The Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi
By Katherine Frank
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780395730973, 592pp.)
Publication Date: January 2002
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On the morning of October 31, 1984, as she walked through her garden, smiling, with hands raised and palms pressed together in the traditional Indian namaste greeting, Indira Nehru Gandhi was assassinated by her own bodyguards. She died as she had lived, surrounded by men, yet isolated. It was a violent end to a life of epic drama.
Here is the first popular biography of one of the world's most influential leaders, India's third prime minister. Brought up during an era that saw the rise of Indian nationalism, Indira was raised to be what her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, called "a child of revolution" - destined to play a political role in the creation and governing of an independent India. Despite her early reluctance to embrace this role, Indira eventually presided over a huge, complex, religiously riven, and male-dominated country. She was born to a wealthy, westernized family, but she had a gift for connecting with the poor of the countryside and the urban slums, the illiterate, the dispossessed - so much so that "Indira is India" became a familiar slogan. Throughout childhood, love, marriage, imprisonment, motherhood, and a sequence of personal and family tragedies, her personal hopes and desires were continually subsumed by the historical and political imperatives of her country.
In this beautifully written book, the acclaimed biographer Katherine Frank draws on unpublished sources and more than a hundred interviews to create a rich, balanced portrait. INDIRA captures in full color the personal and political fate of the leader of the world's largest democracy - the woman who played a dominant role in the history of the twentieth century and who, when it ended, was voted Woman of the Millennium by the BBC.
KATHERINE FRANK's most recent biography, A Passage to Egypt: The Life of Lucie Duff Gordon, earned a rave front-page review in the New York Times Book Review, which called it "a masterpiece." Frank is also the author of A Voyager Out, a life of Mary Kingsley, and A Chainless Soul, a life of Emily Bront�, which was hailed as "a near perfect work" (New York Daily News). Her work on Indira involved six years of extensive travel and research.