71 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential read
This book has over 800 pages and even its own index, but don't let that scare you off. It is far from being a boring historical report on the events surrounding his life. If you want to know what he did, go to an encyclopedia and read such a historical report. If you want to know Nelson Mandela, to know his way of thinking, to feel every emotion as he feels it, to really...
Published on 3 Jun. 2007 by somevietnameseguy
36 of 43 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Will the real Nelson Mandela step forward
This book is awesome in its coverage of such a historical event. It is an important read and everybody needs to understand the horror of the regime and the humility of the man. It reads as a clear diary stepping you along his long path helping you understand the changing picture and direction. Unfortunately it is the fact that it reads as an outline of events that is...
Published on 12 Jun. 1999
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No ordinary man.,
Looking at the book I was daunted by its size. But once I started reading I couldn't stop. It’s a fascinating tale and what’s more – it’s real.
Mandela takes us through the development of his political views, who he was influenced by and why he became so passionate about his cause. He explains how he and his colleagues came to be in the positions they were in, the personal sacrifices they made, and how they coped with seemingly unbearable circumstances forced upon them.
He is an example to everyone, as a man who, like many other South Africans, fought endlessly for his cause every day of his life. And yet he writes without bitterness for his enemies and with sincerity. His story is told with excitement and is highly readable, and the end result is the current day South Africa – a country far from perfect but for once with a true democracy and a hope of moving forward.
An excellent and insightful introduction for those interested in South African politics, or simply a fascinating and inspiring read for anyone.
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Natural Story-Teller,
By A Customer
Mandela combines the gift of a natural story-teller with a lawyer's skill in presenting his tale, and from the evocative pictures drawn of his childhood in a rural tribal settlement to the impulsive adventures of youth in Johannesburg, there is an unerring sense of destiny. The image of the run-away youngster gives a telling hint of the spirited courage Mandela would need later when he took on the mantle of political pioneer in a national cause.
The sense of destiny is also there in the long years of imprisonment when Mandela's patience and tolerance are fully tested by the cruelties of long-term confinement. His accounts of rare visits from family and friends, equally rare letters, read and re-read, plus living with memories and photographs of people and places last seen up to two decades before, all have an authentic and poignant ring. Far from being dull or monotonous, the account of the years in prison is absorbing, as Mandela has a gift for bringing alive some colourful anecdotes.
Mandela manages to smooth over some events such as the circumstances of his arrest, his deteriorating relations with Winnie, and whose idea it really was to open negotiations with de Klerk, since I remain unconvinced he could have really been operating outside of previously agreed ANC criteria. However quite enough information is provided to make a full story, and nothing can detract from Mandela's towering achievement in delivering a fledgling democracy without an accompanying and much-feared bloodbath.
The many references Mandela makes to being a "freedom fighter," and his backing for the use of arms in the struggle against apartheid, could read uncomfortably in the light of more recent global terrorism concerns, and it is clear that only someone with his natural integrity could have harnessed those energies to such a constructive outcome.
Heroism, adventure, the fulfilment of destiny following a long period of adversity, plus a measure of the politician's polish in smoothing over the awkward passages, all combine to make Mandela's autobiography a great read. His fluent use of the English language alone makes the book worthwhile , and having finished it I found myself missing the companionable authority of the author's tone. The book as whole helped me to glimpse the workings of the mind of a great statesman at some key historic moments. Highly recommended.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fight for Justice,
In this epic tale of courage, strength and sacrifice, Nelson Mandela a potential counsellor to the Thembu tribal chief by birthright, became a voice for all the people of South Africa in a fight for the right to be free.
This journey takes you through the long, winding road of a fight for justice involving details of immense sacrifice and commitment to the path of justice from not just one man but a whole community.
The most inspiring tale I have ever read it demonstrates how injustice can be beaten and how you can make a difference no matter how small or large the contribution or sacrifice made. That each sacrifice made no matter how small or insignificant does contribute to the overall fight and does count.
