Elliot Ratzman's Reviews > The Story of My Experiments With Truth

The Story of My Experiments With Truth by Mahatma Gandhi
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Mar 05, 12

Read in March, 2010 — I own a copy

Orwell: “Saints should always be judged guilty until they are proven innocent.” Gandhi may be a saint, but he is one fussy holy man. His autobiography only takes us to 1927, before the campaign to free India of British rule. He had become famous for leading a civil rights movement for Indians in South Africa where he lived for years before taking the “satyagraha” movement back to India. On the way, he is a young anglophile who admires the Empire, studies law in London and sides with the colonial powers during the Boer wars and WWI. The autobio is important because it narrates his “experiments” in diet, fasting, simple living, and back-to-the-land projects. He falls in with all sorts of vegetarian quacks in Victorian London and learns about world religions, including his own, from Western sources: Max Muller, Tolstoy, Ruskin, and Madame Blavatsky! We find a Gandhi who is as cruel and controlling to his wife and children as he is kind and subordinate to strangers, the poor and the sick.
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message 1: by Laura (new)

Laura yep, i had heard about his treatment of his wife. is there no end to clay feet??

message 2: by Laura (new)

Laura p.s. i think Jack Kerouac was a bit of a pig too.....:(

Elliot Ratzman Laura, there are very few saints in the world. Gandhi lived an exceptionally interesting and brave life, but one riddled with mistakes, vices and some crazy practices! Jack Kerouac for sure, but nobody ever called him saint, unless in irony. Still Gandhi's life and campaigns are worth learning about--check out the Churchill and Gandhi book, very readable. Meanwhile, you should check out George Orwell's famous short review of Gandhi's "saintliness":

message 4: by Laura (new)

Laura thanks elliot. I have a copy of Gandhi's book on my night stand and have started to read it, but it's SOOO long, and i may set it down when the library gets my copy of Merton: A Biography by Furlong in. Just finished her bio of Watts.....am going now to check out that review!

Elliot Ratzman I'd love to hear how you find the Merton bio. John Howard Griffin (author of Black Like Me), who I'm working on (part of) a book about, was suppose to write Merton's bio, but got too sick to finish it. Griffin wrote two books about Merton (which I haven't read yet). Hmm, maybe I'll read those soon. Ah, Alan Watts, one of my first philosophical loves. How was that one?

message 6: by Laura (new)

Laura oh Elliot....the book on Watts....i loved him, i hated him, i related to him and finally i pitied him. clay feet in gurus really bother me. he always insisted he was a 'genuine fake' and an 'entertainer', tho so i guess i should give him a break. very good at talking the talk, not so good at walking the walk. And this WAS a sympathetic bio....you know, in his first book he explains koans and their purpose, but when faced with koan teaching in the flesh, he wound up yelling at his koan teacher that he was, in fact, right, and that the teacher was wrong. i found that terribly amusing.

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