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  • Indian Summer

  • The Secret History of the End of an Empire
  • Written by: Alex von Tunzelmann
  • Narrated by: Stephen Thorne
  • Length: 14 hrs and 36 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (168 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

At midnight on 15 August, 1947, India left the British Empire. This defining moment of world history had been brought about by a handful of people: Jawaharlal Nehru, the fiery Indian prime minister; Mohammed Ali Jinnah, leader of the new nation; and Louis and Edwina Mountbatten, despatched to get Britain out of India.

Within hours of the midnight chimes, their dreams of freedom and democracy would turn to chaos, bloodshed and war. Behind the scenes a secret personal drama was unfolding, as Edwina Mountbatten and Nehru began a passionate love affair. Steeped in the private papers and reflections of the participants, Indian Summer reveals how the acts of a few players changed the lives of millions and determined the fate of nations.

©2011 Oakhill Publishing Ltd (P)2011 Oakhill Publishing Ltd
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"A true tour de force:absorbing in it's detail and masterly in the broad sweep of its canvas." (Sir Martin Gilbert)

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What listeners say about Indian Summer

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Read with fist full of salt

There are gross omissions in the narrative. For starters the author claims there were only two significant kings- Ashok (2-3 century BCE) and Akbar (16th century CE), implying that for 19 centuries there was no other noteworthy Ruler. There should have been a more authentic study and mention. This book claims to represent last mile towards freedom of India, but does not go beyond few personalities like Gandhi, Nehru, Mountbatten and Edwina, Jinnah some references of Patel (and families). The way things are protrayed gives a feeling that the entire last mile has happened only owing to these people. Author has indicated that Indians did not do much after 1857 mutiny and jumps straight to the 1900s. This is sooo inaccurate. It is understandable that history of Bharat, a civilization that is more than 6000 years old, cannot be contained in a book of this size. It is also evident that the book is written, whilst sitting on the Indian side of the fence, due to which the aftermath of partition has very imbalanced perspective to the extent of sounding prejudiced. Myopia is evident through out. I could go on. These are just a few things that I can put in this small a space. At best, this is probably the story of the characters mentioned above and not a historical reference book. It does offer glimpses of that time through a tiny keyhole. It will be appreciated if Author can add some disclaimers to the book

4 people found this helpful

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Good book, but audible messed it up

The book in itself was a good one to learn about the history of India during the independence struggle. It gives a far more accurate description than what you read in the school history textbooks, which are more propaganda than truth.

However, due to the lack of sources and citations, I am not sure to what extent the contents of this book are true, but that is always the case with any work of history.

Audible has done a shoddy job of producing this book. The chapters in audible do not match with the chapters or parts in the book in any way. Forget about actually naming the chapter or its parts.

The narrator was quite good. Apt for a book of this sort.

2 people found this helpful

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Mostly good but somewhat biased

The book is really interesting and I would even say a must read in many respects but I do think it focuses a lot more than it should on the affair between Nehru and Edwina which gives it somewhat of a high school romance vibe rather than a historical take on events. Also, the views on Gandhi seem biased and his person under researched.

2 people found this helpful

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Highly recommended.

Totally loved it. I could not stop listening it tilI I finished it. If you are considering reading this book, you won't be disappointed.

2 people found this helpful

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Good narration!

Perfect reading to know history of Indian Independence concisely. Very well narrated. Loved it thoroughly.

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent rendition and a great narrative.

I like listening to every bit of this book. It is so well written. I agree there could be differ perspectives in India’s run to freedom but the book throws light on the machinations behind it. Stephen Thorne is an amazing narrator.

1 person found this helpful

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Interesting - depends much on British sources and narratives

It’s a good addition if one is interested in the subject of Indian partition and the key personalities of the time.

The perspectives are however mostly from British sources and contexts. There are many portions, where the inability of the author to understand the cultural and social contexts of the Indian dramatic personae appear quite evident.

A deeper study of the thoughts and works of Jinnah, Nehru, Patel and VP Menon amongst others would have made this a definitive work.

So definitive is what this work is not. It is a good addition to insights on that place and period of history but an educated and well rounded view would need more sources and books to refer.

1 person found this helpful

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An amazing narrative of Indian independence

Probably the best narrative of India’s struggle for independence I have read...provides an amazingly balanced view with character insights on the creators of modern India...Nehru Gandhi and the Mountbattens...strongly recommended for all Indians :)

1 person found this helpful

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A good read

for those interested in the history of Indian freedom fight. Follows through the lives of Gandhi, Jawaharlal, Jinnah and the Mountbatten couple.

1 person found this helpful

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Fantastic, almost surreal!

Loved the details and language used. Much research into events and lives of people involved in process leading to India's Independance.

