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by Martin Meredith

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The acclaimed biography by the author of The Fate of Africa—now with new chapters on Mandela’s post-presidential yearsSee more details below


The acclaimed biography by the author of The Fate of Africa—now with new chapters on Mandela’s post-presidential years

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Meredith (In the Name of Apartheid) can't match the inimitable voice of Mandela's 1994 autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. But this book is a welcome complement to that work, as the author capably synthesizes a broad range of written sources and interviews, providing a more judiciousif less heartfeltportrait of Mandela's rich life. All the eventstrials, protests, prison negotiationsare here. But Meredith's broader mission allows him to provide more perspective and background on Mandela's comrades in the African National Congress (ANC). He also gives a greater glimpse of the personal Mandela; a harsh disciplinarian toward his children who has nevertheless been indulgent toward his second wife, Winnie, whose imperiousness and suspected criminal behavior he refused to criticize after his release from prison in 1990. Moreover, on the weakest area in Mandela's own book (the time since his release from prison), Meredith has the advantage. He can portray President Mandela's mix of stately wisdom, indecisiveness, indulgence toward comrades and stirring symbolic leadership. This biography may prove to be less interpretive than future ones, but Meredith rightly praises Mandela for laying the foundations for a new society in a land riven by poverty. Photos. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Meredith's (In the Name of Apartheid, 1988) excellent analysis of Mandela's life within the context of 20th-century South African history results in a skillfully drawn portrait of an intense thinker and a tough-minded political activist. Despite the segregated and racist realities in South Africa during the 1940s, Mandela, a law student and an intern, mentioned to a white colleague, "One day I'm going to be prime minister of South Africa." On May 9, 1994, after spending 27 years in jail, Mandela was elected president of the Republic of South Africa. The author draws on deep and wide-ranging research in this biography, important because Meredith illuminates the dynamics and controversy of Mandela's relationships with South Africans of different and competing political strategies. The book also provides previously unpublished direct testimonies, court statements, speeches, and interviews from Mandela, revealing an unusually sane, courageous, and sincere man. This biography, written with Mandela's cooperation, is an invaluable resource for Mandela scholars and other readers interested in South African history.Edward G. McCormack, Univ. of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Lib., Long Beach

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What People are saying about this

"[R]evealing insights, particularly into the contrast between the disciplined Mandela who emerged from prison and the impetuous figure of the late 1940's and early 1950's." --The New York Times Book Review

"It provides new perspective and insights into the man and his times....[Meredith] is particularly good in recounting the parallel rise and inevitable clash of white Afrikaner and black African nationalism in this century..." --The Washington Post

"In his spry account, Meredith carefully avoids adulation while tracing the course of Mandela's remarkable career...[He] skillfully depicts Mandela's complex relationships [and] writes vividly but unsentimentally..." --L.A. Times

"Using personal interviews and the writing of some of Mandela's closest friends and family, Meredith paints an insider's canvas of recent South African history as well as an epic tale of a freedom fighter." --San Francisco Chronicle

"Not only a moving record of a man whose courage and conviction was so splendidly vindicated by events, but an exemplary work of biography: instructive, illuminating, as well as felicitously written." --Kirkus Reviews

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