Review: A Sensation of Independence: A Political Biography

A Sensation of Independence: A Political Biography
A Sensation of Independence: A Political Biography by Chan Heng Chee
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is a critical analysis of Marshall’s political career, and excels in the descriptions of parliamentary exchanges, legislative negotiations, and the broad political forces of the time.

Some parts were especially incisive, such as her comparison of Marshall’s and Lee Kuan Yew’s characters on p. 126. I also like that she’s sensitive to quotes — there’s a deliciously ambiguous one by Lee on p. 274 — and for behavioural details. Other sections however read a bit dry, and more perhaps could be done to ease the layman into the thicket of legislation names, reports and papers.

Overall one wishes the book had a far better editor that could do its subject and author justice.

While appreciative of Marshall’s positive abilities, the author seems a bit too quick to write Marshall off. The concluding summary in particular seems too reductive.

Of note are the sketches of Marshall, Lee and other personalities. But it’s a shame that the artist is not credited anywhere. Equally upsetting are the ubiquitous typos – very odd of publisher Marshall Cavendish.

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