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Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

4.6 122
by Nelson Mandela

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

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


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

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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. (Dec.)
Library Journal
This is an articulate, moving account of Mandela's life from his "country childhood" following his birth on July 18, 1918 to his inauguration as president of South Africa on May 10, 1994. Mandela traces the growth of his understanding of the oppression of the blacks of South Africa; his conviction that there was no alternative to armed struggle; his developing belief that all people, black and white, must be free for true freedom; and the effect that his commitment to overthrowing apartheid had on his family, who "paid a terrible price." Over a third of Mandela's memoir tells of his 27 years in prison, an account that could stand alone as a prison narrative. He ends his book with the conclusion that his "long walk" for freedom has just begun: "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." Highly recommended for all collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/94.]-Maidel Cason, Univ. of Delaware Lib., Newark

Product Details

Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.80(d)


Meet the Author

Nelson Mandela won the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize. He was inaugurated in 1994 and became the first freely-elected President of South Africa.

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Long Walk to Freedom 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 122 reviews.
MikeMcCann More than 1 year ago
At first glance, this large autobiography may appear intimidating and, given its' content, morbid. But this read is refreshing, never boring and among the most inspiring books I have ever read. Mandela is an excellent writer and the story is one of unbending faith and courage. The struggle is his life; wow what a journey! I agree with the Boston Globe: Mandela is one of the most important figures of our time; this book should be read by everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just a reminder if you thought you struggled in your life this book will change your perception
Philip Becker More than 1 year ago
im a young sixth grader and even i throughly enjoyed this book. well done!
RolfDobelli More than 1 year ago
Reading this firsthand, contemporaneous account of Nelson Mandela's life is an extraordinary opportunity. Mandela, a South African freedom fighter and a political prisoner for 27 years, tells his own saga of how he helped his black countrymen throw off their apartheid chains, how the African National Congress waged and won its struggle, and how he became his nation's first black president. Learn all this and more, directly from the living legend who brought it to pass. getAbstract recommends this compelling autobiography, an inside view of South Africa's struggle and the revered Mandela's unique political life.
Sara_NilesJT More than 1 year ago
It was said by psychologist Abraham Maslow, that when it comes to human growth, only a special few ever reach the pinnacle of altruistic achievement that marks the best they could be, the point of being self-actualized.  Nelson Mandela was one of the special few, as his point of achievement reached legendary proportions: after spending twenty-seven years in prison on manufactured charges designed to stop him from his mission of freeing the South African people from an unjust and tyrannical Apartheid, he was set free (1990), only to almost immediately become the president of South Africa (1994). The story of Nelson Mandela’s life sounds almost magical, as though it was concocted in the mind of a fantasy author-yet, it was true. Mandela was a living legend in his time; and until only a few days ago, he was a living legend all of my life. A Long Walk to Freedom is now a chronicle of world history, and Mandela is part of the ‘ages’. In a Long Walk to Freedom (I first read it in the 1990’s), Mandela speaks of all the happenings in his life that made him the person he became, from his birth and childhood, his relationship with family members, and into his adulthood, and his eventual mission to end Apartheid and the cruelty it inflicted upon his country. Mandela spoke of what nature and nurture added to his determination, and of how his family culture added to his development as a man. Mandela recounted his education and his role as a reformer; his imprisonment and the ordeal that lasted for almost three decades, and finally, his freedom: The Long Walk to Freedom. There is no ‘poor me’ attitude, nor is there an air of superiority in his story, only the honest revelations and inner reflections, of what we now know for sure, was the mind of one of the world’s greatest leaders. Mandela, the son of a ‘kingmaker’ who himself became ‘king’, the president of South Africa, and an international icon. The writing style is polished, and full of insight and detail, making it a very enjoyable read. This book should become one of the great autobiographies of all time, along with The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin   and Malcolm X.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
nelson mandela writes his amazing journey leaving nothing unsaid. he reveals all of his lifes triumphs and setbacks. his story is like none i have ever read, it is filled with drama,action and a huge heart. long walk to freedom is one of the great autobiographies of our time.
srag More than 1 year ago
Long walk to freedom is an epic autobiography that chronicles the trials and tribulations of Nelson Mandela's life and fight against apartheid. The sacrifices and hardships of Mandela's ten thousand days of imprisonment is mixed with friendships and simple pleasures all leading to the happiness with release and victory. It is an inspiration to all on how persistence, belief in justice and hope can take us through the hardest of times and make us stronger.
mescalante More than 1 year ago
I am only on page 150, but this is one of the best books I have read. My blood boils with people's feelings of superiority.
sdb57 More than 1 year ago
This is quite a man, very interesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a high school sophomore and i read this book for my English research project. I found this book very interesting, which I find insane because I don't like to read, especially an intimidatingly big book like this one. This book is very inspiring and heartfelt. Nelson Mandela in this book really explains every little detail about himself and his tribes and culture. I love reading autobiographies because I feel like I can connect with the author way more. If you also like autobiographies then I highly recommend you read it. Although this book is very big it is also very time consuming. It took me about a month to completely finish this book. There are also many parts in this book where you may think that what you're reading is irrelevant. But there are many more parts in this book that are just fascinating. If you don't like to read I still recommend you try to read it because the content is just great.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked it interesting i give it a good 4 star
sm0818 More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. I would recommend this book to people who want to become leaders. One of my favorite passages of the book was when one of his fatherly figures told him how to be a leader. he said “A leader is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along there being directed from behind.” Any person who wants learn how to bring about a revolution should read this book. This book explains his ideology and why he did what he did. This is a great book for a high school student whether they want to be a leader or not. In every job you have to do a little leading. From a teacher to an office worker there is always somebody who needs your guidance and this book has some great tips. It’s funny and sad but also driven and a page turner. While I think you should read this book there are also some things you have to remember. You have to remember while Mandela beloved in his cause and was willing to die for it, he was a terrorist. He was the reason why some people died in South Africa. I also think you should watch the movie after reading the book because the movie was pretty good too. A Long Walk to Freedom isn’t like a normal biography, it tells a wonderful story about a man fighting (and not always winning) for what he believes. The book is never boring because it tells about a man who was in charge at one of the most exciting times in history of South Africa. I have read a lot of books, a lot of big books, and this one really made me think. This book makes you think about all the petty things you complain about not realizing what great freedom you have in America.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its been a great read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My message is that no matter the problem keep moveing on. R.I.P Nelson Mandeli
HarrietBoe More than 1 year ago
South Africa and the world for that matter was fortunate to have this great and gifted man sacrifice his life to fight and conquer the heinous evil of man's heartless greed the Apartheid system. Man's greed drives him to mistreat his weaker fellow man. The thralldom of the black man is the sin of civilization. Madiba's long walk to freedom should enlighten everyone who reads it.
RGthegeezer More than 1 year ago
A good read of a South African smoldering problem and a miscarriage of justice.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not very good about reading non-fiction, but I found this book fascinating. I knew so little about the history of South Africa and Mandela, and I learned a great deal both about him and about the country. I regret that he did not get into a little more of the historical background of the country -- there's a lot I still don't know -- but of course it's a biography, not a history, so I think he can be forgiven for that. His determination, dedication to his people, and ability to forgive and understand those who persecuted him for so long was truly remarkable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RIP you were a true hero and inspiration. Good book and movie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing story because we are talking about his story in class
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nelson Meldela was famous for the africans to do the same as every body else