Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India is a biography Pulitzer Prize-winning author Joseph Lelyveld and published by Alfred A Knopf. Great Soul has ratings and 85 reviews. Reading Joseph Lelyveld’s sensitive and informative biography of the life of Mahatma Gandhi is enriching in many. 1 quote from Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India: ‘I should like to slip out of the public gaze to bury myself in the farm and devot.

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There are no discussion topics on this book yet. In my opinion, that falls way short of the mark.

Great Soul

Simply put, the Mahatma had good days and bad days, too, so we can take comfort in his example and worry less about our failings and focus more on our gifts as he did. Apr 14, Sheila rated it liked it Recommends it for: He held both the Hindus and the Muslims to better behavior. Return to Book Page. What I completely failed to understand here is how with all his failings, his open hypocrisy, his obnoxious personal habits, his religious superstitions, his political wilyness, his constant changes of stance, his insensitivity to the needs of those close to him and his massive ego he still came to be I found the book to souo boring at times and insightful at others.

Views Read Edit View history. I don’t suspect that most of us would be willing to hold ourselves to such virtually lelyeld standards – even Gandhi often couldn’t meet his own lofty ideals – but we can draw inspiration and strength from his indefatigability. He maintained a clear sense that caste was harmful. Lelyveld has made a lelyvekd contribution kelyveld thus this book deserves to be read and discussed broadly.


It takes a brave biographer to pull this off respectfully. Gandhi always put his beliefs into action, especially near the end of his life. I learned a tremendous amount; I found the 20 years Ghandi spent in South Africa to be the most interesting.

Great Soul tears open more than a few historical wounds and will no doubt cause history departments and devoted followers and nationalists to erupt with rage for years.

I heard about the controversy surrounding Great Soul before I ever got a copy in my hands. The furore was sparked by local media reports, based on early reviews in the US and UK, some of which emphasised passages in the book that suggested Gandhi had an intimate relationship with a German man named Hermann Kallenbach.

The primary reason for the censorship and reader condemnation of this book seems to center on the discussion of Gandhi’s long-term intimate relationship with the German Jewish bodybuilder Hermann Kallenbach.

Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India – Joseph Lelyveld – Google Books

Should he include eggs or milk in his vegetarian diet? In fact, they have largely rejected his name for them – Harijans, or “Children of God.

Sundaram Abbas Tyabji Ravishankar Vyas.

The most astonishing example is when he sleeps naked with his teenaged relative, in order to hold fast. His struggles, his formative thinking, his Tolstoy farm, his relationship with Hermann Kallenbach, I think one must read the book even if just for this part. I kept alternately reading and listening to the book, hoping there would be some kind of message that would lelvyeld such an airing of criticism and “dirty laundry”.


I’m giving it 4 stars simply because it was not a compelling read. Aug 06, Mary rated it really soyl it Shelves: Most non fiction books and some fiction I never read till the end.

In India the caste system prevails, though it is defacto. Everyone knows who Mahatma Ghandi is That said, one place where Lelyveld, to my eyes, suffers most seriously by comparison to Marable is in his undertheorized handling of the relation between politics and religion. In fact this happens occasionally but to such an extent that the author appears to attempt to excuse or whitewash some of the more human aspects of the Mahatma’s character. His intent was to curb all thought, and all bodily manifestations of lust, and pushing himself to even further ends.

He shuttled between Delhi and East Pakistan Bangladesh several times in order to quell violence and he always succeeded, at least temporarily. When Lelyveld invokes “tragedy” as a category for Gandhi’s lapses, I hear less Aristotle than Reinhold Niebuhrwhose contemporary, contrarian reading of Gandhi in the concluding chapters of Moral Man and Immoral Society bears rereading in light of Lelyveld’s reporting.