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Indira: The Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  1,830 ratings  ·  106 reviews
On the morning of October 31, 1984, as she walked through her garden, smiling, with hands raised and palms pressed together in the traditional Indian namaste greeting, Indira Nehru Gandhi was assassinated by her own bodyguards. She died as she had lived, surrounded by men, yet isolated. It was a violent end to a life of epic drama.
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Hardcover, 592 pages
Published 2002 by Houghton Mifflin (first published 2001)
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Sahil Sood
Dec 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In her letter to Dorothy Norman, a female American photographer, writer and social activist, and also Indira's closest friend and confidante, Indira expressed what it meant to grow up in the Nehru household, in the midst of political turmoil and unrest spreading throughout India, a country on the brink of achieving independence from the bicentennial rule of British Empire:
Since earliest childhood I have been surrounded by exceptional people and have participated in exceptional events...The
Rithun Regi
May 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My dad once told me that he hated and loved Indira Gandhi to equal measure. Her life was never her choice. Being born in the illustrious Nehru household with both her father and grandfather Congress Presidents ensured that she would be earmarked for greatness. Her own father never wanted dynasty politics for India, but she could be nothing less than the Empress of India or Mother Indira as she was lovingly referred to by the masses. She won the Bangladesh war and imposed the Emergency on the ...more
Arun Divakar
Feb 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Over stale, machine made coffee in office a colleague asked me Do you think India is a democracy ? Biting back the Yes that close to three decades of being an Indian have instilled in me, I asked Why ? He grins and then replies I am just wondering why in the so-called largest democracy in the world, only one family has the right to rule !! This made perfect sense to me for ever since independence, one member or the other from the Nehru family has been on the center stage of Indian ...more
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
Indira is India and India Indira.

What better way to understand the history of post independent India to the modern age than reading the biography of arguably the most controversial yet one of a prominent maker of modern India - Indira Nehru Gandhi!
What a life she led! Great upbringing, romantic affairs, family feuds, political maneuvers, wars, nepotism, corruption, assassinations - her story had every possible ingredient of a riveting life. Surrounded by who's-who of architects of Indian
Srikar Vantaku
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: indian-politics
IG was close to her mother. Kamala Nehru (Wife of Nehru) was always unwell. Her relation with Nehru was primarily through letters, yet there was a strange personal distance between the two . Indira kept unwell most of the time till she became the PM. She was diffident yet strong willed, missed her mother after her death and generally depressed (Beware, she could pass on a little to the reader as well).
There, I had summarised two-thirds of this book.

The book gives a vivid picture of Indira in
Himanshu Khurana
Oct 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
A brilliantly researched book by Katherine Frank on the life of one of the most controversial and powerful Prime Ministers of India- Indira Gandhi. It systematically begins by tracing the origins of the Nehru clan right from their migration from the valley of Kashmir to the great plains of north India. In the initial chapters, the author investigates the politically surcharged and exposed atmosphere in which Indira was brought up. Her father was continually absent from their household due to his ...more
Nita Kohli
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a massive book of about 700 pages but I just flew through it. I never felt tired or burdened with the facts and the in depth information laid by this book. I was turning page after page and it is one of those rarest books I have read that I felt depressed when it ended.
Why did I decide to read this? Because I have a keen interest in reading about Indian politics and lives of some of our prominent leaders. Indira Gandhi is one of such leaders, daughter of Nehru and the only Indian woman
Sreelekha Menon
Jan 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant biography.A must read for all Indians.Katherine Frank portrays an era when India was Indira and Indira was India.Through tumultous times of Indian independence struggle and the ensuing partition to the reign of Indira and to her untimely death,the biography not only tells us the life of Indira Nehru Gandhi ,it chronicles the events and people in that era.

One more thing about the book.She has not portrayed Mrs Gandhi as a messiah or a villain.She speaks facts as presented to
Jack Fontane
Sep 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
definitely one good book..... after the initial warmup of 50 pages... found it tough to put it down..... so many events, people, incidents which i have just heard as rumours as a kid .....all coming back substantiated w/ evidence.... afterall she was the Greatest Leader India ever had..... her outisde & inside.... especially the 200-last page were just flying......
Garima Siwach
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an outstanding book, well researched and beautifully written. Attempting to understand Indira Nehru Gandhi is a challenging pursuit, but with each page, I felt that I was uncovering a new layer into her life and her mind. Rightly stated as a life of epic drama, there were moments when I fell in complete awe immediately followed by moments of extreme repulsion. Frank's narration is objective, with pieces of history woven together to form a story that will keep you hooked. I highly ...more
Suyash Singh
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aaaa
Very good book
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well-written and (from the looks of it,) well-researched.

Technically unrelated, but I now want to know the rest of the Maruti story; how the Suzuki shares kept on increasing and how it went on to become this giant, successful thing it is today.
And I would like to read through some reliable, worth-reading works on Sanjay Gandhi as well. So feel free to recommend, thanks!
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Extremely long and detailed account of Indira's life. Starting with pre independence to her assassination, the events and sources quoted to produce this book are appreciated.
Sajith Kumar
Title: Indira – The Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi
Author: Katherine Frank
Publisher: HarperCollins, 2001 (First)
ISBN: 9780002556460
Pages: 567

Indira Gandhi’s tenure as prime minister of India is remarkable for many firsts. It was the first time that a woman could achieve the country’s topmost political spot. It was then that the country had won a major war in more than a millennium of history. It was also the first time that a democratically elected politician imposed an autocratic regime on the
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
a boring book about the first lady prime minister of India. there is way too much random information from her life which gets tiring to read after some time. book abandoned.
Pradeep Nair
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An 'unputtdownable' biography. It's studded with lots of information, not surprising, considering the in-depth research Katherine Frank has done. The book starts with Motilal Nehru and ends with the assassination of Indira Gandhi.

