It is a beautiful book that paints a portrait of a man that had to endure many struggles during a time that most folks would have died. I had the opportunity to flip through the book. I learned about Mandela journey and his amazing struggles…I was just a child and can’t recall anyone having a conversation over Thanksgiving dinner about Mr. Mandela. I was absolutely amazed about what I learned. Just recently a writer wrote a book How the other David Smith rewrote the Nelson Mandela story and Nelson Mandela ‘felt betrayed by Tony Blair over decision to join Iraq invasion’. I prefer to reflect on the story of the president, Nelson Mandela based on the portrait in his authorized biography.
*Starred Review* With beautifully reproduced photographs on every double-page spread, this huge, very handsome biography is both for those who know Mandela only as a distant icon and for those familiar with his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom (1994), and with the history of South Africa’s struggle for democracy. More than 60 world figures (including Clinton, Annan, and Bono) and antiapartheid activists (including Tutu and Kathrada) pay tribute and remember the great freedom fighter. They pair Mandela with Gandhi: in the words of Nadine Gordimer, “the two indisputably magnificent great people of the last millenium . . . unique in their incredible moral and humanistic stand.” Most moving are the accounts by Mandela’s fellow prisoners on Robben Island, the photos of them breaking stones in the limestone quarry, the brutal street confrontations between police and demonstrators. The facsimiles of documents in Mandela’s handwriting, with his corrections, include the famous speech at his trial and the letter read by his daughter to the world, in which he refused the government’s offer of conditional release. With all the praise, there are close-up accounts of sorrow and anger, including his breakup with his second wife, Winnie, his guilt about the suffering of his children, his activism on the prevention of AIDS. There’s laughter, too, especially about his fashion sense. No one will read all the tributes, but the famous names and incredible photos will grab browsers, who will go on to read the stirring history by those who were there. Hazel Rochman
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