Dennis Dalton's classic account of Gandhi's political and intellectual development focuses on the leader's two signal triumphs: the civil disobedience movement (or salt satyagraha) of 1930 and the Calcutta fast of 1947. Dalton clearly demonstrates how Gandhi's lifelong career in national politics gave him the opportunity to develop and refine his ideals. He then concludes with a comparison of Gandhi's methods and the strategies of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, drawing a fascinating juxtaposition that enriches the biography of all three figures and asserts Gandhi's relevance to the study of race and political leadership in America. Dalton situates Gandhi within the "clash of civilizations" debate, identifying the implications of his work on continuing nonviolent protests. He also extensively reviews Gandhian studies and adds a detailed chronology of events in Gandhi's life.
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 581 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 23 mm
In this masterly analysis, Dalton shows how Gandhi's vision of a good life expressed itself in political action. Dalton has very wisely included what one seldom finds in books on Gandhi: examples of the trenchant criticism of his methods and his ideas that were made by Indian contemporaries. -- Ainslie T. Embree, Columbia University A beautiful, fine-grained piece of historical and textual research; cool, committed, and convincing in an intellectual terrain strewn with excessively passionate convictions. Dalton 'shows' rather than tells, through a meticulous examination of official speeches and administrative responses, the deep doubts about the legitimacy of their acts that Gandhi implanted in the minds of the highest and lowest British officials. Dalton also shows how the Mahatma's public enactment of self-sacrifice and renunciation demonstrated an efficacy not granted in conventional political acts within the context of religious viciousness and killing: lessons for Gandhi's era and ours. -- Susanne Hoeber Rudolph, University of Chicago The product of seasoned research and of several decades of teaching, reading, thinking, and acting on Gandhi's ideas. It is a rich stew, and a feast for those who appreciate careful scholarship and the continuing power of Gandhian thought... Dalton's book helps to ensure that Gandhi's voice will be heard beyond this generation and this century, and well into the next. Journal of Asian Studies This is more than a biography or a political history. We are offered a penetrating analysis of Gandhian philosophy as revealed in his most individual operations. English Historical Review Sensitive, sympathetic, and lucid. Economic and Political Weekly [Dalton's] new approach to place Gandhi in the context of other major political and social leaders of India, and then assess him as a successful leader, appeared to enhance the methodology of this very well informed and analyzed book, which deserves a place in any good library in the world. Modern Asian Studies Represents the culmination of decades of research and study... which accounts for Dalton's sureness of touch, cogent handling of ideas, lucid prose, and effortless movement between theory and narrative... Although it adds important new dimensions to the specialist's understanding of Gandhi, it can also serve as a readable and absorbing introduction to the man. American Historical Review Dalton eschews his canonization for a clear, thoughtful study. Library Journal Thoughtful and original. New Statesman "[Dalton's] valuable insight is that Gandhi's formation of himself as a leader represented a strategy of defense against fear and shame... The broad scope of references and the command of detail on Indian politics and political theory that the work exhibits bear witness to long and thoughtful research. Political Psychology A tidy presentation of a sociopolitical vision that seems as fresh and radical today as it did half a century ago. Kirkus An excellent book. BizIndia