Nelson Mandela: A Biography
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Nelson Mandela: A Biography

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  132 ratings  ·  17 reviews
In this, the first full-scale biography of Nelson Mandela, Martin Meredith vividly captures the epic arc of a life defined by struggle against the brutality of apartheid and its eventual defeat. He provides fascinating insights into the enduring friendships Mandela forged among whites and blacks alike, into the influential role played by his communist colleagues, and into...more
Hardcover, 596 pages
Published February 1st 1998 by Thomas Dunne Books (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...more
Tim
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...more
Thuita Thuita Maina
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...more
Mary
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...more
Carisa
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...more
David
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
Carrie
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
Magdalena
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
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.
Nozqa
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.
Anders
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.
Pablo
Well written account of the traumas and triumphs of Nelson Mandela and his South Africa. Read "Diamonds and Gold" first!
Julia
A very detailed biography. The shocking truth about what really was happening in South Africa.
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