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An Autobiography: the Story of My…
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An Autobiography: the Story of My Experiments with Truth

by Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi

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Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Extremely interesting view of the growth and spiritual development of one of the most illuminating figures of the last century. Covers a wide variety of topics. A shame that it only ends in the 1920s (but what autobiography could ever be called complete?), but it is still a fascinating portrait of the man. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 29, 2013 |
I started reading this because some one Facebook was posting a statement that Gandhi would have supported gun ownership rights in the US after the latest school shooting. I found this so outrageous that I got into a debate where the guy was posting quotes from his autobiography that meant that I couldn't adequately respond without first having read the book. I'm not sure I found the relevant quote but I'm very glad I read the book. I'm sorry to say that until I read this the only knowledge I had of Gandhi was from Richard Attenborough's 1982 bio pic. This was a great film but it leaves so much out.

I had no idea how much time he had spent in both England and South Africa. The film started in South Africa but gives you the impression that this was a brief visit, however the book makes it clear that his last time in South Africa was for something like ten years. Before that he's been to South Africa on a number of occasions fighting for racial equality and he spent three years in London studying for his law degree.

There is a lot in here about his development of ideas such as non violence and passive resistance as well as his thoughts on vegetarianism and health issues. You get a really good idea of him as a political campaigner both as a lawyer and running newspapers. There is also a lot about his efforts to set up various communes and communities.

The only weakness of the book is that it's quite hard to follow the names of people and places as well as the non English terms. Someone has made an attempt to add clarification the text but it's simply not possible with every non English term. It is possible to look them us as you go (most of them have useful pages on Wikipedia that explain them) but after a while it's a bit difficult to keep track of.

Having said that it's still a good read and very enlightening, giving a real insight into the man and his values. The book only goes up to the mid twenties and so doesn't cover the last twenty years of his life but I'd recommend it all the same. ( )
  JackBarrow | Mar 10, 2013 |
He would have had trouble adjusting to the modern movement for women's rights!! ( )
  smith54a | Feb 7, 2012 |
Gandhi had a profound effect on history. As such, I thought reading his autobiography a must. I knew I had a lot of disagreements with what he believed, big and small, but his attitude as alluded to in his title disarmed me at first. He writes that "far from claiming finality or infallibility" truth is something he believes we seek and learn by testing. At first I found him likeable and admirable. I felt for his struggles with shyness and public speaking. But my respect for his views and my liking for him eroded over the course of his autobiography. I felt his family and especially his wife had a lot to put up with by his own account. And so much of the autobiography was taken up with frankly crackpot notions. Even he calls himself a "crank" at one point and refers to his practice of "quack medicine." That may have been meant ironically but I thought it fit. Long, dull stretches of the narrative were taken up with details of diet and hygiene.

You're not going to get a complete overview of his life and thinking from this work, since he stops the account at 1921 and he lived until 1948. Too often key events would be glossed over and he'd refer the reader to other writings to fill the gap. But having seen the famous film based on his life, it was interesting to read material not covered there from his childhood in India and his time in England as a young man. I was surprised at how accepted he seemed to be studying in England--he didn't relate encountering much color prejudice there--more the opposite--and this was in the late 1880s. It was a very different story in South Africa where he gained his first experience of law practice and political activism. At one time he was literally kicked to the curb as Indians weren't allowed on the pavement. I would have liked to read more about his development of Satyagraha (active non-violent resistance), particularly his use of Civil Disobedience, especially since I know it greatly influenced Martin Luther King. It was interesting to find out Ghandi himself was greatly influenced by Tolstoy's non-violent principles in The Kingdom of God Is Within You. He even called his ashram in South Africa "Tolstoy Farm" and I can see a lot of commonality between the two men. I could wish this was annotated, or at least a glossary provided. There were a lot of Hindu/Indian terms I had to jot down to look up later: ashram, darbar, darshan, dhoti, haveli, vakils, Khilafat, Madras, Parsi, Swaraj, Vaishnavas. Maps would have been nice too. But I found there was value enough in getting a feel for the man that on the whole I found it worth the read. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | Jan 23, 2012 |
Very, very long and boring audio. I did not finish it. It assumes you know the political events and personalities of the day in South Africa, England & India. To much detail of areas that did not seem worth mentioning at all. On the positive side it gave detailed insights into his thought process. It showed things like his lack of confidence when young and his characteristic of sticking to his principles no matter the cost for himself and those he was responsible for. To give an example when his son was deathly sick and the doctors said to give him meat he decided against that in order to stick with his beliefs. ( )
  GShuk | Jun 4, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhiprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bok, SisselaForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Desai, Mahadev H.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The Gandhis belong to the Bania caste and seem to have been originally grocers.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0807059099, Paperback)

Gandhi's nonviolent struggles in South Africa and India had already brought him to such a level of notoriety, adulation, and controversy that when asked to write an autobiography midway through his career, he took it as an opportunity to explain himself. Although accepting of his status as a great innovator in the struggle against racism, violence, and, just then, colonialism, Gandhi feared that enthusiasm for his ideas tended to exceed a deeper understanding. He says that he was after truth rooted in devotion to God and attributed the turning points, successes, and challenges in his life to the will of God. His attempts to get closer to this divine power led him to seek purity through simple living, dietary practices (he called himself a fruitarian), celibacy, and ahimsa, a life without violence. It is in this sense that he calls his book The Story of My Experiments with Truth, offering it also as a reference for those who would follow in his footsteps. A reader expecting a complete accounting of his actions, however, will be sorely disappointed.

Although Gandhi presents his episodes chronologically, he happily leaves wide gaps, such as the entire satyagraha struggle in South Africa, for which he refers the reader to another of his books. And writing for his contemporaries, he takes it for granted that the reader is familiar with the major events of his life and of the political milieu of early 20th-century India. For the objective story, try Yogesh Chadha's Gandhi: A Life. For the inner world of a man held as a criminal by the British, a hero by Muslims, and a holy man by Hindus, look no further than these experiments. --Brian Bruya

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:33 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Ghandi was the pre-eminent political and spiritual leader of India during the movement to free India from British rule. He was the pioneer of satyagraha, resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience, a philosophy founded upon total nonviolence, which led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.… (more)

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Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141186860, 0141032731

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