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Glorious Heights and Terrifying Depths

A Chequered Brilliance: The Many Lives of V K Krishna Menon by Jairam Ramesh, New Delhi: Penguin/Viking, 2019; pp 744, 849 (hardcover).

Jairam Ramesh is well regarded for his wide-ranging intellect, keen observational abilities, and no-nonsense, straight-talking style. All of these skills are on vivid display in the new ­biography of modern India’s mysterious Machiavelli, V K Krishna Menon.

Readers are likely to come to this book with some strongly held pre-formed views on its well-known diplomatic subject of study. Menon is today both heralded and hated for his fiery rhetoric and long-winded speeches, usually directed against the West; for his shadowy proximity to Jawaharlal Nehru; and for his bungling of India’s defence during the Sino–Indian war of 1962. It is to Ramesh’s considerable credit that he is able in just a few chapters to pry Menon free from such preconceived feelings and present a much more balanced picture.

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Updated On : 20th Oct, 2020

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