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Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela Paperback – Unabridged, October 1, 1995
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The famously taciturn South African president reveals much of himself in Long Walk to Freedom. A good deal of this autobiography was written secretly while Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years on Robben Island by South Africa's apartheid regime. Among the book's interesting revelations is Mandela's ambivalence toward his lifetime of devotion to public works. It cost him two marriages and kept him distant from a family life he might otherwise have cherished. Long Walk to Freedom also discloses a strong and generous spirit that refused to be broken under the most trying circumstances--a spirit in which just about everybody can find something to admire.
From Publishers Weekly
Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and the first democratically elected president of South Africa, Mandela began his autobiography during the course of his 27 years in prison.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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is best seen in his capacity to avoid falling into the racist and excluding forms of freedom. He knows that even family ties, working relationships and even freidnship cannot be forged in slavery. Self- care here is carried to its utmost meaning! Self is finally not the individual but only that which is common to all individuals: SELF is the political assertion of " we are equal in that we are different" to put it in Hannah Arendt's words. Mandela treads the question " Freedom to what end" freedom is not an end in itself. it is a means by which a people can live according to their desire. But he knows you must begin by achieving it. What a bountiful lesson of life. What a grand affirmation of the fact that human beings even in the most dire of circumstances can give origin to the most unimagined feats. Mandela redefines the concept of humanity and practices 'love' in an unprecedented manner.
It makes one wish they had known and at the same time makes one feel as if they had.
Many parts of this memoir will leave you less than comfortable. I was as uncomfortable with Mandala's alliance with communist interests (and his consistent use of "comrade") as I was with the US's and UK's lack of robust support for the fight against the apartheid regime. But I would say that Mandela's forthright point of view helps the reader grasp what continues to be a nuanced global struggle for freedom.
I was particularly struck by his with his insistence on fairness. Often, one reads of a friend or acquaintance without any mention of the person’s skin color. Most of the time I picked that up through the name or context, but occasionally I read for several chapters before discovering that a trusted person was white. Every person is treated as an individual, to be respected or judged for personal qualities, regardless of political choices. If a policeman is kind and fair, Mandela acknowledges it, and refuses to take advantage of his trust. If a freedom fighter is unethical or after personal glory, Mandela is straight-forward on his disapproval. He respects judges who enforce the law, even it defies a judge’s own political beliefs.
This book should be read slowly, over several months, in order to absorb a multitude of facts, and the growth of the man who wrote it. It’s laced with humor, love, judgment, and the inexorable evolution of Nelson Mandela’s soul.