Alex Von Tunzelmann’s marvelous book, Indian Summer (Picador, $18), tells a little-known story about the importance of the relationship between Lady Edwina Mountbatten, wife of the last Viceroy of India, and Nehru, India’s leader in the final stages of India’s Independence movement. Louis Mountbatten, obsessed with rank and privilege, was an ineffective naval officer but perfect for the task of taking Britain out of India. His wife barely tolerated him, but she loved India. She and Nehru completely adored each other. He confided in her and admired her energy and devotion to India. Von Tunzelmann uses the relationship as the hook, but the reader will learn a great deal about the struggle for Indian independence in 1947. Von Tunzelmann is keenly aware of the legacy of colonialism—how it infantilized hundreds of millions of poor people and pitted them against each other. Nehru was a brilliant, charismatic leader who had a strong moral code; he believed that Muslims and Hindus (and many others) could live together. There were too many others, however, who were determined to separate.
(This book cannot be returned.)