Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India is a biography Pulitzer Prize-winning author Joseph Lelyveld and published by Alfred A Knopf. Great Soul has ratings and 85 reviews. Reading Joseph Lelyveld’s sensitive and informative biography of the life of Mahatma Gandhi is enriching in many. 1 quote from Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India: ‘I should like to slip out of the public gaze to bury myself in the farm and devot.

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In South Africa Gandhi defended wealthy Indians and till much later he hardly supported the working Indian labourers but never supported the local African natives and thus portrays Gandhi as racially prejudiced.

I find Gandhi an interesting person though I do not agree wi. I find Gandhi an interesting person though I do not agree leoyveld his many religious, ideological and political views.

Gandhi worked hard for religious peace, equality and basic necessities of life for every individual in India. However India is very far from achieving any of his ideologies and sanitation is the very last priority of the Government and public.

Gteat is still divided in many ways. This was my first book on Gandhi and it seems family was not important grea he spent very short years with his wife and children, greta brings up a question as to why he would be called a Mahatma. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.

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Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Great Soul by Joseph Lelyveld. Muslim support, crucial in his rise to leadership, soon waned, and the oppressed untouchables—for whom Gandhi spoke to Hindus as a whole—produced their own leaders.

Hardcoverpages. Published March 29th by Knopf first published January 1st To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

To ask other readers questions about Great Soulplease sign up. Lists with This Book. Mar 25, Hadrian rated it really liked it Shelves: Written somewhere over Siberia on the plane to Incheon at 3: In India, within a barely a century after his death, he is already somewhere between Jesus Christ and the Buddha. Perhaps there are a few diehard colonialists and preservers of Empire who still despise him, and aside from them, those few fervent religious devotees.

Yet he is still controversial. His role in Indi Written somewhere over Siberia on the plane to Incheon at 3: His role in Indian and world history, and the effects of his actions, are still yet to be determined.

Great Soul tears open more than a few historical wounds and will no doubt cause history departments and devoted followers and nationalists to erupt with rage for years. It remains uncertain on the extent of his role in the renewal and independence of modern India — if he is solely responsible for its greatness, or if his meddling inadvertently worsened the centuries of sectarian strife. In popular views, he is a saint — a simple holy man, seen in his biopics and operas.

He is still then a shrewd and ambitious lawyer, tempted to settle down and work for some social justice causes. His views then were amorphous, but some guidelines have already been established — e.

Should he include eggs or milk in his vegetarian diet? How are we to properly balance the roles of caste and religion? He first things of representation within empire, and serves as a medicine stretcher in the Boer War — by historical irony, one of the few circumstances where him and Churchill are on the same side.


But later his views become more certain — Quit India! Village independence, local means of production. The dietary and sexual restrictions are part of a larger goal — improved discipline and sanitation. India does deal with the latter to this day. A popular bugaboo of modern historical biography is discovering traces of homosexuality.

Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India

German-Jewish bodybuilder named Kallenbach, who at least seems like an old friend more than anything — and male friendships were closer and more platonic in the 19th century until just recently. Up until, and even after his arrival in India, he still has his shrewd political dealings, in contrast to his saintly image.

Ambedkar, who insists upon his action for Caste Reform. Chandra Bose, who will defect to the Josehp Japanese Army and fights a war of rebellion, in contrast to his own plans of satyagraha — using the force of truth. Unfortunately, we see the limits treat satyagraha, with the composition of joseeph letter to Hitler, simply asking him politely to let the Jews go.

And then public statements asking the Jews to go peacefully to their deaths, and hope the sheer remorse will overcome the Nazis. This illustrates the fundamental differences between the British and German empires — the British Empire only committed genocide when it benefitted their policies — the Nazi empire, genocide was open policy and law.

It is perhaps some relief to the aspiring ascetic that Gandhi himself had difficulty following them. His health was troubled by his diet in later years, yet he still endured to an extreme end.

