Read Freedom at Midnight: How Britain Gave Away an Empire by Larry Collins Free Online
Book Title: Freedom at Midnight: How Britain Gave Away an Empire|
The author of the book: Larry Collins
Edition: Book Club Associates
Date of issue: 1976
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 962 KB
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Reader ratings: 6.1
Read full description of the books:
Oh goody, yet another book written through colonial tinted glasses.
It's a well written, easy reading book so I can see why it's so popular, and if it was labelled fictional, I'd give it four stars, for fictional it is, speaking of a world where the British Raj and it's leaders brought civilization to the masses, but the masses turned the wise Brits away even though they were led by that holiest of holy cows, Lord Mountbatten - and this turning away caused mass bloodshed in the process. It's almost a biblical story, and no wonder so many people still think fondly of empire, they probably read books like this one.
The target audience for the book seems to be people who want to be able to understand just enough of the British Raj to absolve the Raj of any guilt and blame Jinnah and others for much of the ills of partition.
The authors struggle with the very basic idea of why some brown people wanted independence, especially when the British were so benevolent and wise, and give up and just talk about it like it was just something which was happening, no hard feelings really, except against Jinnah.
The book ignores practically all Indian writings, and even famous British writers like Adam Smith or Florence Nightingale who were harping on about the British needlessly killing millions in famines every few years in British India. Famines, bigger than the holocaust - skip that, lets concentrate and talk about Mountbattens shiny medals and his big big parties! And oh, look, Mountbatten has a Rolls Royce! And he's the grandson of some queen or the other!
So on one side we have Mountbatten, working hard, inviting a few brown men to luncheons every now and then, working so hard, with hardly any help, just a few thousand servants, not much at all, and on on the other we have those spoilt little boys, Gandhi and Jinnah, needlessly talking about freedom and what not. It was enough to put Mountbatten of his tea, but poor little Mountbatten suffered through it all, why one year he met Jinnah twice! And after each visit he had to go recover in the hill stations of Simla because Jinnah was such an unpleasant little man, asking uncomfortable questions. Forget the questions, did you know Jinnah was a stiff man who had this very uncomfortable stare?
What were those uncomfortable questions? If you only read this book you won't know, for the authors were obviously very aware that Mountbatten descendents themselves would be reading this book, and they didn't want to make them uncomfortable with annoying little questions.
Some reviews point out that this book is well researched - I'm sure it is, but only in that section of the British Imperial Archives which has been scrubbed of voices which are in any way critical of British rule, or attempt to look at it honestly.
Little things like India having to bear the staggering high military cost of Empire don't exist in the authors fictionalized world. Heck the authors go all the other way, and say that the British lost money during the Raj, and it was literally out of the goodness of their white hearts that the British ruled India.
History is a story - and the problem with this book is not that it's a story - the problem is that it's a glib view which completely omits and washes British hands of what they did during their occupation and departure from India.
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Read information about the authorBorn in West Hartford, Connecticut, he was educated at the Loomis Chaffee Institute in Windsor, Connecticut, and graduated from Yale as a BA in 1951. He worked in the advertising department of Procter and Gamble, in Cincinnati, Ohio, before being conscripted into the US Army. While serving in the public affairs office of the Allied Headquarters in Paris, from 1953-1955, he met Dominique Lapierre with whom he would write several best-sellers over 43 years.
He went back to Procter and Gamble and became the products manager of the new foods division in 1955. Disillusioned with commerce, he took to journalism and joined the Paris bureau of United Press International in 1956, and became the news editor in Rome in the following year, and later the MidEast bureau chief in Beirut.
In 1959, he joined Newsweek as Middle East editor, based in New York. He became the Paris bureau chief in 1961, where he would work until 1964, until he switched to writing books.
In 1965, Collins and Lapierre published their first joint work, Is Paris Burning? (in French Paris brûle-t-il?), a tale of Nazi occupation of the French capital during World War II and Hitler's plans to destroy Paris should it fall into the hands of the Allies. The book was an instant success and was made into a movie in 1966 by director René Clément, starring Kirk Douglas, Glenn Ford and Alain Delon.
In 1967, they co-authored Or I'll Dress you in Mourning about the Spanish bullfighter Manuel Benítez El Cordobés.
In 1972, after five years' research and interviews, they published O Jerusalem! about the birth of Israel in 1948, turned into a movie by Elie Chouraqui.
In 1975, they published Freedom at Midnight, a story of the Indian Independence in 1947, and the subsequent assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948. It is said they spent $300,000 researching and still emerged wealthy.
The duo published their first fictional work, The Fifth Horseman, in 1981. It describes a terrorist attack on New York masterminded by Libya's Colonel Gaddafi. The book had such a shocking effect that the French President cancelled the sale of nuclear reactors to Libya, even though it was meant for peaceful purposes. Paramount Pictures, which was planning a film based on the book, dropped the idea in fear that fanatics would emulate the scenario in real life.
In 1985, Collins authored Fall From Grace (without Lapierre) about a woman agent sent into occupied France who realizes she may be betrayed by her British masters if necessary. He also wrote Maze: A Novel (1989), Black Eagles (1995), Le Jour Du Miracle: D-Day Paris (1994) and Tomorrow Belongs To Us (1998). Shortly before his death, he collaborated with Lapierre on Is New York Burning? (2005), a novel mixing fictional characters and real-life figures that speculates about a terrorist attack on New York City.
In 2005, while working from his home in the south of France on a book on the Middle East, Collins died of a sudden cerebral haemorrhage.
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