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  • Sumit
  • 22-04-14

Very well detailed audio book

What did you like best about this story?

Its gives a very detailed account of India's history. It's struggles and candid look inside the lives of the people who affected it's fate the most. Nehru, Gandhi and the Mountbattens have been covered very well.

1 person found this helpful

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  • ann
  • 07-01-13

A clever,succinct and a jolly good read

If you could sum up Indian Summer in three words, what would they be?

I thought this was an excellent read, the telling of an important event from enriched by the complex and fascinating characters who participated in the partiiton of India. The narration was excellent. I would recommend this book to anyone who was interested in the history of the Raj. Ps Sorry about the grammar the program won't let me correct it properly.

1 person found this helpful

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  • mas3338
  • 30-08-17

Excellent

Excellent storytelling by both the author and the narrator. The work powerfully transports the reader back to the era described.

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  • apoorva
  • 30-07-17

beautiful clear engaging narration. eye opener boo

beautiful clear engaging narration. eye opener book which is very engaging. nostalgic yet refreshing on such different notes

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  • Komal Amin
  • 17-09-17

Great but narrator let it down

Great read but the choice of narrator let it down. Why choose a man to read a book by a woman? Usually I get the author or closest thing to the author to read it? And on top, why a man who clearly can't pronounce any of the Indian words, names and places. This is an Indian history book! I had to frequently stop listen to find the written version of what he said because I couldn't understand his terrible pronunciation.

Other than that, fab and interesting content.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mr
  • 07-04-13

The characters tell the story

I felt this book was like a collection of biographies, interwoven to tell the story of India becoming independent from the British Empire. The Mountbattens (Louis and Edwina, the latter being a substantial figure herself rather than just "the wife of"), Nehru, Gandhi and Jinnah form the nucleus, but others such as Chuchill and the British Royal Family make plenty of appearances. The approach works extremely well and the overall effect is a thoroughly enjoyable account of the period. The later lives of the main players are also covered - there is no abrupt ending with Indian independence - which adds to the biographical feel of the book.



I did feel that Louis Mountbatten, who comes out of the book rather badly, was probably unjustly treated here. I just don't believe that someone who held the posts and achieved what he did can have been as bad as is made out.



That criticism aside, this is a fine book which I will probably listen to again at some point. It is well narrated too. I have no difficulty in awarding it 5 stars and recommending it to anybody with any interest in India or the period.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Soranus
  • 01-12-15

How and why the British Raj ended.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Definitely. This not only gives a very readable history of India but also an insight into the characters involved. There is a very interesting insight into the relationship between Lady Edwina Mountbatten and Jawaharlal Nehru. It also made me realise that Gandhi was not quite the force I had thought.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I did not have favourites. I did however come to view characters I thought I knew in a different light.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This made me embarrassed to be British and made me very thoughtful about other more modern events we have been, and are, involved in.

Any additional comments?

I found this book very easy to listen to. Stephen Thorne reads it well and kept my interest.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • M. SAUNDERS
  • 13-04-13

Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an

Covering a vast subject the end of empire in India will interest many people . Its intelligent and scholarly but still entertaining and informative , well read too. Certainly a book worthy of your time and investment.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 23-03-21

excellent read

Well read and written. Fascinating insight into a momentous time. It is well worth reading.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Asil Hindi
  • 15-03-21

Marvellous

Marvellous read, full of details.
Informative for anyone interested in the largest Empire in the world history (by land expansion).
Intense but in a good way. It tells so many stories of important names such as Dickie Mountbatten and his wife, Gandhi, first Indian PM Nehru and the founder and First governor of Pakistan Jinnah.

Rich details on the independence of India, Pakistan then Bangladesh.

Highly recommended.

1 person found this helpful

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  • A Ejindu-Wright
  • 10-02-16

Loved it!

An eye opener for me regarding the recent history of India and it's partition. Beautifully narrated.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Rog
  • 08-08-20

Superb

Fantastic story of the creation of two new nation's India and Pakistan and an unlikely romance set to the backdrop of India's independence from Britain in 1947. Superb narration by Stephen Thorne.

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  • Neil Green
  • 08-06-20

Excellent listen on a fascinating time.

Very well read. An informative and at times amusing history with some great characters. Amazing people. A good listen

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • RKG
  • 14-05-20

Creation of Pakistan from the Indian Sub-continent

Don’t know where the writer gets her facts from and since she sounds so sure and certain, it would have been interesting to know the sources of this historical narrative?? If it is that.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Richard
  • 02-12-19

Interest but drawn out

Dickie Mountbatten was a flawed cuckold. His wife strange, moody and mercurial. I made myself finish the but wouldn't recommend it.