich - well, I can almost see Shirer thinking "what now?" A result was this book in the 1970s - documenting his journey to India and to Gandhi, some 50 years previously. As usual, Shirer is on form doing what he does best - telling what he saw and did with the great man and saying what Shirer thought, both in the 1920s and 1970s. Shirer's genius is the grounding of greatness of man in the particular mundane details. The image for me of Shirer's Gandhi? - a coughing old man, dressed in home-spun cloth, walking miles in Simla to meet the Viceroy - with the steely purpose of freeing India! Awe-inspiring.
Guest More than 1 year ago
William Shirer is one the few men who could write such a compelling story about such a great man. Shirer spent much time with Mahatma Gandhi. He learned of the morals and the strategies of Gandhi's pursuit for the freedom of India. No other man was qualified enough for the hard task that Gandhi faced himself with. He led an entire nation in a journey to freedom, yet a non-violent one. He was faced with many trials along the way but could almost always keep a positive attitude. Shirer began with an overview of the great man, Gandhi. He told of his health routines, his family and his morals. Despite of his age, Gandhi maintained a far better health than some one like you or me. He took a three-mile walk every morning, kept a strict diet, and functioned on very little sleep. This was due to the many prayer services that he attended and the late-night meetings with certain political leaders. Overall, this book was a great insight on the life of a great man. He held the fate of a nation on his brittle but strong shoulders. A few people can only tell such a story and William Shirer showed that he is qualified.