School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 7-9-- As in other ``World Leaders'' biographies, the emphasis is political history. The chronological story of black activism is South Africa is told through a narrative of events focusing on the African National Congress and its policies, from its organization in 1912 through the emergence of Nelson Mandela as its most charismatic leader in the 1950s and '60s, through to Winnie Mandela's role as spokesperson for her husband in recent years. Vail has used the wealth of previously published biographical and autobiographical material about and by the Mandelas to weave their personal stories into the political narrative and to explain how each has come to symbolize the aims and hopes of African blacks. The author is sympathetic to the anti-apartheid movement and tends to emphasize the idealistic public image and heroic role of his subjects. The complexity of the South African political scene and the role in opposing the government of white liberal groups and black factions other than the ANC are not part of his story. However, Vail succeeds in chronicling in a clear and coherent fashion, the history of the African National Congress, and the role of the Mandelas in symbolizing the movement and awakening international support for its goals of black equality. For more information on the persons and private histories of Nelson and Winnie Mandela, readers would be better served by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler's Nelson and Winnie Mandela (Watts, 1987) or Jim Haskin's Winnie Mandela (Putnam, 1988). --Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, N.J.
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