An almost-forgotten prisoner on Robben Island twenty years ago, apparently doomed to a helpless existence as a victim of apartheid, he not only survived but almost single-handedly saved South Africa from potential chaos, to become one of the most widely admired leaders in the world. Sampson has known Mandela since Mandela himself checked and annotated the manuscript, but Sampson was left free to make his own judgments about the man, which he has done with refreshing candor. The result is wonderfully revealing and objective.

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Mar 01, Fraser rated it really liked it I enjoyed this book so much more than "Conversations with Myself". Obviously so much more complete, but so well written, very objectively and yet still a sense of real knowledge about the subject. I initially thought it might be a long hard slog, particularly through the early chapters, but far from it. I think the "Long Walk to Freedom" will surely have to be on my list very soon!

Fighting apartheid was one of the victories for the world. The fact that this book present the hard task that represent this freedom in South Africa, the cost of achieving it, the fear - I believe- for the change, gives us a only a glimpse. The book describes Mandela before jail, Mandela being in jail and the free man.

This last momentum under no circumstances an easy phase. It also gives us perspective that no all fights for liberation actually achieve the objective itself. And that could have been the end of South Africa. Only forgiveness, reconciliation and dialogue can drive a country to peace. The sensitive message of the book Incredibly human, very inspiring and full of varying perspectives, every person who reads this book will see Mandela with his achievements, failures, loyalties and shortcomings in a way that honors not only how Mandela influenced his nation and the world, but how his experiences in his struggle turned a naive tribal leader into a global leader who transcended politics, country and race.

I remember hearing the stories about the life of Nelson Mandela and how he had lead the fight against apartheid and spent nearly two decades in prison.

I remember my mother listening to Ladysmith Black Mambazo and watching Sarafina.


Mandela: The Authorized Biography

His many laudable personal qualities—including dignity, charm, loyalty, and a willingness to be conciliatory, combined with his inherent optimism about human nature and a shrewd and insightful intelligence—helped him to succeed in establishing democracy in South Africa. Above all, as Anthony Sampson makes clear in his outstanding new study, Mandela: The Authorized Biography, Mandela is a master politician who has understood what needed to be done and how to do it to achieve short-term objectives and long-term goals. Sampson, a noted British journalist and author of many books, including The Anatomy of Britain, met Mandela in when Sampson was editor of the black South African magazine Drum. Like others through the years, at least once Sampson underestimated his subject. In writing a book at the Treason Trial, Sampson focused on other prominent African National Congress Leaders, "but not Mandela; I thought he was too detached to be a future leader, and would be less forthcoming. Representing as it does the great majority of articulate Africans in the Union, it is almost the parliament of a nation.


Mandela: The Authorised Biography



Anthony Sampson




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