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Gandhi [Hardcover]

Peter Ruhe
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 59.95 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Sept. 25 2001
This is an amazing record of the life of one of the most inspiring figures of the twentieth century, with over 300 photographs drawn from a comprehensive visual archive compiled over 12 years.

In one of the most extraordinary lives ever lived, Mahatma Gandhi (18691948) effected tremendous political change and wielded enormous influence. His teachings on non-violence elevated him in the eyes of many to the status of a saint. Among those profoundly influenced by his philosophy of peaceful resistance was Martin Luther King Jr, who adopted Gandhi's methods in his own struggle for civil rights. In Peter Rhe's book, Gandhi's life is told by means of an extraordinary collection of nearly 300 photographs, many never seen before. These pictures document Gandhi's early life in India, his law studies in London, his work in South Africa, and his return to lead the struggle for Indian independence, which won him the title of 'father of the nation'. We can see the sweep of world politics and the struggles of the poor in the life of one man whose impact on the world is matched by few in the history of mankind. As Albert Einstein said: 'Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.'


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Mahatma Gandhi is the perfect subject for Peter Rühe's impressive pictorial biography Gandhi. Not only was Mahatma Gandhi a consciously humble, compassionate man of principle, prepared to die for his lifelong belief in Satyagraha, or non-violent protest, he was also powerfully photogenic. Rühe has been a Gandhi specialist and visual archivist for nearly 20 years and has compiled his gallery mostly from the vast collections of Kanu Gandhi, a great-nephew, and Vithalbhai Jhaveri, former member of the Indian National Movement. After studying law in England, Gandhi spent two decades in South Africa, where he trained for the rest of his life, his activism fully ignited by the Black Act of 1906, forcing Indians to register. From 1921, the familiar visual identity starts to emerge: lean, bespectacled and unblinking, head shaved, and clad in loincloth and chaddar (a sheet worn as a wrap), in response to the Foreign Cloth Boycott. Influenced by Western writers such as John Ruskin, Henry David Thoreau and Leo Tolstoy, he became deeply pained by the impotence of his teachings in the face of Nazi slaughter of the Jews, but India, and its Purna Swaraj, remained his true passion. However, when independence came, on 14 August 1947, he only saw failure with the establishment of independent states of India and Pakistan, and the religious violence that ensued.

Aside from the wonderful historical photography of the Salt March of 1930, his rallies where the audience disappears into the horizon, and his constantly frail, often fasting, physical state, the most poignant selections show Gandhi adhering to the simple life he espoused: eating, shaving, spinning, travelling and speaking, or with unbearable pathos, watching over his dead wife's body. Quirky gems include meeting Charlie Chaplin in London's East End, giving a "silent message" on his habitual day of silence to reporters who busily seem to scribble it down, and, after his assassination, his funeral procession being given, with grim irony, a military salute. While Louis Fischer's The Life of Mahatma Gandhi provides an authoritative, contextualised analysis, Gandhi frames his extraordinary life with a simplicity and warmth that goes some way to explaining the reverence he inspired, and why, when he died, Nehru spoke not just for India in lamenting that "the light has gone out of our lives". --David Vincent

Review

This book allows us an intimate insight into the life of one of the 20th century's great figures. -- The Sunday Times Magazine, September 9, 2001

This collection of rare photography provides a strong, intimate, entertaining, and moving documentary... -- India in New York, July 13, 2001

This is an unusual Gandhi book as it is essentially a photographic record of Gandhi's life produced by an art publisher. -- The Gandhi Way, No. 69, Autumn 2001

We have now in one volume a magnificent, luminous collection of photographs of Gandhi... -- Los Angeles Times, November 18, 2001

