The first and only book on Mahatma Gandhi as a lawyer
At the age of eighteen, a shy and timid Mohandas Gandhi leaves his home in Gujarat for a life on his own. At forty-five, a confident and fearless Gandhi, ready to boldly lead his country to freedom, returns to India.
What transforms him?
The Man before the Mahatma is the first biography of Gandhis life in the law. It follows Gandhi on his journey of self-discovery during his law studies in Britain, his law practice in India and his enormous success representing wealthy Indian merchants in South Africa, where relentless attacks on Indian rights by the white colonial authorities cause him to give up his lucrative representation of private clients for public work the representation of the besieged Indian community in South Africa.
As he takes on the most powerful governmental, economic and political forces of his day, he learns two things: that unifying his professional work with his political and moral principles not only provides him with satisfaction, it also creates in him a strong, powerful voice. Using the courtrooms of South Africa as his laboratory for resistance, Gandhi learns something else so important that it will eventually have a lasting and worldwide impact: a determined people can bring repressive governments to heel by the principled use of civil disobedience.
Using materials hidden away in archival vaults and brought to light for the first time, The Man before the Mahatma puts the reader inside dramatic experiences that changed Gandhis life forever and have never been written about until now.
About the Author
Charles DiSalvo is the Woodrow A. Potesta Professor of Law at West Virginia University, where he teaches one of the few law school courses in the United States on civil disobedience. He has represented civil disobedient in trial and appellate courts, written widely on civil disobedience and lectured on the subject in the United States and abroad. Professor DiSalvo was educated at St. John Fisher College, Claremont Graduate University, and the University of Southern California School of Law, where he was a member of the Southern California Law Review. Upon his graduation from law school, he was awarded a Reginald Heber Smith Community Lawyer Fellowship to practise poverty law for the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund.
He served as a Bigelow Teaching Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School before joining the West Virginia faculty. In addition to teaching a course on civil disobedience and the law, he teaches courses on civil procedure and trial advocacy. He is the co-founder of the West Virginia Fund for Law in the Public Interest.
He is married to Kathleen Kennedy, with whom he has three children, Clare, Maura and Philip.