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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

This is the moving story of a nonviolent hero, illustrated with more than 70 photographs, and told by a highly respected author who grew up in Gandhi’s India. Gandhi’s life continues to inspire and baffle readers today. How did an unsuccessful young lawyer become the Mahatma, the “great soul” who led 400 million Indians in their struggle for independence from the British Empire? What is nonviolence, and how does it work? Easwaran answers these questions and gives a vivid account of the turning points and choices in Gandhi’s life that made him an icon of nonviolence. Easwaran witnessed at firsthand how Gandhi inspired ordinary people to turn fear into fearlessness, and anger into love. He visited Gandhi in his ashram to find out more about this human alchemy, and during the prayer meeting watched the Mahatma absorbed in meditation on the Bhagavad Gita, the scripture that was the wellspring of his spiritual power. Quotations highlight Gandhi’s teachings in his own words, and sid…

Overall Book Review:

A prolific and illuminating edification on the life of Gandhi and his incredible display of exemplifying non-violent behavior, to inspire liberation not only within South Africa and India, but the world as a whole, Gandhi the Man: How One Man Changed Himself to Change the World, by Eknath Easwaran, examines Gandhi’s life and his life’s mission – “the vision of unity of all life”.

All of us are one. When you inflict suffering on others, you are bringing suffering on yourself. When you weaken others, you are weakening yourself, weakening the whole nation.”

Born as Mohndas Karamchand Gandhi, later to be hailed as Mahatma “great soul”, readers unfamiliar with Gandhi’s beginnings will be surprised and amused to discover he was not born with a natural affinity to lead or inspire others. In fact, Easwaran describes him as a shy, self-conscious boy of less-than-average aptitude in school, who had a fear of not fitting in. However, this insecurity did not circumvent Gandhi in becoming one of the greatest forces of good the world has ever known. How could this be? How did he become so great?

 “For each of these achievements in politics, economics, peace, or health express only one part of the man, and no part of him can really be understood unless unless we first discover the man himself.

In his book, Easwaren pointedly takes readers through Gandhi’s beginnings of mediocrity to show and inspire others that they too can achieve amazing things.

 “Gandhi pointed out, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world outside us – as most of us are led to believe – as in being able to remake ourselves on the highest model of human achievement we know of.”

Inserting a timeline and maps increases readers’ knowledge on a physical level and by intermingling black and white photographs of Gandhi and few firsthand accounts from his own writings, Easwaren educates readers on a spiritual level as he beautifully weaves them into his own composition to realize a down-to-earth, genuine portrayal of a man who is so highly thought of, and to inspire the reader that they too can change their life to become the person they want to be.

 “I have not the shadow of doubt that any man or woman can achieve what I have, if he or she would make the same effort and cultivate the same hope and faith.”

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  None

Violence/Gore:  Mention of Holocaust: mention of Gandhi’s assassination (about 5x); mention of war (about 2x); many reports of police brutality including beatings, shootings, and death; report with brief details of assassination; report of individuals burning down a building with people still inside; mention of suicide.

Sex/Nudity:  13-year-old male and female are married, mention of them sleeping side by side; a few pictures of elderly man shirtless; mention of birth control; comment on celibacy.

Mature Subject Matter:

Police brutality, civil disobedience/resistance/civil rights, racial/religious prejudice, imprisonment, government corruption/injustice, assassination.

Alcohol / Drug Use:


Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I appreciate books of all genres, but my main squeeze is fiction. Depending on my mood it could be romance or suspense; lately I’ve been courting fantasy. When I don’t have my nose in a book, I am locating tasty paleo recipes, writing in-coherent poetry, and crafting with paper.