Customer Reviews: Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
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on June 16, 1999
I spent the whole of last weekend reading 'Long Walk to freedom'. For two days I didnot leave the world Nelson had trapped me in. As I finished the book and took a walk outside, I stopped seeing people as Hausas or Yorubas, Northerners or Southerners(ethnic groups in Nigeria). All I saw were brothers who could bury the hatchets of ethnicity and forge a country of love and peace. Before I read the book I saw Mandela as a super human with no flaws at all. In the book he painted himself in true colours; accepting his flaws and proclaiming his successes. He is afterall human. I have always believed that life is worth nothing if one can not stand up for what one believes in. I have always advocated to the Marcus Garvey/ Malcolm X forms of freedom fighting. I always thought that peaceful protests were for the spineless. Why would I like Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., watch while the enemy unleashes violence on my people? Nelson in the book took me through the intricacies of peaceful civil disturbance and I have come to realise that this form of protest is even more demanding than sheer brute force. 'Long walk...' is a must-read for any one who still has humanity in his being... If you want to share more on 'Long Walk to Freedom' or the struggle of African progressives against oppresive governments, you can reach me at
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on December 22, 2011
I have been wanting to read this book so finally ordered it. Imagine how surprised I was to open the book to the title page and it states: Abridgment and Connecting Notes by Richard W. Kelso! However, Amazon's web page never mentions this is an abridged version of the book. I am returning this copy to get the unabridged version of the book published by Little, Brown & Company in 1994.
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on January 16, 2007
Despite due respect for a great leader, I did not really expect to like this autobiography very much. Mandela is no great speaker, his TV presence is rather flat, his English apparently not masterful. The life story in summary does not seem to have that much interest either, considering the long jail time and the fact that most of the "hot action" of the anti-apartheid movement happened while he was on Robben Island.
All wrong. The writing is surprisingly fluent, the story telling surprisingly efficient and free of waste as well as redundancies. Also free of sentimentality and exaggerated pathos.
If there is anything that I wished to be more detailed it is the period of his childhood and youth. This period is described in a rather remote way and with a sometimes irritating lack of explanation or reflection. I realized that may have happened due to the conditions under which the book was written: in jail. Also I could imagine that editors suggested some shortening: after all the book is still quite hefty.
If there is one negative comment that I have to make, it refers to NM's insistence that all trouble between black groups, such as the Inkatha violence problems, or tribal conflicts, have been caused by the perfidy of the whites. As much as I can understand the psychology behind this wishful thinking, I do not think it is a realistic approach.
Despite this comment and despite the book's size, it is never boring. Highly recommendable.
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on December 20, 1999
Please allow yourself a moment to Think before you turn the first page of this manuscript: Think about your name; Think about your family; Think about the warmth of sunlight on your skin; Think about the gift you have to think; Think about things you love and tastes you cherish most; Think about someone you would never wish to live without;and then Think for just a moment, about the cause for which you'd be willing to sacrifice all of the above and so much more for a period of indescribable sufference of spirit-breaking duress. Such strength of mind is perhaps too rare for most of us to even contemplate, however welcome now to the mind that could.
This manuscript is one of the most important pieces of literature ever laid to ink - cherish it and use it to make your own world a little wiser.
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on June 1, 2003
I was required to read Long Walk to Freedom for a class in school. I had heard from students who were previously required to read the book that it was too long, and very bad. I did not go into this book with high expectations, which made Long Walk to Freedom a pleasant surprise.
Written by Nelson Mandela over the course of several years, beginning with a first draft written in prison (which was lost to authorities), the book covers each stage of Nelson's life. Beginning with his early childhood in an African tribe, through his education and career as one of the first black lawyers of Africa, and eventually his decision to join the famed political party, the African National Congress, where Nelson began his struggle for equal rights for his people. From there Nelson goes on to describe his life fighting for the freedom of the native people of Africa. Harassed and `banned' by the authorities for his actions, Mr. Mandela's struggle is not an easy one. He would be put on trial three separate times for crimes stemming from his political views, his third trial landing him a life sentence. But with Nelson's natural resiliency in bad situations, and nations all over the world calling for his release, he did not fear spending the rest of his life in prison. His years spent in prison would be long and hard, but he knew upon his release that the long walk to freedom would near an end.
The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela is written well, and its length is not of issue, especially when taking into account how expansive the story of his life really is. The pacing of the story is actually very well done, years are written away in a few pages without anything seeming to be missed. In my opinion, even if this book had the worst writing of any novel, it would still be worth reading; its story holds so much importance and teaches so much about so many aspects of life, that it would lose nothing.
Long Walk to Freedom leaves one feeling refreshed; if the racist policies of the government of an entire nation can be taken down by a group of common citizens, perhaps there is hope for reform in any nation that is going through a period of strife.
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on October 4, 2013
It was a pleasure and honor to have read this book. "Long walk to freedom" chronicles the life of Nelson Mandela told in his words about the journey from a small village boy, to a freedom fighter, fighting for the equality and liberty of the oppressed South African majority under apartheid. From spending nearly 3 decades behind bars to the first Black South African president.

