‘A magisterial, detailed and invaluable account of one of this century’s greatest figures … it is hard to believe that a better biography will ever be written.’ Justin Cartwright, Sunday Telegraph
The life of Nelson Mandela, from the personal and the global perspective, is one of the epic stories of the twentieth century. It is also one of the most inspiring. Twenty years ago, Mandela was an almost forgotten figure languishing in jail on Robben Island; today, as he leaves office as President of South Africa, he is one of the most widely admired leaders on earth.
The book provides many new insights into Mandela’s story and sheds new light at every turn on the moral dilemmas and personal choices of both Mandela’s private and public life.
Anthony Sampson has known Mandela from the early 1950s, and conducted hundreds of interviews with colleagues, family and friends as well as prison warders and Afrikaner ex-cabinet ministers, and he is the first person to have examined prison archives in South Africa and diplomatic papers in Great Britain, the United States and South Africa. He was given unprecedented access to 27 years’ worth of unpublished correspondence from prison, as well as to other unpublished writings including Mandela’s original, suppressed, autobiography.
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In 1975, imprisoned for life on Robben Island, Nelson Mandela covertly wrote his autobiography. After painstaking months the text was smuggled out--and was promptly quashed by the African National Congress. In his later Long Walk to Freedom Mandela politely expresses "surprise" at this. Sampson reveals that Joe Slovo suppressed the book for not giving enough prominence to Communists. This revelation is remarkable--the ANC could have made much mileage from the book at a time of low fortune--yet Sampson does not follow up. There is too often a sense of eggshells lightly walked upon.
Mandela improves as the prisoner's release approaches. Sampson sharply exposes the machinations of those undermining the ANC's struggle. The CIA knew of the Third Force years before the ANC, yet said nothing. Right-wing governments attacked "Mandela the Communist", preferring to promote Inkhata's Buthelezi, at that time secretly and violently colluding with de Klerk's apartheid regime. Against the small-minded figures of Reagan, Thatcher and Kohl it is Mandela who emerges here a giant. South Africa won her freedom through Mandela: his strength of character and willingness to forgive helped push a country into an alternative future, avoiding the racial civil war almost all predicted. Yet he and his kin paid an awful price. Sampson draws a painful, clear picture of a disintegrating family: dislocation from children; the terrible effects of the war on Winnie, and her increasingly erratic, later murderous behaviour; Mandela's own aching loneliness. It is in capturing Madiba, the ultimate public figure, at his most intense and private, that Sampson's Mandela succeeds best. --Chris WoodsReview:
"A lively, informative, often moving account of one of the century's most extraordinary lives." --"The Boston Globe" "A truly heroic story of the founder of a nation, a man of shrewdness, humanity and simplicity whose power came not from military conquest, but from moral authority." --"Chicago Tribune" "The triumph of Mandela is that it successfully demythologizes the man without in any way undermining his heroic stature." --"The New York Times Book Review" "Sampson has created a work of astounding breadth." --"Newsday"
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Book Description Harpercollins Pb, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0006388450
Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0006388450