This is an interesting book on the first half of Mandela's life, leading up to his imprisonment in the early 60s. The author seeks to strip away much of the mythology that has surrounded Mandela's life and present him as he was then; young, inexperienced, a bit of a dandy and a womaniser, but with clear signs of the talent,charisma and moral character that would mold him into the world statesman he would later become. With many of the participants now dead or in extreme old age with failing memories and given the secretive nature of an opposition figure in 1950s and 1960s South Africa there are many gaps in Mandela's early life and activities. The author wisely steers a middle course through the differing versions of whether Mandela was present at such and such a meeting etc and manages to produce an interesting account of the embroyonic and unsuccessful struggle against apartheid. Unfortunately this struggle was made harder by the naivety and incompetance of some figures in the opposition movement. You can feel the author's anger at Arthur Goldreich and Ruth First, two white activists in the oppostion movement, for failing to remove and destroy Mandela's papers after his arrest-thereby presenting the authorities with the evidence to put Mandela behind bars for life. It is intriging to speculate what the future of the anti apartheid movement would have been if these papers had been destroyed and Mandela only sentenced to five years imprisonment (for illegally leaving the country).On a personal note I lived in Johannesburg in the mid 80s and have discovered, through this book, that my office in the CBD was only a hundred metres from Mandela's old law office. I walked past his office every day but unfortunately never realised it as Mandela's story had been well and truely buried by the apartheld authorities.