Book review: An Indian Summer, by Alex Von Tunzelmann


An incredibly well researched book that shines a light on the power plays, the politics, the people associated with the independence movement in India.  A masterpiece. 

On midnight on the 15th August 1947 400 million Indians achieved Independence.

The end of the British Raj and the emergence of India and Pakistan is one of the most defining moments of the 20th century.   But how did it all come about, who was involved, what did they want and how did they go about achieving it?

In her stunning debut book, historian Alex Von Tunzelmann gives a balanced historical account of  that not only educates, but entertains.

She tells the story step by step, introducing the architects of independence  and explaining how individual and collectively they created a movement that led to unstoppable change.  The story of them as individuals and how the relationships between them shaped the story of independence are told in great detail.

If you want to get to know Mountbatten and his wife, Edwina, Gandhi ji, Nehru and Jinnah, and how their relationships with one another evolved over time, this is the book for you.

You’ll also get a great insight how the contested line that partitions India and Pakistan came about?  How Sir Cyril Radcliffe went about his work in a mere 40 days and how did he felt about being given an impossible task?

In the words of William Dalrymple, “Unquestionably the best book I have ever read on the Independence and Partition of India and Pakistan.”  If this legendary India based historian, writer and broadcaster thinks it’s this good, then it must be worth reading, no?


Partition Stories: The creation India and Pakistan led to what has been described as the world’s largest mass migration. Anywhere between 14 and 20 million people were on the move. If you want to learn some background, the Day India Burned,  a BBC documentary, is an excellent resource.  Find out more by clicking here.

India in Colour: Another BBC documentary that explores the British Empire in India and what life was like under the British Raj. Click here to find out more.

Get to know Gandhi: Gandhi ji, also known as Bapu, Mahamta and the father of the Nation. A civil rights activist Gandhi inspired millions of ordinary Indians to stand up against British rule.  His methods, non violence and actions of mass civil disobedience, forced the British to listen. Richard Attenborough’s 1982 Oscar best picture, Gandhi, is a cinematic epic that tells his story.  Want to watch it? Then click here.

If you are wondering where to buy these great five books, give Amazon a miss and head on over to any one of these five fine book shops.


One thought on “Book review: An Indian Summer, by Alex Von Tunzelmann

  1. Pingback: Brilliant books all about India | Namaste New Delhi

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