This one comes under those “you should read it at least once” books.
Gandhiji (the respectful way to refer to him) is a very strange figure in Indian history. He is both more Indian and less Indian than anyone you will ever meet or read about. Indians love to celebrate him and love to distance themselves from him. His name lives on in a legacy of political leaders that he would likely not endorse.
Gandhiji’s influence on India is a topic for another post. This book is his autobiography and his views of what was going on around him during the beginnings of the movement for a free and independent India. It is a classic, however don’t expect it to prepare you for Indian culture like other books might.
Aside from being challenged by his faith and life, the biggest takeaway I got from this book was how common of an Indian Gandhiji was. He talks in detail about his family. He obsesses over food and vegetarianism. He is consumed both with very noble thoughts and very common, ordinary thoughts. After reading this, Gandhiji comes across as the true “common man” to emulate.
The book covers his life up until 1921, about the time his international fame was starting to spread. Despite not covering the later part of his life, you get a great perspective into his character, values, and travels, which stay consistent throughout his life.
Who would like it: Anyone with a mild interest Gandhiji, whether from a political, social, or spiritual perspective. Don’t expect to learn about India as a culture, but rather India through the eyes of one incredible man.
Source: Learning India