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Long Walk to Freedom
Cover of Long Walk to Freedom
Long Walk to Freedom
The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
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The autobiography of global human rights icon Nelson Mandela is "riveting...both a brilliant description of a diabolical system and a testament to the power of the spirit to transcend it" (Washington...
The autobiography of global human rights icon Nelson Mandela is "riveting...both a brilliant description of a diabolical system and a testament to the power of the spirit to transcend it" (Washington...
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  • The autobiography of global human rights icon Nelson Mandela is "riveting...both a brilliant description of a diabolical system and a testament to the power of the spirit to transcend it" (Washington Post).


    Nelson Mandela is one of the great moral and political leaders of our time: an international hero whose lifelong dedication to the fight against racial oppression in South Africa won him the Nobel Peace Prize and the presidency of his country. Since his triumphant release in 1990 from more than a quarter-century of imprisonment, Mandela has been at the center of the most compelling and inspiring political drama in the world. As president of the African National Congress and head of South Africa's antiapartheid movement, he was instrumental in moving the nation toward multiracial government and majority rule. He is revered everywhere as a vital force in the fight for human rights and racial equality.
    LONG WALK TO FREEDOM is his moving and exhilarating autobiography, destined to take its place among the finest memoirs of history's greatest figures. Here for the first time, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela tells the extraordinary story of his life—an epic of struggle, setback, renewed hope, and ultimate triumph.


    The book that inspired the major new motion picture Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.



Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 3, 2000
    This fluid memoir matches South African President Mandela's stately grace with wise reflection on his life and the freedom struggle that defined it. Mandela began this book in 1975, during his 27-year imprisonment. He has fleshed out a sweeping story that begins in the rural Transkei in 1918 and moves beyond, especially to Johannesburg, where he became politically active as one of only a few black African lawyers. As an African National Congress leader, this military novice helped launch an armed struggle against the intransigent apartheid government, then eloquently explained his political convictions when on trial in 1964 for sabotage. Perhaps the most powerful passages involve the Robben Island prison, where political prisoners formed a ``university'' and Mandela read books like War and Peace, resisting embitterment and finding decency even in callous Afrikaner jailers. Moved to a mainland prison in 1985, Mandela, unable to consult with exiled ANC leaders, initiated intricate negotiations with the government; the story fascinates. This book-perhaps out of diplomacy and haste-covers the period since Mandela's 1990 release with less nuance and candor than other recent accounts; still his belief in repairing his country inspires. Mandela's family life has involved much sadness: he was not permitted a contact visit with wife Winnie for 21 years, was separated from his two young children and split with Winnie after his release, although he supported her during her 1991 conviction for kidnapping (a sentence she is appealing). ``In South Africa,'' he notes, ``a man who tried to fulfill his duty to his people was inevitably ripped from his family and his home.'' Photos not seen by PW.

  • Library Journal

    April 1, 1994
    Mandela ranges from his youth to the events leading up to this month's first multiracial elections in South Africa.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from November 15, 1994
    In a time of political cynicism, Nelson Mandela's union of pragmatism and principle is a blazing triumph. The publication of his autobiography is a drama in itself: he wrote much of it secretly in prison on Robben Island; his jailers found the manuscript where he'd buried it; they didn't know that the prisoners had smuggled out another copy. Now Mandela has revised and updated that account with the collaboration of "Time" magazine contributor Richard Stengel. Some of the history has been told before in the fine authorized biographies by Mary Benson (1986) and Fatima Meer (1990). But much that had to be kept secret in a time of terror can now be revealed. Those who have followed the antiapartheid struggle will find here the details they've hungered for: who decided what and why; how Mandela survived underground and how he was finally caught; what daily life was like during those 27 dark years on the island, in the lime quarry and in the cells; and what led to his "talking with the enemy." From the 1950s Defiance Campaign through steps leading up to his final release and election--all the people and discussions and events are here. There's no self-righteousness. "I didn't have an epiphany," he says of his political role. His court speeches are as thrilling as ever, but it's the personal voice, sometimes restrained, sometimes furious, frank about failure, funny about his own weakness, that gives this story its compelling authority. You believe him. Running quietly throughout the book is anguish for his loss of family and the grief he caused them. Trying to explain his absence to his children, "one's voice trails off." His democracy is grounded in his awareness of human frailty and courage. Always he sees the individual, whether friend or enemy. Elected president in South Africa's first nonracial election, this leader invited his ex-prison warder to the inauguration. ((Reviewed November 15, 1994))(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 1994, American Library Association.)

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