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Most books on Sri Aurobindo are hagiographical, with little or no biographical information; in keen contrast, this book covers in great detail the various stages of his life. The book consists of a preface, epilogue, and five parts--part 1, "Son": "Early Years in India, Bengal, 1872-79"; part 2, "Scholar": "Growing up English, England, 1879-93" and "Encountering India, Baroda, 1893-1910"; part 3, "Revolutionary": "Into the Fray, Calcutta, 1906-08" and "In Jail and After, Bengal, 1908-10"; part 4, "Yogi and Philosopher": "A Laboratory Experiment, Pondicherry, 1910-15" and "The Major Works, Pondicherry, 1914-20"; and part 5, "Guide": "The Ascent to Supermind, Pondicherry, 1915-26" and "An Active Retirement, Pondicherry, 1927-50." Many expositions and commentaries on Sri Aurobindo's principal works have been written, especially on The Life Divine, but this reviewer believes that Heehs's book stands out as the very best by enabling readers to understand the various circumstances that led Sri Aurobindo to his final destination. Heehs (independent scholar) richly deserves congratulations for the first-class research and scholarship evident in this rare work. Excellent notes, bibliography, and index enhance the book's value. All students and scholars of Sri Aurobindo will find this extraordinary book most rewarding. Summing Up: Essential. Graduate students and faculty/researchers; general readers.

Ramakrishna Puligandla, University of Toledo, published in Choice (USA), October 2008