Perhaps one of the most troubling chapters of his experiments with asceticism is his idea on lust. His intent was to curb all thought, and all bodily manifestations of lust, and pushing himself to even further ends. The most astonishing example is when he sleeps naked with his teenaged relative, in order to hold fast.

The author is no skeptic or amateur – or rabblerouser saying Lelyvelf is a racist bisexual pervert who did no good. He is a most veteran of India reporters, even taking the time to interview some year-old witnesses and visit the ruins of pilgrimage sites in South Africa and India. Although I do find his writing style to be a bit turgid — helped me fall asleep on the plane several times.

And he remains unduly pessimistic about India.

But this is an interesting enough book to read. Jan 29, Becky rated it really liked it. This book deserves a 5-star rating because of its content. I’m giving it 4 stars simply because it was not a compelling read.

It’s the kind of book I’m very glad to have read, though. A friend who read the same book was irritated that Gandhi’s faults were portrayed. Perhaps she thought the author set out to discredit Gandhi.

Indian state bans Gandhi book after reviews hint at gay relationship

Now that I have read the entire book and know more about Gandhi, I remain impressed with him. Yes, he managed his own public relations hoseph well. Yes, he was more than quirk This book deserves a 5-star rating because of its content. Yes, he was more than quirky when it came to diet and control of biologic urges.

Yes, he contradicted himself over and over and over again. Yes, he was a poor negotiator. He grew over time. He maintained a clear sense that caste was harmful. He held tight to his view that the spiritual and the political were absolutely linked. He held both the Hindus and the Muslims to better behavior. He must have had opportunities to “sell out,” to become corrupt, but he never did.


All these things make him the rare person. I learned more about the history of India, about other greeat figures who were also working for the Dalits and for Indian independence. I also learned that Gandhi, because of his emphasis on village self-sufficiency, was instrumental in promoting sustainable agriculture in India. Mar 15, Perry Krasow rated it really liked it Shelves: I heard about the controversy surrounding Great Soul before I ever got a copy in my hands.

For brevity, and since many readers would prefer to draw their own conclusions treat the evidence I heard about the controversy surrounding Great Soul before I ever got a copy in my hands.

For brevity, and since many readers would prefer to draw their own conclusions from the evidence mostly Gandhi’s own lettersI won’t include mine here. My summary of these issues and full review of the sojl is at greatnonfictionbooks. The author shows Gandhi as a political operator. The man was a lawyer long before he was a saint. This is sul complete biography and not just a discussion of sex and race.

Lelyveld presents his material in a sensitive, accurate manner, without the grsat sensationalism or worship. Apr 14, Grady rated it it was amazing. And that is sad, because a careful reading of this lelyvfld simply reveals those controversial aspects of a man whose life was anything but understandable as he was living it, and bringing to readers’ attention the aspects of Gandhi that allow us to see that indeed he was very human, struggling with not only attempting to unite Hindus and Muslims, but also with racism and pacifism and vegetarianism, the South African gret influence on his thoughts and so forth.

Great Soul by Joseph Lelyveld | : Books

The primary reason for the censorship and reader condemnation of this book seems to center on the discussion of Gandhi’s long-term intimate relationship with the German Jewish bodybuilder Hermann Kallenbach. Yes, there are ‘love letters’ between the two men, but Gandhi managed to cope josepy the central focus of his affection with a similar focus on lwlyveld wife and his young nieces, etc.

What Lelyveld seems to be doing is examining the relationship between Gandhi’s approach jkseph South Africa and India, working to define how this great thinker arrived at his concept of satyagraha. This concept helped India gain independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom ioseph the world. How a man who gave so much of himself to the welfare of society could be condemned for an intimate relationship with another man is a conundrum.

The only solution to understanding the importance of this book is to read it. And it deserves to be read! Aug 06, Mary rated it really liked it Shelves: An interesting biography of Gandhi and his thought over his long life. The general outline wasn’t new–his activism for Indians in South Africa, his return to India determined to develop his iodeas of simple ascetic living and achieving the end of untouchability.