Guru to the World: The Life and Legacy of Vivekananda

  • Guru to the World: The Life and Legacy of Vivekananda
by Ruth Harris
Winner of the Wolfson History Prize

A biographical/historical view of Swami Vivekananda.

  • 539 pages, US Hardback
  • (retail only)
Unlike our other books on Swami Vivekananda, this one was written by an historian at Oxford University, and published by Harvard University Press. It is both a biography and history of Swami Vivekananda. She discovered Vivekananda while reading Life of Vivekananda by Roman Rolland. She was shocked to discover in her research that while Vivekananda is well-known in India, he's hardly known in the West.

The author writes well and approaches Vivekananda with respect and admiration, but shouldn't be called a devotee. It's good to read outside books for a deeper and different view of Swami Vivekananda. In the preface, she concludes,
"it has been a rare honor - and the most invigorating intellectual experience of my life - to have written a book that I hope will engage people's emotions, intellect, and political sensibilities. All I can say is that I have striven to bring some balance to our historical understanding of Global Vedanta and the extraordinary people who engaged in a rare, difficult and sometimes confusing attempt to build bridges across cultural divides."

Click on the link to watch below a talk she gave about her book at the Vedanta Society of New York.

Here's another link that takes you a Smithsonian Magazine review of the book.
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