A useful biography. Though Gandhi was an endearing child, he showed ""not the slightest sign of possessing any special gift that might make him a leader."" That ability and his unique spiritual qualities revealed themselves as life touched him: in marriage to an Indian girl at 13, education in England, work as a lawyer in South Africa, in a South African jail where he first read Thoreau. His search for nonviolent ways to activate the conscience of the British--and open Churchill's mind to Indian liberation--led to his concept of the soul's force, his public fasting, his peaceful organizing of strikers. His gift seemed to lie, in part, in his optimism: in his hugely successful Salt March, which began with 78 people and ended with thousands marching to the sea to show that India could harvest its own salt: ""hardly anybody besides Gandhi expected such a simple sort of demonstration to accomplish much."" Workmanlike prose marks a biography trying so hard to be cautious and accurate that the more mysterious and complex aspects of Gandhi's character and charisma are rarely speculated on. Still, a reliable introduction to Gandhi's life.