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Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire

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Indian Summer

The Secret History of the End of an Empire

By Alex Von Tunzelmann

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Format: Paperback, 480 pages
Other Information: 16pp b-w
Published In: United States, 29 March 2008
The stroke of midnight on 15 August 1947 liberated 400 million Indians from the British Empire. One of the defining moments of world history had been brought about by a tiny number of people, including Jawaharlal Nehru, the fiery prime minister-to-be; Gandhi, the mystical figure who enthralled a nation; and Louis and Edwina Mountbatten, the glamorous but unlikely couple who had been dispatched to get Britain out of India without delay. Within hours of the midnight chimes, however, the two new nations of India and Pakistan would descend into anarchy and terror. INDIAN SUMMERdepicts the epic sweep of events that ripped apart the greatest empire the world has ever seen, and reveals the secrets of the most powerful players on the world stage: the Cold War conspiracies, the private deals, and the intense and clandestine love affair between the wife of the last viceroy and the first prime minister of free India. With wit, insight and a sharp eye for detail, Alex von Tunzelmann relates how a handful of people changed the world for ever.

About the Author

Alex von Tunzelmann read modern history at University College, Oxford, and lives in London. This is her first book.

Reviews

August 14, 1947: 400 million Indians win independence from the British Empire, even as Nehru and Edwina Mountbatten, wife of the last viceroy, conduct an affair. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

The transfer of power from the British Empire to the new nations of India and Pakistan in the summer of 1947 was one of history's great, and tragic, epics: 400 million people won independence, and perhaps as many as one million died in sectarian violence among Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. 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. She portrays Gandhi as both awe inspiring and, with his antisex campaigns and inflexible moralism, an exasperating eccentric. British viceroy Louis "Dickie" Mountbatten comes off as a clumsy diplomat dithering over flag designs while his partition plan teetered on the brink of disaster. Meanwhile, his glamorous, omnicompetent wife, Edwina, looks after refugees and carries on an affair with the handsome, stalwart Indian statesman Nehru. Von Tunzelmann's wit is cruel-"Gandhi... wanted to spread the blessings of poverty and humility to all people"-but fair in its depictions of complex, often charismatic people with feet of clay. The result is compelling narrative history, combining dramatic sweep with dishy detail. 8 pages of b&w photos. (Aug.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"A brilliantly vivid page-turner that captures the backstage dramas raging on the eve of India's independence."--Tina Brown"Irreistible . . . A fascinating book that may well change how we look on the benighted world in which we live today."--"Los Angeles Times""[A] captivating group portrait, pulling forth the most telling details of each figure's inner life. . . . To have turned an era of such significance and continuing relevance into a page-turner, to both entertain and educate, is an an admirable accomplishment."--"San Francisco Chronicle" "A fascinating behind-the-scenes account of the breakup of British rule in India."--NPR's "Fresh Air""""""[Von Tunzelmann] keeps us riveted. . . . [She] has a fine knack for teasing out the play of personality in momentous events."--"Houston Chronicle""Von Tunzelman is witty, erudite, and thoughtful about her subject. . . . An oppinionated and sardonic writer, [she] is perfectly willing to take on both saints and heroes."--"The C "A brilliantly vivid page-turner that captures the backstage dramas raging on the eve of India's independence."--Tina Brown"Irreistible . . . A fascinating book that may well change how we look on the benighted world in which we live today."--"Los Angeles Times""[A] captivating group portrait, pulling forth the most telling details of each figure's inner life. . . . To have turned an era of such significance and continuing relevance into a page-turner, to both entertain and educate, is an an admirable accomplishment."--"San Francisco Chronicle" "A fascinating behind-the-scenes account of the breakup of British rule in India."--NPR's "Fresh Air""""""[Von Tunzelmann] keeps us riveted. . . . [She] has a fine knack for teasing out the play of personality in momentous events."--"Houston Chronicle""Von Tunzelman is witty, erudite, and thoughtful about her subject. . . . An oppinionated and sardonic writer, [she] is perfectly willing to take on both saints ""Indian Summer" is a true tour de force: absorbing in its detail and masterly in the broad sweep of its canvas."--Sir Martin Gilbert, author of "The Somme" ""Indian Summer" is outstandingly vivid and authoritative. Alex von Tunzelmann brings a lively new voice to narrative history-writing."--Victoria Glendinning, author of "Leonard Woolf " "Alex von Tunzelmann is a wonderful historian, as learned as she is shrewd. But she is also something more unexpected: a writer with a wit and an eye for character that Evelyn Waugh would surely have admired."--Tom Holland, author of" Rubicon" and" Persian Fire " "An engaging, controversial, very lively and, at times, refreshingly irreverent tour de force. Alex von Tunzelmann has written a dramatic story, laced with tragedy and farce, and done so very well; a remarkable debut."--Lawrence James, author of" The Middle Class: A History" and "Raj: The Making and Unmaking of British India "

EAN: 9781416522256
ISBN: 1416522255
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Dimensions: 19.8 x 13 centimetres (0.32 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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