Skip to main content

Distributed for Reaktion Books

Mahatma Gandhi

The idea of nonviolent resistance is still as essential and almost as radical today as it was when Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948) first pioneered in India the protest of political tyranny—in his case against British colonialism—through massive displays of civil disobedience. Gandhi’s ideas of peaceful protest went on to inspire the marches and sit-ins of the American Civil Rights movement and continue to be the foundations for political and social demonstrations around the world.
This biography by leading scholar Douglas Allen presents a new and challenging approach to understanding Gandhi’s life—the time in which he lived, how he shaped history, and how his philosophy and practices can be reformulated in ways that are significant and effective today. Allen analyzes his continuing relevance by addressing key issues of truth and ethics, violence and nonviolence, equality and freedom, as well as ideas of exploitation, oppression, religious conflict, and environmental crises.
Allen provides a much needed new perspective on Gandhi that allows us to rethink our basic values and priorities. By helping us understand Gandhi’s life and message, he creates a new paradigm for evaluating truth, nonviolence, peace, and morality; and  he offers new criteria for assessing our modern approach to standards of living, development, progress, and meaningful human existence.

191 pages | 25 halftones | 5 x 7 7/8 | © 2011

Critical Lives

Biography and Letters

Reaktion Books image

View all books from Reaktion Books


“This short book provides a perceptive and reliable introduction to Gandhi’s life and thought. It offers a new way of looking at Gandhi and is full of rich insights. While locating Gandhi in his context, it shows how his thought continues to throw considerable light on contemporary issues.”

Lord Bhikhu Parekh, University of Westminster

Table of Contents


1. Youth in India and England
2. South Africa
3. From the Return to India to the Salt March
4. From the Round Table to ’Constructive Work’
5. From ’Quit India’ to Gandhi’s Assassination
6. Gandhi’s Philosophy: Truth and Nonviolence
7. Modern Civilization, Religion and a New Paradigm
8. Gandhi Today

Select Bibliography
Photo Acknowledgements

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press