THE ESSENTIAL GANDHI by Louis- Ed. Fischer


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The Gandhi shelves in every library are rapidly becoming as loaded as those devoted Lincoln, Shakespeare, or Jesus Christ. Yet there is always room for another volume, especially one as excellent as this. Louis Fischer, who wrote what is undoubtedly still the best biography of Gandhi (1960), has here assembled a new anthology from Gandhi's own writings. His purpose is considerably different from Homer A. Jack's in The Gandhi Reader (1956); Dr. Jack gave us an admirable portait and general introduction to the man; Fischer has tackled the tremendous task involved in a literal interpretation of his title. He has acquitted himself most honorably -- the essential Gandhi is here, with an absolute minimum of minutiae or interpolation. The excerpts are for the most part extremely short, and the book does lack readability to some extent for this reason, but the choice and arrangement of the material are both beyond argument. Neither scholar nor disciple will have much fault to find. The terse Foreword concludes with these words: ""Then let the Mahatma speak. What he said has an intimate relevance to many of our problems today."" Gandhi speaks throughout this book; the relevance is unmistakable.

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 1962
Publisher: Random House