In his Wall Street Journal review of Joseph Lelyveld's Great Soul, a biography of Mohandas Gandhi, conservative historian Andrew Roberts calls Gandhi "a ceaseless self-promoter", a "sexual weirdo, a political incompetent and a fanatical faddist" and accuses the revered Indian leader of repeatedly botching his nation's independence movement. In subsequent paragraphs, Roberts goes on to call him a racist, a child molester, and a hypocrite.
Roberts lambasts Gandhi for sharing his bed with young, naked women into his 70's, but then directs us to the section of Great Soul that details a passionate love affair between Gandhi and another man, "... the love of his life was a German-Jewish architect and bodybuilder, Hermann Kallenbach, for whom Gandhi left his wife in 1908."
Roberts states that of the four great goals of Gandhi's life, "Hindu-Muslim unity, against importing British textiles, for ending Untouchability and for getting the British off the subcontinent—only the last succeeded, and that simply because the near-bankrupt British led by the anti-imperialist Clement Attlee desperately wanted to leave India anyhow after a debilitating world war."
He believes that historians have largely given Gandhi a pass for these alleged failings, and that "Mr. Lelyveld is not immune, making labored excuses for him at every turn of this nonetheless well-researched and well-written book." It's unclear in the end whether Roberts's objections to Gandhi and his legacy are ultimately politically based in a reaction to Gandhi's social and historical orientation or based in a puritanical reaction to Gandhi's sexual orientation.