The narrative style of the book immerses readers in the visual landscape of the falling Raj and allows them to step into the minds of the great actors of this time. This sort of narrative history also contains drawbacks that limit our understanding of this important moment. The book compresses the story to a tight one-year time frame. They are represented here as isolated personages who hold the fate of the Indian people in their hands.

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It describes events around Indian independence and partition in , beginning with the appointment of Lord Mountbatten of Burma as the last viceroy of British India , and ending with the death and funeral of Mahatma Gandhi. The book gives a detailed account of the last year of the British Raj , the princely states' reactions to independence including descriptions of the Indian princes' colourful and extravagant lifestyles , the partition of British India into India and Pakistan on religious grounds, and the bloodshed that followed.

There is a description of the British summertime capital Shimla in the Himalayas and how supplies were carried up steep mountains by porters each year. On the theme of partition, the book relates that the crucial maps setting the boundary separating India and Pakistan were drawn that year by Cyril Radcliffe , who had not visited India before being appointed as the chairman of the Boundary Commission.

It depicts the fury of both Hindus and Muslims , misled by their communal leaders, during the partition, and the biggest mass slaughter in the history of India as millions of people were uprooted by the partition and tried to migrate by train , oxcart, and on foot to new places designated for their particular religious group.

Many migrants fell victim to bandits and religious extremists of both dominant religions. One incident quoted describes a canal in Lahore that ran with blood and floating bodies. Also covered in detail are the events leading to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi , as well as the life and motives of British-educated Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistani leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The authors interviewed many who were there, including a focus on Lord Mountbatten of Burma.

That book contains interviews with Mountbatten, and a selection of papers that were in his possession. Freedom at Midnight is a non-fiction book told in a casual style, similar to the authors' previous Is Paris Burning?

It aroused controversy for its portrayal of the British expatriates, the native rulers of India and members of India's first cabinet.

This book was one of the inspirations for the film Viceroy's House. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the album by David Benoit, see Freedom at Midnight album. August The Journal of Asian Studies. University of Cambridge Press. Historical Association. New York Times Book Review. Retrieved 22 November Having been there most of the time in question, I can vouch for the accuracy of its general mood. It is a work of scholarship, of investigation, research and of significance. Categories : non-fiction books Indian independence movement History books about India Books about British India Books about foreign relations of the United Kingdom.

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Freedom at Midnight by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins (1975)

The electrifying story of India's struggle for independence, told in this classic account first published in by two fine journalists who conducted hundreds of interviews with nearly all the surviving participants - from Mountbatten to the assassins of Mahatma Gandhi. On 14 August one-fifth of humanity claimed their independence from the greatest empire history has ever seen. But million people were to find that the immediate price of freedom was partition and war, riot and murder. In this superb reconstruction, Collins and Lapierre recount the eclipse of the fabled British Raj and examine the roles enacted by, among others, Mahatma Gandhi and Lord Mountbatten in its violent transformation into the new India and Pakistan. This is the India of Jawaharlal Nehru, heart-broken by the tragedy of the country's division; of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, a Moslem who drank, ate pork and rarely entered a mosque, yet led 45 million Muslims to nationhood; of Gandhi, who stirred a subcontinent without raising his voice; of the last viceroy, Mountbatten, beseeched by the leaders of an independent India to take back the powers he'd just passed to them.


Freedom at Midnight

I have to admit I had a love-hate relationship with Freedom at Midnight. At times I found it incredibly interesting while other times it was as boring as taupe. This is the kind of book a historian This is one of the best historical book that is written about India during the time of Independence in ss.


No worse luck could have befallen a book recalling the deeply moving story of India's achievement of freedom from an outside ruler than for it to make its appearance so soon after that freedom had suddenly and brutally been destroyed from within. There is a very cruel irony in this that no one could have possibly foreseen. It is probably too soon to say that India's democracy died untimely in its 28th year. It is also dearly too late to hope that it can survive and grow uncrippled, because what happened to Mrs. Gandhi's India between the conception of this book and its birth would have rocked even the most mature political society, and India's was always fragile and insecure. All this gives an especial poignancy, and perhaps even importance, to the hook in question, whose very title now has unintentionally sad undertones of mockery.

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