Mandela: The Authorized Biography

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More of a character study would have been appropriate. HarperCollins publishes an interview with the writer in which this is debated further. Perhaps the best recommendation for aspiring leaders is to spend 27 years in jail. Part two's opening chapter 'Master of my Fate' lists the undeniable benefits: [ In the microcosm of prison, detached from political temptations - stages, megaphones, newspapers, crowds, business suits - and restricted to contact with his colleagues only, he could, as he himself described, learn and see his person as others did [ Oct 19, Scott rated it it was amazing.

Just pages in, but the content is informative, the writing flows well and what a great and complicated and conflicted and amazing human being this guy is. Good to read about the nuances that we didn't get in the news. My comment on why I read Orwell has progressed.

Mandela by Anthony Sampson: | Books

I think reading about people's lives reminds us that it is very difficult to categorize or judge anyone, ever, when their intentions are ultimately good, even when misguided. Reading about the lives of great and famous allows me - Just pages in, but the content is informative, the writing flows well and what a great and complicated and conflicted and amazing human being this guy is. Reading about the lives of great and famous allows me -an ordinary and average man- to forgive myself for the mistakes I have made and helps build the courage to take the chances and risks in life that lead to potentially good things.

Need to work that out some more This guy didn't become President until the same age Reagan was when he left office wasn't he like, ?

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Certainly 30 years in prison is no cakewalk, but to me it sounded as if his election was only the beginning of his most difficult time in life. And he shined like the wise old bird that he is. Happy belated birthday, Madiba. This brick of a biography provides a very comprehensive account of the political career of Nelson Mandela, his involvement in the ANC, and the anti-apartheid movement.

Anthony Sampson is stronger cataloguing the earlier part of Mandela's career, when I believe he had more first-hand knowledge of events; I got the sense he was eliding quite a bit in his look at Mandela's political career and personal life after his release from prison. Painful passages in Mandela's life are mentioned but not real This brick of a biography provides a very comprehensive account of the political career of Nelson Mandela, his involvement in the ANC, and the anti-apartheid movement.

Painful passages in Mandela's life are mentioned but not really assessed in depth. I'm also still not sure I got much of a sense of Mandela as a person, as opposed to Mandela the politician, though I can't quite decide if that was a function of Sampson as biographer or of Mandela's own tendency towards reserve. Still, for all that Sampson was a friend of Mandela and this is an authorised work, this isn't quite a hagiography, and is a very readable account of a fascinating life.

Dec 19, Kt rated it it was ok Shelves: book-club. Dec 24, Tina Alston rated it it was amazing. This story has an epic sense of the Hero's Life while capturing what makes him so human. He has "grown up in Public" No matter how the authorities tried to squash his voice, we are privy to so much of his own writings and his amazing evolution during the monastic like time in prison--over two decades. The reactions of monarchs, other heads of state as well as his enemies reveals the proud and wise regal demeanor of this man.

This biography goes well with a collection of his own writings and sayi This story has an epic sense of the Hero's Life while capturing what makes him so human.

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This biography goes well with a collection of his own writings and sayings: Mandela In His Own Words with timely introduction by President Obama. Dec 05, Connie Kronlokken added it. A very detailed biography by a British journalist who knew Mandela from until the book was published in It uncovered for me some of the confusing conflicts in South Africa and explained the private problems which went on behind the engaging politician's life.

His biography in the end converged with his mythology; and it was his essential integrity more A very detailed biography by a British journalist who knew Mandela from until the book was published in His biography in the end converged with his mythology; and it was his essential integrity more than his superhuman myth which gave his story its appeal across the world," says Sampson.

Mar 06, Nicole Johns rated it really liked it. This selection was prompted by my brother's recent trip to South Africa. I realized that I don't know very much about Mr. Mandela, and I should. And I read about pages and bailed on it. The book is well researched and written. I just couldn't keep my interest up with reading sessions of minutes. Mar 10, Simon Zohhadi marked it as to-read. Just started this biography of one of the 3 most charismatic and important leaders of the last 60 years, the others being Gorbachev and Khomeini.

Their importance and influence cannot be understated. Mandela is without a doubt an extraordinary man and politician and I am looking forward to getting a more in depth understanding of the great man and his life. One of the very few who exceeded the myth. This big biography covers a big man. Mandela was in an amazing, contemporary, power struggle in the building of South Africa's democracy. His use of dialog and reconciliation is stunning. His success is partly due to his steadfast alliance with the ANC, his political party, and in large part due to the world economy's reaction to apartheid.

