Bernard Porter at Literary Review:
Reading this magisterial new biography of Mohandas K Gandhi, one could almost imagine that the British Empire might have been saved had the imperial government, not to mention the Indians, listened to him more. As is pretty well known, he didn’t turn against the empire until well into his career, long convinced – beyond reason, perhaps – that the nation of John Stuart Mill and of the numerous liberal friends he had made while studying law in London would eventually show what he took to be its ‘best side’ and grant self-government to India, on the same basis as Canada and Australia, under the aegis of its beloved king-emperor. It was for this reason that he actually aided the British side in the Boer War, the Zulu War and the First World War (his work on behalf of the Indian diaspora in South Africa is retailed in Ramachandra Guha’s Gandhi Before India, the prequel to this volume, reviewed here in December 2013). Gandhi sustained his faith in the people of Britain for some time after his enthusiastically celebrated return to India, already a hero, in January 1915.