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66 of 66 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

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35 of 42 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., 6 Jan 2004
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.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Natural Story-Teller, 6 Mar 2005
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.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fight for Justice, 17 Sep 2002
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.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book makes you THINK!, 13 May 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Long Walk to Freedom (Hardcover)
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating insight into this extraordinary man's life., 13 Feb 2000
By A Customer
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!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars INSPIRATIONAL!, 3 Aug 2001
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.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this book!, 13 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Long Walk to Freedom (Hardcover)
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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for every South African, 2 Feb 2004
Being a white South African male living in London and having lived through the toughest times in South African history mostly as a young boy and a national serviceman in 1992 makes reading this book essential to tieing all the lose ends of ones beliefs about the country together.
I remember the speeches 'Die Groot Krokodil' made and the massive bannings and the township violence and the struggles in Angola and Mozambique. I remember the propoganda of the government of the day. I remember the voting in the 1992 referendum and voting in the 1994 first democratic elections. I remember Madiba's release and his inauguaration as president of the GNU.
Every South African has a special place inside them for Madiba and remembers his calming influence in our countries time of turmoil. This book is cover to cover a gripping read, one that I couldn't put down until finally completed. He describes his life, his beliefs, his passion and in all this you see his humour, his strength, his beliefs. These never got left behind through the struggle. His compassion and understanding shine through and are a clear example to the world leaders today.
Having grown up in SA, studied in SA and visited Robben Island makes all the happenings in the book that much more special and closer to the heart. This book is truely inspiring and has built a strong sense of belief and love for our country while we are away.
I don't think I will find a more beautiful book (non-fiction or fiction) in a long long time.
It all makes sense now.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly readable, 5 Dec 2001
By A Customer
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A very well-written book, which is astonishing in its humility and lack of self-promotion. Mr. Mandela provides an insight into his struggle which is highly readable even to those such as myself who know little about the history or context. A superb read that I found very difficult to put down once started.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing read; beyond description, 3 May 2000
By A Customer
We know that Nelson Mandela is a great man, this book throws new light on his greatness; an outstanding mind; a true politician and a great statesman. I was particularly taken by the last two chapters "Talking with the enemy" and "Freedom". How does a man who has suffered so much under apartheid work with the caretakers of such a regime to bring true democracy to his people - this book tells you how and more............
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