Cover: His Majesty’s Opponent: Subhas Chandra Bose and India’s Struggle against Empire, from Harvard University PressCover: His Majesty’s Opponent in PAPERBACK

His Majesty’s Opponent

Subhas Chandra Bose and India’s Struggle against Empire

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Product Details


$22.50 • £18.95 • €20.50

ISBN 9780674065963

Publication Date: 11/12/2012


448 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

68 halftones, 3 maps

Belknap Press

Not for sale in India, Bangladesh, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Bhutan

His Majesty’s Opponent offers a multifaceted portrait of Subhas Chandra Bose. It presents a captivating account of the life of an intellectual and a cosmopolitan, a revolutionary and a misled nationalist.—David Motadel, The Times Literary Supplement

This competent biography by Bose’s great-nephew, a historian, is the best work to date to clarify some of his paradoxes. With unpublished material from family archives and public records, Sugata Bose supplies a fuller back-story of Netaji’s predicaments. The book has illuminated my understanding of a controversial and charismatic Indian militarist who remains inspirational to many in India, despite his questionable status in the global politics of the period.—Krishna Dutty, The Independent

[Bose] presents an admirably restrained account of this flawed patriot. Making good use of the family archives, he reaches out to the widest possible audience with a compelling narrative that sacrifices none of its author’s academic credentials.—John Keay, Literary Review

What, I believe, is and will remain the definitive biography of Subhas Bose… In terms of sheer craftsmanship and mastery over material, this is an achievement that will evoke the admiration and envy of any historian–biographer.—Rudrangshu Mukherjee, The Telegraph

Those wishing to learn about the life and times of Netaji will finish the book with their curiosity deeply satisfied.—Ramesh Thakur, The Australian

It is not easy to be objective about a national icon like Subhas Bose, especially when he happens to be the grand-uncle of the biographer. But Sugata Bose has achieved that critical distance… This biography reveals a lot more about Subhas Bose’s intimate life than did the stuffy portrayals in some earlier accounts.—Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, Biblio

[Bose’s] impeccable scholarship is in full view, as indeed is his awed regard for his grand-uncle. The result is a fine biography of a man who is still regarded with some ambivalence in India, not the least because so little is known about him. This book ought to fill that gap.—T.C.A. Srinivasa-Raghavan, Business Line

[A] fine, nuanced book… His Majesty’s Opponent is a template biography. It is arrestingly written, provides personal details the author is obviously privy to—being the son of Netaji’s favorite nephew, Sisir. It is sympathetic but dispassionate and evokes in the reader just the right mix of emotion and regret that Bose’s brilliant but truncated life deserves.—Ashok Malik, The Hindustan Times

This book is very fascinating—not just for those who love history and politics, but for anyone who loves to read an illustrious story about a famous person.—Visi Tilak, Indian American

[A] magisterial biography… [Bose] does a splendid job… Bose etches a vivid portrait of Netaji as a protean nationalist of fierce integrity and conviction… [He] displays considerable acuity in examining the icon’s complex love-hate relationship with Gandhi.—Soutik Biswas,

Here is a biography of one of the most intriguing and powerful men in 20th century India, Subhas Chandra Bose, written with energy and without sacrificing the historical details… In parts the book reads like a thriller, especially when dealing with Netaji’s daring escapes from British clutches. There is a spirited account of a secret submarine escape, and riveting material on Netaji’s complex political strategies. But above everything else, the book offers an intimate portrait of Netaji not only as a revolutionary leader but also a loving husband, a man of letters, and an untiring believer in communal amity.—Arthur J. Pais,

Sugata Bose’s book has filled a long-standing gap for an authentic biography of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.—Chhanda Chatterjee, The Statesman

[This] new biography of Indian nationalist hero Subhas Chandra Bose could help resuscitate the leader’s troubled reputation outside of India… His Majesty’s Opponent aims to be the definitive biography of a man who, as the author writes, devoted ‘his life to ensuring the sun did finally set on the British Empire.’… Bose’s life is an action-packed thriller tailor-made for biographical treatment.—Tom Wright, The Wall Street Journal blog

[A] lucid and meticulous new biography.—Sudip Bose, Bookforum

Sugata Bose (Subhas’s great-nephew) has produced a full-scale biography of this interesting figure, filling in details on his ideas, the quarrel with Gandhi that pushed him out of mainstream Indian politics, and his quest for German support.—R. A. Callahan, Choice

Bose, grand nephew of Subhas Chandra, known as Netaji (respected leader), has written an enthralling account of Netaji’s life, detailing his lifelong struggle against British rule (he was imprisoned without a trial at a young age), exile in Europe, and political successes… This biography of a nationalist leader of the same stature as Mohandas Gandhi should be read…by all who seek a complete picture of India’s freedom struggle.—Ravi Shenoy, Library Journal

This remarkable book places Subhas Chandra Bose fully in the context of Indian and world history. It should be read by everyone interested in the end of the British Empire.—Arjun Appadurai, New York University

Larger than life, more profoundly intriguing than the myths that surround him, Subhas Chandra Bose was India’s greatest ‘lost’ leader. In a remarkable narrative that pairs political passion with historical precision, Sugata Bose has beautifully explored the character and charisma of the man, while providing an elegant and incisive account of one of the most important phases of the struggle for Indian independence.—Homi K. Bhabha, author of The Location of Culture

This is a definitive biography of Subhas Chandra Bose, written by the person most qualified to do so. It is an epic tale, told in an epic manner.—Tim Harper, author of Forgotten Wars: Freedom and Revolution in Southeast Asia

Subhas Chandra Bose was perhaps the most enigmatic of the great Indian leaders fighting for independence in the twentieth century. This wonderful book makes a major contribution to the understanding of the political, social and moral commitments of Netaji, the great leader, as he was called by his contemporaries.—Amartya Sen, author of The Idea of Justice

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