Told in that sequence, as a reader, you will learn much about the former leader. From what sparked Mandela's interest in politics to the formation of his political fighting organization. Readers will learn the commitment by Mandela to fight against apartheid, the long years and decades of struggle, and the setbacks all culminating in the ultimate triumph against oppression.

But,the book tells more about Mandela other than fighting for the civil right of the millions, we learn about many of his personal roles as a father, son, friend, colleague, husband, and advocate.

"Long walk to freedom" is a definite read by anyone interested in learning how to make a difference in the world.
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on May 29, 2003
Long Walk to Freedom is an experience to be remembered. Although the book is an autobiography, the details are exquisite. It is apparent that Mandela wrote this book not to boast over a life of fame or fortune, but to guide us through a lifetime struggle filled of humiliation and pride, success and defeat. Throughout Mandela's journey, we learn insight into Mandela's thoughts, and the long walk he took to overcome the odds. Although his struggle was not easy, Mandela never quit, and for that he is a man to be commended by millions. Perhaps, Mandela wrote this book to teach us all a lesson in the true merit of human heart, "No one is born hating another person because of the color of their skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite." (622) Though the book is long, and at times tedious, it is filled with a variety of storylines that keeps the reader intrigued. Between the fight to keep his family alive and well, Mandela also battles the South African government, other political organizations, oppressors of freedom, and the South African court of law. In doing this, Mandela shows how a man's life is not only a complex event, but also a road with many paths. He also shows us how one man's paths can cross and change the course of history, and the oppression of a nation. This book is bound to keep readers captivated, as it involves more than one element of Mandela's life. No matter your name, your age, or the color of your skin, Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela is a book that will guide you through a struggle that we all are fighting for; the struggle against discrimination.
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on January 28, 2014
Buyers interested in Nelson Mandela’s autobiography must beware. There was many abridged editions of Mandela’s autobiography. It seems that most readily available issues of his autobiography are in paperback. The only other hardcover edition is intended for student classes. Other editions have not only been abridged, but divided into two parts.

This edition is a reprint of the original edition which was published in 1994. Mandela’s autobiography is presented in all its direct and straightforward glory. It is presented with twelve pages of rare photographs of Mandela throughout his life, beginning from his early days as a boxer, to his release from prison, to his negotiations with de Klerk to end Apartheid in South Africa.

This is the preferred edition. A bit pricy, but worth it and a great read.
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on July 3, 2013
I was so disappointed to receive this book and find out that this is an abridged version. I have never needed to return anything to Amazon before, so I don't even know if it's possible, but I will be looking into it. That is the kind of information that should be included in the product description.
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on December 14, 2006
The sheer bulk and length of Nelson Mandela's magnum opus seemed daunting, and I left it on the shelf for a long time. But once I started, the author's enthusiam and optimism -- in the face of some of the most virulent and entrenched racism and oppression faced by human beings -- made it a delight to read.

Mandela takes us from his childgood in the Transkei region of South Africa, through his school years, his coming of age as a lawyer and politician, through his treason trials and imprisonment on Robben Island and final vindicatory release. Along the way, he provides fascinating and often funny vignettes of his perceptions, his maturation and even his mistakes. Mandela is not out to write hagiography here, but subtly and honestly describes his struggles and failures as a man, and those of the ANC (African National Congress), with which he was associated for many years. He even writes about his own struggles (personal and pragmatic) with treating people differently based on skin pigmentation. Mandela's deep desire to maintin his dignity in the face of apartheid's ludicrous tyranny are memorable and uplifting. Those who see him as a terrorist need only ponder his decades of working within the system, attempting to follow the non-violent lead of Mohandas Ghanhi -- only to be subject to repeated attempts by the government -- via bannings, silencings and forced relocations -- to disempower him and his people. Reading the book will make the reader appreciate that using violence was a measure of last resort against a conscienceless foe.

"Long Walk to Freedom" is a must-read to those who wish to know Nelson Mandela better, who love South Africa or who simply cherish freedom and the dignity of all human beings.
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