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Saving Nelson Mandela: The Rivonia Trial and the Fate of South Africa (Pivotal Moments in World History) 1st Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199740222
ISBN-10: 0199740224
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"An astonishing tale of the defendants' personal courage...Tactics, skill, strategy, diplomacy and legal maneuver pervade Saving Nelson Mandela. Still, bold, breathtaking human bravery swamps all. I'm guessing Professor Broun wouldn't have it any other way. --Charlotte News and Observer


"A taut, intelligent analysis of a dramatic turning point in South African and, indeed, world history." -- Kirkus Reviews


"Kenneth Broun does justice indeed to one of the most celebrated political trials of the 20th century...the result is not only a gripping story but a work of profound scholarship, sensitivity, and empathy." --Mark Gevisser, author of A Legacy of Liberation


"Part history, part sociology, part engrossing legal drama, this important book recounts a seminal moment in South Africa's history." --Penelope Andrews, City University of New York School of Law


About the Author


Kenneth S. Broun is the Henry Brandis Professor of Law Emeritus at the University of North Carolina Law School. Since 1986, he has traveled regularly to South Africa to conduct programs in trial advocacy training through the Black Lawyers Association of South Africa.
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Product Details

  • Series: Pivotal Moments in World History
  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (February 9, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199740224
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199740222
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1 x 6.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #688,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Thomas Wolf on March 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In SAVING NELSON MANDELA, Ken Broun has created a memorable and readable account of the 1963-64 trial of Nelson Mandela in South Africa. Broun explores the legal and historical significance of the courtroom drama, explaining its importance not just for South Africa, but also for the world.

Mandela is, of course, the most famous historical figure in the book, but Broun skillfully captures the personalities of the other defendants, the trial attorneys, and the trial judge. In fact, the interplay of these personalities--with their own backstories and agendas--forms one of the most fascinating subplots in the book.

The centerpiece of the trial occurred when Mandela took the stand to make a five-hour speech--a kind of statement to the world as well as to the court--about his role in African National Congress and in the alleged plots against the apartheid government. The drama of this chapter is partly due to the power of Mandela--as a political figure and spokesperson for a cause--and partly due to the fact that the statement itself would likely determine the fates of the accused. Because the defendants were facing the death penalty, Mandela's decision to speak, and the content of his speech, are riveting narrative.

As a distinguished law professor who understands trial advocacy, Broun is able to relate the legal aspects from a lawyer's perspective. The description of the trial proceedings is rendered thoughtfully and is accessible to lay persons as well as lawyers. Perhaps more importantly, Broun's understanding of the history of South Africa, and his extensive personal research into the proceedings, are the elements that make the book come alive.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved reading this book on my flight from Sydney to Johannesburg, my first visit to South Africa. It is an incredibly detailed study of the Rivonia trial of 1963, covering it from a variety of angles - those being tried, their supporters and opponents, the legal teams, the court proceedings, the judge, and beyond that South African politics and struggles in the Apartheid era. It helped me understand both Apartheid and the struggle against it, nationally and internationally. It showed both the power of international support for oppressed peoples, and the difficult choices facing those living under authoritarian and brutal regimes. When I arrived in South Africa, I felt I knew the names of key figures in its recent history and in its present, and indeed one of the key lawyers for Mandela and his fellow members of the
ANC died while I was there. I realised this is indeed a key event in South African history and modern South African political identity.

So, if you want to understand present South Africa, or South African history, or the workings of the law more generally, read this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I wanted to find out more about the Liliesleaf Trial.

This book answered all my questions. It was informative without being boring.

An excellent read and anyone interested in South African history will not be disappointed.
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Format: Hardcover
I derived great pleasure from reading this elegant and thoughtful dissection of the South African trial of Nelson Mandela and his co-defendants in 1963-1964 and of the many surrounding events.

Much of the substance was, of course, public information (from a long time ago) but the author, a respected law school professor, added to it marvelously with privately obtained (and carefully footnoted) details knitted and spliced throughout. He put the long forgotten publicly known events into a memorable and lively context. It is a lawyer's book most of all, because it tells the story of a few of us who committed their time, energies, legal training and proficient skills in accomplishing "something," which in retrospect was utterly "awesome" for their nation and for the entire world.

But, it is far more than a lawyer's book as well. The people on all sides who took part in this epic courtroom drama come alive in the pages, together with their personal pangs and the historical and sociological significance of the occurrences. Those of us old enough to recall the events will do so in renewed appreciation of what happened: Mandela's life was saved from the executioner by judicial decision. Younger readers will understand this to be an important recounting of President Mandela's final confrontation with the anti-democratic apartheid regime in South Africa, while enjoying it as much as they might if reading any exceptionally well written true-life mystery.

President mandela's later accomplishments, his gentle forgiving manner, and his capacity to forge the creation of a truly color-blind democracy are mysteries of a sort. This book provides a microscopically careful glimpse into the behind the scenes playbooks.
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