The message of love, forgiveness, patience, humility and reconciliation is one which is fundamental to the survival of humanity as a whole it is a wonderful inspiration and if it were my decision I would ensure this book were on the reading lists of every secondary school as it contains so many life changing lessons which generations of people can benefit from.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book makes you THINK!,
By A Customer
This was an enthralling read, not just because of the importance of the subject matter, but also because this book makes you THINK.
It absorbs you into the simple, but rich, life of his early youth, grips you with the brutality and hardship of the struggle, and then enriches you with the hope that comes with freedom after such diversity. It is written with the humility of a man who gave up his personal life for the struggle of the masses and never sought personal recognition. It is written with humour, even when describing unimaginable cruelty. And it is written by probably the most prophetic and humble being of our times, Mr. Nelson Mandela.
This book has made me reassess my priorities. It has made me appreciate life more, to question the accepted norm, and to return to a more simple way of being. This may sound a little theatrical, but I am certain that anyone who has read this book and followed the life of this great man cannot but be affected.
I cannot criticise this book. Of course I would have like a little more on his personal relationships with his wives and children, but, as he says in the book, he is uncomfortable with discussing such intimate topics, and I think one has to respect that.
Humility, selflessness, tolerance, wisdom, and a yearning for life ... those are the keywords of this valuable reference.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating insight into this extraordinary man's life.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Long Walk To Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela (Hardcover)
Having read this book recently while on holiday in South Africa it put in to context what we have previously heard through the media about the struggle for equality in that wonderful country. Mandela explains very clearly and in a very readable way about his childhood and background and how he came to hold the views which ultimately led to him becoming the first black President (and it is not considered an insult to use the term black) It is a fascinating insight into how the situation developed and has left me with a greater understanding of the people and what actually happened over the years.Throughout the book Mandela comes across as a very humble yet determined individual who simply had the interests of his people at heart. Some autobiographies can become tedious with unnecessary detail but this has a real story line and you just want to keep turning the pages! A must read!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite simply the best book I have ever read.,
This is the best book I have ever read and I cannot believe I will read a better one.
Picking this book up I knew very, very little of Nelson Mandela and knew even less about the struggles in South Africa. I'm not really sure why I bought the book to be honest, when it turned up and I saw how thick it was I honestly thought to myself I'd never read it. It gathered dust for a good six months before one day I was so bored I picked it up and started to read.
The first chapters about his family and his upbringing don't exactly rattle along but they are interesting enough to keep going and gradually you start to realise that you are reading about an extraordinary man and he hadn't even done much in these early years. He didn't seem to accept the easy path in anything he did even as a youngster. As someone who always takes the path of least resistance and looks out for myself first, I was feeling partly ashamed of myself, partly inspired and completely intrigued.
As the book moved on I honestly couldn't put it down. The story is incredible. How the government treated him and those who he represented was simply incredible. Gradually you see a shift in him as he becomes more heavily involved in politics and the struggle and then militancy. I've always thought there was no place for 'terrorism' / militancy in society but after this book I'd like to think I'd have joined Mandela in his struggle (most likely Id have kept my mouth shut and let him fight my battles for me) but the point is I understood how he came to use violence.
His subsequent imprisonment is just as fascinating. I often thought that it would be boring, day 1 smashed a rock, day 2 smashed a bit more, but honestly, believe me when I say it's incredible. How he kept on for so long is testament to a man I couldn't even begin to emulate. He is inspiring and the story is uplifting. I have never put a book down and wanted to change my life so much. If there were more men like Nelson Mandela I can't help but think the world would be a great place.
Buy the book, read it, re-read it and keep a spare copy at hand at all times. Even if you don't end up being as inspired by the story as me I guarantee you will love the book anyway. Brilliant.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful,
I've always had a great admiration for Nelson Mandela, but have only known the very basics about his life and political career. Whenever I saw him on TV I was always captivated by the man who had ruled a nation, yet seemed so grounded and modest that I could only respect him. I have to admit that up to the point of reading this book I was totally ignorant to the extremities of apartheid in South Africa for which Mr. Mandela had given his entire life to beating. I have now read these wonderful memoirs in their entirety and must say my admiration and respect for the man has increased to a level I genuinely cannot describe. Having an interest in history, this was undoubtedly a book that I had to read at some point, but up until this point I had, in my mind, placed the struggle against apartheid along the same lines as the civil rights movement in the United States; but I have now come to realise that, although there are similarities, there are a lot more differences.
