Marshall's Reviews > Gandhi the Man: The Story of His Transformation

Gandhi the Man by Eknath Easwaran
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's review
Feb 23, 2009

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bookshelves: biography, history, non-fiction, politics

I found this book incredibly inspiring. I feel a little ashamed that I didn't actually know much about Gandhi. I knew of him, but not much about him. I didn't know just how incredibly effective he was, and I didn't understand why he thought passive resistence was such a big deal. I felt like I understood these things after I read this short book. It was very easy to read, only 175 pages in large words, large pictures, and plenty of awesome quotes, and yet it still did a good job at explaining who Gandhi was and why and how he changed the world in his simple ways.

However, the title is misleading. It had a lot more to do with his politics and philosophies than the man himself, and it talked very little of his transformation. That's what I signed up for with this book. I was fascinated that he made such a radical shift from a lawyer to a life of self-imposed poverty, spirituality, philosophy, and world-shaking political activism. The explanation that his wife embodied his philosophy of nonviolence was interesting but seemed insufficient. The book does a good job at the beginning of talking about his childhood and his young adult years, but then suddenly leaps into his later years of political activism, with no story of the transformation in between.

I was also disappointed by the messiah complex of the biographer, who seems to worship Gandhi's almost inhuman powers, because I think the truly inspiring thing about Gandhi is how normal and flawed he was, and how he worked to overcome his weaknesses to the point of becoming such an enormous political and spiritual force in the world. It really proves that anyone is capable of such a transformation.
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