glimpses of world history

Review From User :

Wonderful book. "Glimpses" is a bit of an understatement though. It's quite exhaustive and very beautifully explained. There is hardly a page of this enormous book that is dull. The essays bring out Nehru's interest and understanding of human history, culture, world affairs and social movements. It brings out his idealism, his love of knowledge, of freedom, of democracy and of lifting the masses out of misery. One can see his socialist leanings and despise of capitalism rising out of the bad economic situation in the 1930s when the capitalist countries were struggling with debt, inflation, over-production and unemployment while the Soviets were beginning to grow under the implementation of the five year plans, their economy relatively unaffected by the great depression worldwide. In his words, "to compare Soviet Russia with Western Europe today is to compare a youth, carrying a heavy burden but full of life and vigor, with an aged person with little hope or energy left, and going forward not without pride, but inevitably, to the end of his present state." He begins to equate capitalism with wastage, cutthroat competition, economic imperialism, the concentration of wealth in a few hands, long hours and squalid working conditions and begins to lean towards a democratic socialist form of governing.
As Bertrand Russell puts it, "idealism is the offspring of suffering and hope, and therefore reaches its maximum when a period of misfortune is nearing its visible termination."
To have written these brilliantly well-informed and detailed letters of human history to his daughter while sitting in prison not knowing how much longer the journey would take and yet retaining his idealism and hope is a very commendable and endearing feat.
A must read for every lover of history, political movements, social reform and India - to see where the first prime minister came from.


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