Double biographies are now all the rage and Arthur Herman has had the good idea of juxtaposing the lives of those great imperial adversaries, Mohandas Gandhi and Winston Churchill. They only met once, in 1906, when Churchill was Under-Secretary for the Colonies and Gandhi called on him to protest (in vain) about racial discrimination against his own community in South Africa. But their careers were closely entwined and the two men came to personify opposing sides in the struggle for Indian independence.
Needless to say, Gandhi was the avatar of soul force while Churchill embodied bulldoggish belligerence. He once said that Gandhi, as a punishment for agitation against the august and benevolent administration of the British Crown, ‘ought to be laid,