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4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  151 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Nelson Mandela stands out as one of the most admired political figures of the twentieth century. It was his leadership and moral courage above all that helped to deliver a peaceful end to apartheid in South Africa after years of racial division and violence and to establish a fledgling democracy there.Martin Meredith's vivid portrayal of this towering leader was originally ...more
Kindle Edition, Large Print
Published (first published 1997)
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Mikey B.
A comprehensive biography of a great figure of the 20th century. Mr. Meredith paints a picture of a man with great dignity and intelligence. A man who rose above the narrow-mindedness of his surrounding society and transformed his country from apartheid to near greatness (admittedly South Africa has a way to go before it can be qualified as “great”).

If one compares the South Africa of pre-1990 to today there are several obvious accomplishments and merits. The toppling of the white power infrast
With all the attention bestowed upon South Africa in recent weeks due to the global audience for the World Cup, we thought it to be a good time to spotlight the recent and very comprehensive updated reissue of Martin Meredith’s “Mandela: A Biography.”

Despite an unusually large number of books chronicling the life and struggle of the African continent’s most famous 20th Century leader (including his own 1994 autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom”), Meredith’s work covers perhaps the widest berth of
Thuita J.
A great read. Meredith has written a compelling biography of Nelson Mandela. He has intelluctally demystified the myth why Mandela is a legend. Long live Mandela.
Steven Z.
As the world has praised Nelson Mandela over the last few weeks there seems little to add concerning his importance to world history. A man of such magnitude deserved a biography that encompasses his entire life with an author who delves into all aspects of their subject including their flaws. I found two major biographies of Mandela, Anthony Sampson’s MANDELA, and a book of the same title by Martin Meredith. I chose Meredith’s work because Sampson’s was the “authorized biography” and I wanted t ...more
Marilyn Pronovost
Very good book. The start is somewhat sluggish. Full of information but not told as crisply as the remainder of the book. Once the biography gets into Mandela's work for the rights of black citizens, it picks up. Also the author does not shy away from Mandela the hero for People's rights versus Mandela the flawed human being. This is what often makes this book so compelling.

He does not spare his contempt for Winnie Mandela and many of her misguided efforts that brought out her worst inner demon
A different perspective on the struggle, compared to Nelson's autobiography, Long Walk To Freedom - lots of gritty details about those in Nelson's closest personal circles who may not have been as good to him as they should have been!

Definitely eye-opening and gives a clearer picture of his life through non-biased eyes, however Long Walk To Freedom remains the quintessential book about Nelson, and by the man himself...a MUST read ... this makes a good companion if you are interested in more abo
This isn't a quick read, but it's a worthwhile one, especially if like me you're coming to it with little to no knowledge of South African history and the anti-apartheid movement. Meredith devotes a lot of space to the people and politics around Mandela, giving useful pocket histories of the ANC, the National Party, and the political environment out of which apartheid arose.

I was also very pleased to find this isn't a hagiography. Meredith clearly admires Mandela, but he doesn't gloss over the m
This book took me a bit of time to get through, but it was definitely worth the read. It's an extensive description of Mandela's life, from his childhood all the way to his post political struggles against AIDS. The author did a great job detailing who Mandela is as a person, and not just what he did. It was most interesting to learn not just about his incredible strengths and positive attributes, but to see his weaknesses and the mistakes that plagued him during and after his time in office. Hi ...more
Apr 03, 2008 Carrie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone against injustice
I enjoyed this biography, especially because I felt it a somewhat unbiased view of his life. It did not intentionally omit all his shortcomings, especially in relation to his family situation and his leadership. I appreciated that candor immensely especially since far too often historical figures are sanctified and viewed as having no human faults or shortcomings. Which aside from being totally inaccurate is also extremely misleading and unhelpful. Granted the book did glorify him to a degree, b ...more
I love this book because it is very objective, but also very interesting and easy to read. I have had only limited knowledge about South Africa and Apartheid, even though I visited this country last summer, so I was glad that Mr. Meredith presented a big picture and explained overall culture and characterized each person thoroughly. The book is long, but it reads quickly. MUST-READ
Mohammad Yarahmadi
I enjoyed reading about a man who set an example for all liberty activists. The very detailed description bored me at the start, but after sometime I got used to the Authur's style. Although the book is about Nelson Mandela, it goes beyond a biography and tells the story of the South African nation with whom I was merely familiar. My discussions with my South African colleague while I was reading the book made it a more interesting read. I would definitely recommend this book.
Matthew J.
Detailed, comprehensive, and honest retelling of this man's complex and extraordinary life. Meredith never portrays Mandela as more than he is--human--and relates his missteps along with his successes. If you're looking for light reading, this isn't for you. But if you want to begin to understand the life and times of Nelson Mandela and other anti-apartheid leaders, this is a good place to start.
at first i was being pessimistic about my ability to finish the book. it looks like a boring one to read. but the racism part in South Africa did open my eyes to continue reading Mandela's fight against it till he became a leader of a multiracial democracy. not to mention his generosity to share the romantical part of his life that flourish this biography.
A biography filled with hardship and yet there is hope. Mr Mandelas solutionsmindness is a true inspiration and so is his leadership, this will be his legacy to the entire World. A Must read book in my humble opinion!
Jose Torroja ribera
Apasionante el personaje. La biografía muestra una visión completa, no sólo sus logros sino también sus errores y fracasos. La lectura se hace interesante desde la primera página hasta la última.
Well written account of the traumas and triumphs of Nelson Mandela and his South Africa. Read "Diamonds and Gold" first!
A very detailed biography. The shocking truth about what really was happening in South Africa.
Barbara Oconnor
More than I bargained for. Too long and detailed. I have reshelved it. Anyone want it?
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Martin Meredith is a historian, journalist and biographer, and author of many acclaimed books on Africa.

Meredith first worked as a foreign correspondent in Africa for the Observer and Sunday Times, then as a research fellow at St Antony’s College, Oxford. Residing near Oxford, he is now an independent commentator and author.

Meredith’s writing has been described as authoritative and well-documented
More about Martin Meredith...
The Fate of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence Diamonds, Gold, and War: The Making of South Africa Born in Africa: The Quest for the Origins of Human Life Mugabe: Power, Plunder, and the Struggle for Zimbabwe's Future Our Votes, Our Guns: Robert Mugabe and the Tragedy of Zimbabwe

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