Gandhi & Churchill: The Epic Rivalry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age (Paperback)

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In this fascinating and meticulously researched book, bestselling historian Arthur Herman sheds new light on two of the most universally recognizable icons of the twentieth century, and reveals how their forty-year rivalry sealed the fate of India and the British Empire.

They were born worlds apart: Winston Churchill to Britain’s most glamorous aristocratic family, Mohandas Gandhi to a pious middle-class household in a provincial town in India. Yet Arthur Herman reveals how their lives and careers became intertwined as the twentieth century unfolded. Both men would go on to lead their nations through harrowing trials and two world wars—and become locked in a fierce contest of wills that would decide the fates of countries, continents, and ultimately an empire. Here is a sweeping epic with a fascinating supporting cast, and a brilliant narrative parable of two men whose great successes were always haunted by personal failure—and whose final moments of triumph were overshadowed by the loss of what they held most dear.

About the Author


Arthur Herman is the bestselling author of How the Scots Invented the Modern World, which has sold over 350,000 copies worldwide, and To Rule the Waves: How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World, which was nominated for the prestigious Mountbatten Prize in 2005. He is a former professor of history at Georgetown University, Catholic University, and the Smithsonian’s Campus on the Mall. He and his wife live in central Virginia.

Praise for Gandhi & Churchill: The Epic Rivalry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age…


Gandhi & Churchill is a powerful tale of the monumental clash between two of the giants of the twentieth century. Set against the backdrop of war and conflict, this brilliant dual biography of strong-willed visionaries locked in a struggle each believed in makes for compelling reading. Arthur Herman has written a masterful and superbly well researched account of the lives of two men who have had a profound influence on the world in which we live in today that will long stand as a testament to their legacy.”—Carlo D'Este, author of Patton: A Genius For War and Eisenhower: A Soldier's Life 

“A fast-paced narrative history…Herman brings to life the twilight of the British Empire and reminds us how the twists and turns of fate helped propel these two men to their places in history. He shows us that there was more common ground between the two than most realize and that the seemingly simple tale of the imperialist and the nationalist is far more nuanced than it seems.” — Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, The Hindustan Times, Bernard Schwartz Fellow, Asia Society

"Cutting through decades of narrow or shallow reporting, Arthur Herman offers a balanced and elegant account which captures both Churchill's generosity of spirit and Gandhi's greatness of soul. While recognizing their faults, he shows what motivated them and made them great—with impressive research that in Churchill's words leaves "no stone unturned, no cutlet uncooked." The last two chapters, and the author's Conclusion, are alone worth the price of what must become the standard work on the subject."—Richard M. Langworth, Editor, Finest Hour

“The rivalry between Winston Churchill and Mohandas Gandhi could hardly have been played for higher stakes. The future of British India hung upon the outcome of their 20-year struggle…. As one might expect from the author of To Rule the Waves, a fine history … Mr. Herman has researched Gandhi & Churchill meticulously and written it fluently.”—Wall Street Journal

“An amazingly interesting and perceptive presentation of these two titans of the 20th century…. I learned so much.”—Deirdre Donahue, USA Today’s book reviewer, on the NPR program “On Point”

"A forceful portrait of the emergence of the postcolonial era in the fateful contrast—and surprising affinities—between two historic figures.... Fascinating."—Publishers Weekly

“Herman's book focuses on two imposing figures who epitomized the clash …. he has probed beneath the stereotypes… [and] tells their stories stylishly and eloquently.”—Washington Post Book World

"The perfect summer book...You finish Gandhi & Churchill knowing that you can evaluate the world today, particularly modern India, with more knowledge and insight—USA Today

“Herman's storytelling style is engaging, giving new life to stories we have already heard and even forgotten…. Then there are the surprises…. Provocative, intriguing, even controversial.”—India Today

“Scruplous, compelling, and unfailingly instructive…. A detailed and richly filigreed account that introduces the Anglo-American reader to many facts and vivid if little-known personalities, both English and Indian.” –Commentary

" Brisk narrative flow.... Showing history eluding Gandhi and Churchill, Herman provocatively presents their efforts to shape it."—Booklist

“Exhaustively detailed.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Product Details ISBN-10: 0553383760
ISBN-13: 9780553383768
Published: Bantam, 04/28/2009
Pages: 736
Language: English


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