NEHRU ON WORLD HISTORY; GLIMPSES OF WORLD HISTORY by

NEHRU ON WORLD HISTORY; GLIMPSES OF WORLD HISTORY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Back in 1933, while serving one of his nine jail sentences, Nehru composed a masterpiece of historical condensation in a 1000-page survey in the form of a series of letters to his little daughter, Indira. Glimpses of World History was first published in America in 1942. In 1951, a condensation and excision was made for a children- And now comes this in a 320 page volume, a selection of what Padover considers the most significant passages. Whether or not the audience will be comparable to the readers of the single volume Toynbee is a moot question. This reader thinks not. Brilliant and significant as it is, after all the direction was towards the mind of a mature young reader-not a scholarly adult. Children of our Western world are unlikely to have, alas, sufficient chronological and philosophical background of history to provide the connecting links, so the market will, presumably, be almost wholly adult. But Nehru has in only occasional instances provided a profoundly philosophical interpretation of world history. The passages are relatively short. In only a few cases do they run to sufficient length to be completely rounded:- Capitalism and the Industrial Revolution, The British in India, Persia, The Civil War in America, and so on. While the overall picture is a progressive one, highlighting parallels and striking high sports, this is not a consecutive narrative, though its scope and particularly its universality is extraordinary. And the text frequently throws light on Nehru's own personality and philosophy. It is extraordinarily objective; his universalism, his moralism shine through. Barbed criticism of the failures of modern civilization as a science marches on- and other shortcomings, particularly of the West, might be considered weighting the evidence, though at no time does he make one feel there is anything of nationalism, let alone chauvinism, in his presentation. This ends with the rise of dictatorships, and other crises growing out of World War II. A masterful editing job.

Pub Date: May 18th, 1960
Publisher: John Day