The Washington Post
Mandela: A Critical Lifeby Tom Lodge
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Nelson Mandela, the first African politician to acquire a world following, remains in the 21st century an iconic figure. But what are the sources of his almost mythic appeal? And to what extent did Mandela self-consciously create the status of political hero that he now enjoys? This new and highly revealing biography examines these questions in detail for the first time. Drawing on a range of original sources, it presents a host of fresh insights about the shaping of Mandela's personality and public persona, from his childhood days and early activism, through his long years of imprisonment, to his presidency of the new South Africa. Throughout, Lodge emphasizes the crucial interplay between Mandela's public career and his personal or private world, showing how his heroic status was a product both of his leading position within the anti-apartheid movement and his own deliberate efforts to supply a form of quasi-messianic leadership for that movement. And as Lodge shows, Mandela's huge international appeal is a compelling and unusual cocktail. Of the sacred and the secular. Of traditional African values and global media savvy. And of human vulnerablilty, interwoven with the grand narrrative of liberation.
The Washington Post
"Unquestionably the most analytically incisive and discerning of the Nelson Mandela biographies."Bill Nasson, University of Cape Town
"Illuminating.... An important contribution.... Vivid descriptions of the daily horrors of apartheid and the men and women around Mandela, such as his ex-wife Winnie and the troubled F.W. de Klerk, reveal the complicated world that Mandela ultimately and triumphantly managed to change."Publishers Weekly
"Authoritative and fair-minded...deserves to be read widely." Adam Roberts, The Economist
"Mandela may raise a few eyebrows for its human portrayal and occasional gentle criticism of a man whom many regard as a secular saint.... Lodge reminds us that this moral giant is also human."Washington Post
Meet the Author
Tom Lodge was a member of the Department of Political Studies at the University of Witwatersrand between 1978 and 2005. He is now Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Limerick University in Ireland. He has also worked in the United States as Director of the Africa Program at the Social Science Research Council. He is the author of five other books on South African politics, including an authoritative history text on the post-Second World War history of black resistance.
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