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This is a difficult book to read. Dec 18 2001
Format:Hardcover
This is a difficult book to read.
It is a difficult read, not because of the historical writing of Peter Ruhe, who has done a commendable job, nor because of the photo editing by Sophie Spencer-Wood, a top rate job indeed; but because the publisher, Phaidon Press, choose to print the text using a very small type with a recessive color using glossy paper. Sad, especially when you open to the text section and see there are 2 " top, 2 " left and 1 " bottom margins. Go figure. To make the matter worse under each photo caption, the publisher uses an even smaller type and in a tan color.
Phaidon Press failed to consider that the audience most likely to buy to this book, will be, by majority, mid-aged or older. Thus, they, like me, probably will need reading glasses. However, even with good reading glasses, the smallness of type, the faded black ink (on the verge of gray) and the glaring glossy paper made reading this book very strenuous and difficult.
That said, I found Peter Ruhe's writing balanced and refreshing. He chronologically lays out Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi's life in an engaging, investigative manner. Ruhe is an admirer of Mahatma but not enamored enough to be a blind devote. He points out the times that Gandhi's belief in satyagraha (truth-force) blinded him. One such time, related to the evil of Nazi Germany, "Gandhi insisted that Hitler was merely misguided. In his mind the German leader could be dissuaded from further conquest by the power of reason or, if necessary, satyagraha". Though Gandhi had achieved mystical status, to Ruhe he was still a man, although, one of the world's greatest.
The 400 Black and White photos curated by Sophie Spencer-Wood are excellent They illustrate the time line of this great man's life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Photographs of Mahatma Gandhi... June 30 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Excellent book, the photo-biography on Mahatma Gandhi the Father of India was a real pleasure to read and a wonderful account of his life told in pictures. One forgets that Mahatma Gandhi wanted India to be one nation-state and not divided into India and Pakistan, it was Nehru, Jinnah and the British that separated India. Granted there would have been problems, but they would have been under one nation-state and not two as there is between India and Pakistan today...
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent! Jan. 4 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This book is an amazing compilation of photographs, in chronological order, telling you about the life and philosophy of Gandhi. The pictures tell the story themselves and help you get a feeling of how things really were and the true magnitude of the movement for an independent India.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This is a difficult book to read. Dec 18 2001
By fdoamerica - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a difficult book to read.
It is a difficult read, not because of the historical writing of Peter Ruhe, who has done a commendable job, nor because of the photo editing by Sophie Spencer-Wood, a top rate job indeed; but because the publisher, Phaidon Press, choose to print the text using a very small type with a recessive color using glossy paper. Sad, especially when you open to the text section and see there are 2 " top, 2 " left and 1 " bottom margins. Go figure. To make the matter worse under each photo caption, the publisher uses an even smaller type and in a tan color.
Phaidon Press failed to consider that the audience most likely to buy to this book, will be, by majority, mid-aged or older. Thus, they, like me, probably will need reading glasses. However, even with good reading glasses, the smallness of type, the faded black ink (on the verge of gray) and the glaring glossy paper made reading this book very strenuous and difficult.
That said, I found Peter Ruhe's writing balanced and refreshing. He chronologically lays out Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi's life in an engaging, investigative manner. Ruhe is an admirer of Mahatma but not enamored enough to be a blind devote. He points out the times that Gandhi's belief in satyagraha (truth-force) blinded him. One such time, related to the evil of Nazi Germany, "Gandhi insisted that Hitler was merely misguided. In his mind the German leader could be dissuaded from further conquest by the power of reason or, if necessary, satyagraha". Though Gandhi had achieved mystical status, to Ruhe he was still a man, although, one of the world's greatest.
The 400 Black and White photos curated by Sophie Spencer-Wood are excellent They illustrate the time line of this great man's life. The reproduction of the photos is top rate, and this alone makes the book a worthy addition to any Mahatma Gandhi collection. Gandhi's body was cremated, January 31. 1948. The words of Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister, eulogize Gandhi even today, "the light has gone out of our lives, and there is darkness everywhere, our beloved leader... the father of the Nation is no more." Recommended
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent! Jan. 4 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is an amazing compilation of photographs, in chronological order, telling you about the life and philosophy of Gandhi. The pictures tell the story themselves and help you get a feeling of how things really were and the true magnitude of the movement for an independent India.
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect condition Dec 17 2013
By D. Parks - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I got this for my father for Christmas. He just received it and called me. He said the book was in excellent condition as well as having wonderful photographs. Thank you.
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book!!! July 21 2013
By Paul B Mitchell Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If You Love Gandhi then you will enjoy a great read filled with wonderful illustrations to paint the picture of the world's greatest leader, Mahatma Gandhi!
5.0 out of 5 stars Photographs of Mahatma Gandhi... June 30 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Excellent book, the photo-biography on Mahatma Gandhi the Father of India was a real pleasure to read and a wonderful account of his life told in pictures. One forgets that Mahatma Gandhi wanted India to be one nation-state and not divided into India and Pakistan, it was Nehru, Jinnah and the British that separated India. Granted there would have been problems, but they would have been under one nation-state and not two as there is between India and Pakistan today...
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