After his release, the book describes his small fall from mythical to human. Inspirational reading. Aug 01, Barbara rated it it was amazing Shelves: adult , non-fiction , memoir-biography. I believe this is the definitive biography of Nelson Mandela. It is very detailed and well researched, as all of Anthony Sampson's investigative writing is. The reader gains a great understanding of Mandela's early life, the values underlying his political work and the sacrifices he made to achieve the defeat of apartheid in S. It's a long read, but well worth it.

Great that it's so comprehensive; as an economic historian, didn't really offer much into his policies or his political or economic successes or failures, and in that way, I found the book lacking and biased.

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Good for a general overview of the man himself and the evolution of the ANC. Mar 10, Ciaran Mcfadden rated it it was amazing. Excellent biography of Nelson Mandela. From his early days, through childhood, the struggle, imprisonment and then freedom. Very well written and very detailed..

Mar 29, Betty rated it it was amazing Shelves: africa. An excellent book, well written and showing that Mandela was not alone in bringing about change in South Africa. Without the instigation and help of several people surrounding him, Mandela would not have become the man he is! Dec 21, Biba rated it did not like it Shelves: neverfinished. It seems sacrilegious to give a book about Nelson Mandela 1 star, but it articulated on too many uninteresting topics. I should admit, I didn't finish it.

It was due back at the library, but I won't be checking it out again. View all 3 comments. Resistance by peaceful means can change the world. Mandela's struggle emphasized the other side of the coin from what I was reading at the time. Aug 11, Lisa4piano Brown rated it liked it. Allright, I wouldn't say I "finished" the book.

I skimmed a ton! It is a huge book, I didn't need every minute detail of his life, I just wanted the basics.

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What a great man!!! Oct 24, Amanda rated it really liked it. Excellent read, very objective description of a great man's life. Sadly my interested decreased dramatically once I left South Africa so my pace slooooooowed down. I think Nelson Mandela is the only living person I feel in awe of as a human being. Apr 19, Jim rated it really liked it. Oct 19, Nico Smith rated it liked it. I found this an excellent overview of Mandela's life and the intimate connection of it with the remarkable history of South Africa. There are no discussion topics on this book yet.

Readers also enjoyed. Biography Memoir. About Anthony Sampson. Anthony Sampson. Books by Anthony Sampson. Trivia About Mandela: The Auth No trivia or quizzes yet. Quotes from Mandela: The Auth From his adolescence, he recalled, he was viewed as being unusually ready to see the best in others. Mandela's devotion to the cause led to painful relationships with members of his own family; his political commitment "was at the expense of the people I knew and loved most.

It is authorized in that Mandela gave the author personal interviews, "reading the draft typescripts and correcting points of fact and detail," but not interfering with the author's judgments.

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This book perfectly complements Mandela's own autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom , published in It allows us to see Mandela through the eyes of others and brings the story up to the present. Sampson was given access to important papers, including Mandela's unpublished prison diary. He interviewed hundreds of people who have known the subject, and the result is a balanced portrait of a man who is, in his own words, "no angel. His persistence had a difficult downside: he could be very stubborn in thinking he was right about everything, and sometimes loyal to doubtful allies who brought him much criticism.

Nor did the Indians have to worry about pass laws or curfews or learning English or the thousand and one other handicaps that beset Africans. You would have needed to reverse the law of gravity for them not to have dominated the ANC. It was often quite easy to snow them. And Sampson has been snowed. At the same time that the Liberals were invited to the Congress of the People a myriad political, civic and cultural associations were set up — classic front organisations when they existed at all, but quite often existing only on paper — so that they could attend at Kliptown and send their pre-selected, politically reliable delegates to swamp the Liberals.

Sampson makes no mention of these fronts. Initially, Sampson suggests that its author was the black academic, Z.

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Matthews, but he goes on to admit that it was drafted by the white Communist, Lionel Bernstein. No wonder the Liberals, and the Pan-Africanists under Robert Sobukwe, were appalled: a room full of black people had cheered the Charter through and felt empowered in the process, but a small number of white Communists had run the thing from start to finish. The Congress was their idea, they had organised it; the fronts were also theirs. It was much the same with the formation of the United Democratic Front in Once again Sampson makes no mention of the front organisations which sprang into existence in order to be part of the UDF.

The UDF obeyed without a whimper, leaving seven years of self-righteous denials hanging in the wind. This careful elision of embarrassing truth occurs so frequently that for someone who knew what was going on, the result is often comic. We used to meet in his office under a giant poster of Mao. This is a whopper of huge proportions. Inevitably, Sampson has missed the fact that Slovo skipped the country to become the kingpin in exile only by disobeying a strict Party command that no cadres were to leave.

