Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit

Publisher:
‎ Penguin Random House
| Author:
Manu Bhagavan
| Language:
English
| Format:
Hardback

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Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, ‘the most remarkable woman’ Eleanor Roosevelt had ever met, was a pioneering politician and diplomat celebrated internationally for her brilliance, charm and glamour. Marlon Brando called her the woman he admired most in the world, while ordinary American men gave up watching football to come hear her speak.

Pandit’s life straddled the twentieth century, her own story intertwined with that of the modern world. She was India’s first woman cabinet minister, first ambassador to the United Nations and first ambassador to the Soviet Union. She was also the first woman elected President of the U.N. General Assembly. And yet her influence extended well beyond these formal roles. She grew to be one of the most influential international voices of peace while also paving the way for women across the world in many fields.

Madame Pandit, as she was widely known, moved easily in global aristocratic circles, even as she worked tirelessly to improve the lives of suffering millions. She traded barbs and quips with Winston Churchill, out-debated Jan Smuts and garnered more attention than James Cagney. She was arrested for the attempted assassination of Benito Mussolini and later told John F. Kennedy not to go to Dallas. At the end of her career, she came out of retirement to battle her own niece, Indira Gandhi, in an epic clash of democracy vs. authoritarianism.

Based on eight years of research and using material in five languages from seven countries and over forty archives, Manu Bhagavan has written the definitive biography of Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit.

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Description

Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, ‘the most remarkable woman’ Eleanor Roosevelt had ever met, was a pioneering politician and diplomat celebrated internationally for her brilliance, charm and glamour. Marlon Brando called her the woman he admired most in the world, while ordinary American men gave up watching football to come hear her speak.

Pandit’s life straddled the twentieth century, her own story intertwined with that of the modern world. She was India’s first woman cabinet minister, first ambassador to the United Nations and first ambassador to the Soviet Union. She was also the first woman elected President of the U.N. General Assembly. And yet her influence extended well beyond these formal roles. She grew to be one of the most influential international voices of peace while also paving the way for women across the world in many fields.

Madame Pandit, as she was widely known, moved easily in global aristocratic circles, even as she worked tirelessly to improve the lives of suffering millions. She traded barbs and quips with Winston Churchill, out-debated Jan Smuts and garnered more attention than James Cagney. She was arrested for the attempted assassination of Benito Mussolini and later told John F. Kennedy not to go to Dallas. At the end of her career, she came out of retirement to battle her own niece, Indira Gandhi, in an epic clash of democracy vs. authoritarianism.

Based on eight years of research and using material in five languages from seven countries and over forty archives, Manu Bhagavan has written the definitive biography of Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit.

About Author

Manu Bhagavan teaches at Hunter College and the Graduate Center-CUNY, where he is a professor of history, human rights, and public policy and Senior Fellow at the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies. He is the author or editor of seven other books, including the critically-acclaimed The Peacemakers. He frequently appears in the media to comment on global affairs. Manu lives in New York City.
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