At the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, the British Empire withdrew from India, igniting the exhilaration and turmoil of a newly free society. In this vivid, atmospheric popular history, Alex von Tunzelmann chronicles these times through the most prominent figures: Dickie Mountbatten, Britain's dashing, inept last viceroy; Dickie's savvy, glamorous wife, Edwina, who found the love of her life in Jawaharlal Nehru, India's new prime minister; Muslim leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah; and Mohandas Gandhi. Tunzelman's thrilling chronicle "removes the veil from the colorful personalities and events behind India's independence and partition with Pakistan" (The Washington Post).
©2007 Alex von Tunzelmann (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"In her scintillating debut, British author von Tunzelmann keeps one eye on the big picture, but foregrounds the personalities and relationships of the main political leaders - larger-than-life figures whom she cuts down to size.... [A] compelling narrative history, combining dramatic sweep with dishy detail." (Publishers Weekly)
"This is history as multiple, interconnected biography... a book more concerned with the smaller, more colorful threads of individual character than with the broader tapestry of history and retrospective judgment.... Indian Summer achieves something both simpler and rarer, placing the behavior and feelings of a few key players at the center of a tumultuous moment in history." (The New York Times Book Review)
“Nicola Barber’s narration is warm and intelligible, despite her entirely appropriate posh British vowels. Barber does an excellent job of pronouncing the names and titles of the various Indian places, princes, and pundits.” (AudioFile)
I had started reading the book several times and never got past the firts few chapters. It is a piece loaded with historical facts and the lovely and melodious voice of Nicola Barber makes it very easy to digest, follow, understand and most of all, enjoy.
I was aware the subcontinent was partitioned at independence and little else. I had heard of Lord and Edwina Montbatten and was faintly aware of rumors of Nehru and Edwina's special relationship. Of course, who has not heard of Mahatma Gandhi. "Indian Summer" gives background to the events of 1947 in terms of personalities, geography and historical events. It also provides insights into how Pakistan has developed from what was intended to be a secular nation into what we see today.
I am certain there is more to learn, but "Indian Summer" is a great beginning and a solid base to build on.
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