One of the most glaring differences between the two, which Mr. Mandela touched upon in his memoirs, was that in the United States the black population were guaranteed equal rights through their constitution but simply had these taken away from them by the racist political elites, whereas in South Africa, there was legislation and laws forbidding equality to the black majority of the country and this helps distinguish very clearly the route Mr. Mandela had to take in beating apartheid. I'm not going to say much about the story itself as it's one to be read and enjoyed first hand, but I will give my impressions on Mr. Mandela which were gained purely from reading his memoirs. I gained the impression that he has always been aware he's not perfect, nor is he one that thinks he's always right. He is a man that shows respect to every person he meets, but he won't shy away from an argument or a battle when he is attacked either verbally or physically. He's a man of reflection and integrity; he will look back on a past decision and say honestly whether it was the right or wrong call of the time. He's a man who has a lot of love and respect for all of his family, political friends and his country. He has given all of his life in the pursuit of freedom for his country, and he deserves out respect for that.
He has a remarkable story to tell and it would be a shame if anyone who read this review or at some point had seen this book whilst browsing and skipped past it without even considering what they could learn. I've now an enormous appreciation for the fight which Mr. Mandela put up against the immense oppression of the South African government; and perhaps it has a greater message to send. The message we can all take from this is that, no matter how big the government or how powerful the oppression, the strength of human will and desire can truly overcome any obstacle thrown at it. Mr. Mandela also expresses a very strong message about there being goodness in all of us, no matter how much we try to hide it. He shows compassion towards those who were once his enemies as he realises that they are all good people at heart, and it is him and those like him that must teach those in the world whose job it is to hate, exactly how much better it is to love your enemy.
Beautiful life story of a beautiful man. You must own this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Long Book To Read,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Long Walk To Freedom is a long book to read; all 751 pages of it.
There are those who speed read, those who read moderately quickly and
again, there are those who take time to ponder on what is written in
order to absorb the content. I fall into the latter category and thus
take a long time to read a book. This book, however, is written in such
a way that it captivated me from the start. Mister Mandela writes about
his humble beginning and describes the customs of his people. He relates
how he himself was circumcised in the traditional way.
He rapidly moves through time explaining how he studied to become a lawyer
and found himself practising in the city of Johannesburg. On one occasion
he defended a man on trial for witchcraft. The man was subsequently acquitted
but Mister Mandela explains, "I suspect that the local people attributed
this not to my skill as a lawyer, but to the power of the medicine man's
herbs."[Page 175. The Long Walk To Freedom.]
The Long Walk To Freedom is well signposted throughout. The end of each
chapter points the direction to the next and thus lures the reader on to its
climax. Of particular interest are the 39 chapters dedicated to Nelson
Mandela's imprisonment on Robben Island. The pages are packed with a mixture
of topics promoting much interest, some laughter and sometimes tears from the
The end of the 'Walk' finds Nelson Mandela, in true lawyer-like stance,
summing-up the evidence. He recounts the feelings that he derived from his
part in the liberation of the African people in the apartheid Republic of South
Africa. My summation is that this book shall become an important historical
document for future students studying this period of world history. P.S.F.29/05/2010.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars INSPIRATIONAL!,
I have to say that prior to reading this book I was rather ignorant of the whole South Africa situation, so on a purely historical point of view this is highly readable.
As a piece of literature this is superb - uplifting, inspirational, interesting, well written. Sometimes when you read a book you find it hard to put down - this is one of the them.
BUY IT - SUPERB.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this book!,
By A Customer
Everyone thinks they know who "Nelson Mandela" is. Yet reading this book showed me just how much more there is to this amazing personality - truly one of the key persons of the twentieth century. In particular his early life and his accounts of the early days of the freedom movement are rare insights into a life that was involved with the struggle for much longer than most of us ever thought. Everyone should read this book!
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Long Walk To Freedom by Nelson Mandela (Audio CD - 7 Sept. 2004)