Reviewed by Sheri Harper
Gandhi : A Manga Biography
by Kazuki Ebine
Penguin Books has a new line of biographies developed using Manga or cartoon art that provides an easy to read and interesting format for young adults. Kazuki Ebine’s “Gandhi : A Manga Biography” is the third in the series. What makes this book and this series interesting is that these famous fighters for justice are good role models for young people especially those interested in making a difference in the world. Parents interested in teaching teens about some of the important political figures of the past 100 years will appreciate the informational and entertainment content of this series.
The best part of the artwork in Gandhi: A Manga Biography is that Kazuki Ebine creates characters that are true to life rather than being the large eyed cutesy figures of many of the Manga tales. Kazuki Ebine shows many scenes of action and pain and suffering as well as determination and the will to continue. The artwork is especially good about portraying the emotional reactions to the events that occurred during Gandhi’s life. Gandhi also ages dramatically from the beginning of the book until the end.
Gandhi : A Manga Biography covers Mahatma Gandhi’s life from the time he was engaged to be married through until the end of his life. Especially lovely is the way the author chose to share the heroes and advice that encourage Gandhi to follow his true path and become the leader of passive resistance in South Africa and in India. The major battles won by Gandhi using passive resistance or what he called “Satyagraha Movement” or Truth Movement including hunger strikes, and making cloth and salt in the traditional Indian fashion rather than buying it as an import from England in order to win India’s right to self governance.
The sad events in South Africa dealing with apartheid especially the political action against the General Smuts Bill requiring fingerprints on identity cards and limited movement between districts is shown well. The terrible slaughter at Amritsar in the state of Punjab is also shown. One of Gandhi’s special concerns was for the plight of the lowest caste members of India’s society, the untouchables and how they are treated within the country. Gandhi is a tale of the British Empire just before many of the commonwealth states sought independence, and it’s a tale about the search for human rights among the peoples on Earth.
I enjoyed reading Gandhi : A Manga Biography. It’s the type of book I would have loved to have had at 10-14 years of age but is good for any audience, although missing some of the details about Gandhi’s life offered in his own biography.
Dalai Lama: A Manga Biography and Che Guevera : A Manga Biography are the other two books released in the series. See www.penguin.com for more information.
About the reviewer: Sheri Fresonke Harper is a poet and writer. She’s been published in many small journals and is working on her second science fiction novel. See www.sfharper.com