Contents: Preface. 1. Gandhi at Tolstoy farm "a center of spiritual purification and penance". 2. Gandhi, Tolstoy, and the Tolstoyans. 3. Truth and nonviolence: the Gandhian way in ethics. 4. Gandhi and the black people of South Africa. 5. Suffragettes and Satyagraha: Gandhi and the British Women's Suffrage Movement. 6. Gandhi and the theosophists. 7. The mythologization of Gandhi. 8. Gandhi and the ethical societies. 9. Mr. Gandhi's Baptist friends. 10. From petition to Swaraj: Gandhi in London, 1906-1909. 11. Gandhi, Thoreau and Adin Ballou. 12. The second life of Mrs. Mayo. Appendices: 1. A guide to Gandhi's London. 2. Gandhi in South Africa: a critical look at the books about this era. 3. James D. Hunt, published works. Bibliography. Index.
"In this far-reaching series of essays, author James Hunt examines the complex set of influences which helped shape Mohandas K. Gandhi leading to the transformation of an anglophile Indian lawyer into the Mahatma of historical myth.
James Hunt is able to expand the existing scholarship on Gandhi and to deepen our understanding of the formation of his intellectual and spiritual program. These essays take the reader on a tour of the "stimulating interactions" -- encounters which brought a young Gandhi into dialogue with a remarkable selection of individuals and movements in South Africa and London.
Hunt not only traces the complex and often surprising development of key Gandhian concepts like ahimsa, he also helps clear away persistent misconceptions while pointing out numerous unresolved questions which pave the way for future historical inquiry.
Readers familiar with James Hunt's two other books on Gandhi, Gandhi and the Non-conformists and Gandhi in London, will recognize and welcome his measured, thoughtful approach. (Other Gandhi scholars share their warm appreciation for Professor Hunt's work in the preface.) Seen as a capstone to his life-long interest in the historical study of Gandhi, Professor Hunt's An American Looks at Gandhi is a remarkable achievement. Scholars will find careful analysis and historiography; those reading for general interest will find a rich and evocative intellectual portrait of one of the twentieth century's most influential yet widely misunderstood figures." (jacket)