Sampson is much bothered by the allegation that Mandela was a secret SACP member and goes to enormous lengths to exonerate his hero from this charge. This is ridiculous. Mandela was also groomed by Slovo and Ruth First, both top Party people. It is inconceivable that he could have been promoted to the ANC leadership by this group unless they were confident beyond all doubt that he was one of them. Sampson ignores all manner of glaring indications that this was the case.

Why did Mandela refuse to condemn Stalin even after Khrushchev had? His keen intelligence taught him to grasp the class basis of national oppression. There is no need for any religious horror about Mandela having, doubtless, been in the Party: this was simply par for the course. No one gets excited about the fact that Thabo Mbeki has been a Party member for most of his life. Slovo was greatly distressed. There will be no unemployment, starvation and disease.

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But Slovo was supremely good at the blarney. He relies heavily on the Report of the Truth Commission without, apparently, realising how riddled with error it is. Later, when it was convenient, that bit of history had to be revised; Sampson has happily accepted the revised version. But then, throughout this book, he has accepted whatever the current ANC revisions of history happen to be.

It is impossible not to like, even to love Mandela, but at the end of his term South Africa is a mess. Instead, he toured abroad and, when at home, wore colourful shirts, did soap opera turns with Winnie and Graca and blessed the people. The result? In five years a huge escalation of crime and unemployment, a halving of the value of the Rand, the collapse of many services, a steep decline in per capita incomes, particularly for the really poor, and an exodus of skilled people.

If South Africa were to experience another five years like those it has just had under Mandela it would descend into more or less permanent ungovernability. No one, myself included, feels like blaming Mandela for this, but it is difficult to say who else is to blame. One comes back to the fact of living here and how different it feels from the distant perspective of Europe or the US. Party members will have the duty of reporting back to the Party on whatever goes on in any institution where they are employed.

This is the one bit of Zulu everyone here knows. But he provides no documentary evidence, and consistently misrepresents both me and Mandela. But I could find no such transcriptions from Stalin in the official records.

Can Johnson produce them? As an example, the Times published in December a supposed news report by Mr Johnson. A week later the Times published a letter from Sydney Kentridge now Sir Sydney , a great South African lawyer who has more recently become a leading figure at the English Bar. That Mr Johnson would write falsely about matters so easily checkable says all that needs to be said. This turns out to have been exactly right.

I choose to live here, just as Messrs Sampson and Kentridge chose to leave. Can no one else see the absurdity of sitting in London or Wiltshire and always knowing better about this place than those of us who face its daily realities? Anthony Lewis is quite wrong in all respects. Political parties are not hateful things. What I do very much dislike is party hegemony and the Orwellian rewriting of history it involves. Lewis is also wrong about the Constitutional Court.

To make these appointments, both men had, perforce, to choose from among a judiciary mainly appointed by their predecessors, but it was not difficult to find ANC supporters among their ranks, partly because the bench — though the Nationalists tried to stuff it with their lackeys — was never homogeneous and partly because some judges, noticing which way the wind was blowing, had worked hard to ingratiate themselves in advance with the new regime.

As for the current balance on the Court, I think it is held to be quite uncontroversially true among lawyers here that the Government can count on the sympathies of a large majority of its members and it is certainly keen to keep things that way. The same thing happens around the world, though judges everywhere hate to admit it. I would have expected Anthony Lewis to know that. Sampson believes that my review was really all about whether Mandela was ever in the Party. Actually this was not the nub of my review at all. My own beliefs do not change with geography. That statement is equally false.

It would be treated with derision by South African lawyers.

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In the few years of its existence the Constitutional Court has decided major cases against the wishes of the Government and the ANC. For example: 1. In the Court held unconstitutional a decree by President Mandela providing for local elections in the Western Cape Province. The Court held that only Parliament had power to do so. President Mandela called Parliament back into session to pass the needed legislation. In the Court considered whether the proposed final South African Constitution met, as required, principles set out in the interim charter.

Most political parties urged the Court not to certify the draft; the ANC indicated that it favoured certification. The Court held that nine provisions did not comply with the principles, and the text had to be redrafted and adopted anew. The Court unanimously dismissed the challenge. Johnson sought to explain away the fact that a number of judges on the Constitutional Court had originally been appointed to other courts during the apartheid years and hence could not have been supporters of the ANC.