The books gives a great insight into the person Indira Gandhi was -- as granddaughter of Motilal Nehru, daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, husband of Feroze Gandhi, mother of Rajiv and Sanjay Gandhi, mother-in-law of Sonia and Maneka Gandhi, grandmother of Rahul, Priyanka
Rupesh Choudhari
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
The Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi written by Katherine Frank is one of the good book to read.
This is the book which we can read to understand the strength which Indira had, so that many people influence on her thoughts.
This books tells the story of “Indira Gandhi” and author collected good data to maintain integrity of Indira’s life. The way author describes the “Indira’s life is very prominent to engage readers.
Indira is strong girl from her child hood and very close to her “Mamma" Kamal Nehru
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this book early last year.

It was extremely interesting and intriguing to get a glimpse at the the birth of the largest democracy in this world. We are able to get a detailed look at Indira's extremely interesting life as the first woman PM in India and an extremely powerful woman leader at a time when the world of politics was dominated by men.

As someone who intends to enter politics later in life, this book was extremely enlightening. We not only investigate Indira but people who
Uday Saripalli
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Quite frankly would have appreciated a much more un-biased view from a supposedly nuetral foreign writer. Much of the story told is know and in public domain. Wherever the controversial bits appear, mind you they are few and far between, the same get an opinion from the writer that is invariably favourable to the Gandhi family and shows them in the kindest of light.
Ritika Chhabra
Originally published on Just A Girl High On Books.

I don't usually begin this way, but I need to pin-point this out before I talk ofanyother thing about the review. I need to applaud the writer for the ample amount of time given to this book. Not only because of the huge mass of pages it has, but also because of the amount of time she would have probably spent in researching over her issues. The interviews she is said to have taken, the amount of time going over the unpublished sources—all of
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As you know I’ve been on this post Indian Independence history reading kick for the past months, so I could not possible skip Indira Gandhi’s biography by Katherine Frank.

This is a comprehensive look at a woman that had a profound impact on our nation for better and for worse at times - and that is what makes her fascinating. In addition she seemed to, at least according to the biography, believe that what she was doing was what was best for India.

You see the journey from the tongue tied young
Radhika Samant
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The book is a comprehensive account of the life of the divisive Indira Gandhi. The book spans approximately 60 years introducing her iconic father Nehru and his fight for independence in Colonial India to her assassination in the 1980s. We see Indira's evolution from an inexperienced idealistic girl to harsh totalitarian.

Once I started reading the book I was hooked. Indira's early life was unusual. She was extremely privileged and received the best European education, and unparalleled exposure
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Exhaustively researched, and consistently rich in psychological insights on Jawaharlal and Indira. But extremely inconcise, especially when discussing Indira's younger years, and the later half of the book covering her prime ministership is particularly flat. Granted, this is because Indira's estate has refused researchers access to her papers dating from this period - but Miss Frank does herself no favors by resorting to a tedious blow-by-blow account of political events. Much of the last 100 ...more
Pranjali Deshpande
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
I have no nationalist leanings or political ones to rate a book with 5 stars. In my opinion , this book just deserves it. Katherine weaves a very intricate re-telling of events that shaped the young , free India from the eyes of her subject and also those close to Indira, many of whom were cautious in their optimism and faith of Indira’s capabilities to handle the largest democracy in the world.
The historic events are painstakingly researched, but the author doesn’t let the story slip into a
Shruti Chhabra
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
The first woman Prime minister of India - Mrs. Indira Gandhi, is the most intriguing figure of the indian history. People either loved her or hated her thoroughly.
The biographical book traces her life journey and her circumstances even before her birth. The not so confident and a rebel Indira to the fire in her gut Prime minister of a newly freedom gained country.
The book shows her as a totally vulnerable young woman who made her share of mistakes. Learned from life's lesson, some hard ways
Pranky reads
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: indian-history
The adventurous ride thorough Indira's life. from her birth to her college life, her battle with her illness and her love affair.
she battled all and the most controversial leader the history ever witnessed.
she never showed interest in acquiring a political position until she finally acquired and there was no looking back since then. she emerged in the men's world and fought the stigmas also known as 'ladki' 'gungi gudiya' by different politicians.
Her international relations with different
Naveen Sivadasan
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
A major part of the 20th century has passed thru Indira's life and it stand testimony to the shaping of a personality who the World has never seen before.This work by Katherine Frank needs mention for keeping it authentic as well as engaging by mostly referring to the exchange of personal letters between Indira and her closed ones.The transformation of a moribund, tenuous girl to the Durga of the Masses is quite revealing & stirring.Interspersed with many tragic events and heroic deeds, the ...more
Nishant S
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"My father was a statesman.I am a political woman. My father was a saint. I am not" . Clear cut and lucid way of narration of the iron lady. A book that portrays the strengths and weakness of Indira. Completely analyze the good and devil part of Iron lady .What led to National emergency , How Her decisions were framed by her infamous son Sanjay Gandhi , operation blue Star etc is deeply illustrated . A must read book.
Sharmistha Sarkar
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really wanted to read that book after reading Sagarika Ghose's article on NDTV top stories which came across during July,2017. My realisations & feelings after finishing that book were literally inexplicable. I don't want to use any defaming words about that woman who always has been so respectful in my vision, rather I was so disappointed and heartbroken...
Shashank Singhal
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Good -
- Gives a good perspective of the Indian prime minister.
- A concise events of Indira Gandhi and events related to her.
- Some interesting revelations

The Bad -
- The build up to her youth could be boring.
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