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Long Walk to Freedom

(Long Walk to Freedom #1-2)

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  75,971 ratings  ·  4,019 reviews
Nelson Mandela is one of the great moral and political leaders of our time: an international hero whose lifelong dedication to the fight against racial oppression in South Africa won him the Nobel Peace Prize and the presidency of his country.

Since his triumphant release in 1990 from more than a quarter-century of imprisonment, Mandela has been at the center of the most c
Paperback, 656 pages
Published October 1st 1995 by Back Bay Books (first published 1994)
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Boy Blue Depends on their age. If they're young, you may just turn them off reading with such a hefty tome. If they're a teenager though they may find it fasci…moreDepends on their age. If they're young, you may just turn them off reading with such a hefty tome. If they're a teenager though they may find it fascinating and inspiring like most people who read it do. As for the content any teenager should be able to deal with what's in this book.(less)

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Tharindu Dissanayake
"Man's goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished."

I'm not one for writing long reviews: I simply lack the patience, and usually end-up writing a concise review before jumping to the next book. However, every now and then, when I do come across something special, I find it inexcusable to move away hastily, before properly conveying my acclamation. 'A Long Walk To Freedom', it turns out, is very, very special. If I used all my highlights, the quotes alone could've made a le
“As I finally walked through those gates to enter a car on the other side, I felt- even at the age of seventy-one- that my life was beginning anew. My ten thousand days of imprisonment were over.” - Nelson Mandela, A Long Walk to Freedom

2013, my year of reading biographies, started off with Dr. King’s and ended with reading Nelson Mandela’s. A perfect end to the year.

Apartheid is something that hit very close to home to me, being a member of the same Bantu people that the racist Afrikaner gover
At over 700 pages, Nelson Mandela's autobiography might look like a serious commitment. Actually though, it doesn't feel like a heavy book at all. Like the thinking which informs it, the writing is clear, measured and straightforward, albeit scattered with bits of Harvard English that are presumably down to Mandela's (uncredited) American ghostwriter, Richard Stengel.

I sped through it in under a week, thanks mainly to a couple of long train journeys. I'm left with a much more nuanced view of Man
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
As I continue the forty days of biography reading, I thought I ought to tackle some of the 'big players' in the world of politics. At a time when the world is still ill-balanced, I wanted to delve into the world of Nelson Mandela, one who sought to recalibrate a significant unbalance on the African continent over a number of decades. Having a great interest in South Africa, the backwardness of apartheid's acceptance by any governing body, and how the world handled the bloodshed under the racist ...more
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. ~ Nelson Mandela

Long Walk to Freedom has been such an amazing journey. Thank you, Madiba!

Nelson Mandela is indeed one of the greatest moral leaders and heroes of our time! The way and walk to Freedom is long, but Mandela did not give up..
Ahmad Sharabiani
Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela (Long Walk to Freedom #1-2), Nelson Mandela

Long Walk to Freedom is an autobiography written by South African President Nelson Mandela, and first published in 1994 by Little Brown & Co. The book profiles his early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison.

Under the apartheid government, Mandela was regarded as a terrorist and jailed on the infamous Robben Island. He later achieved international recognition for his leadership a
Donna Davis
If you are not a prolific reader, the size and weight of this volume may look daunting. After reading the first two or three chapters, you will be tempted to give up. DON'T!!! It's just about to get really good.

This autobiography chronicles Mandela's life, first as the son of a tribal chief, then as an educated Black man under Apartheid--a dangerous thing to be--and then the journey, both outward and inward, from attorney to the leader of a revolution. You will read about his time on Riecher's I
I had skipped over this book by Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) many times thinking I had read it. The other day I checked my records and was surprised to discovered I had recorded it to read but had not read it. I now have corrected that mistake.

The book is well written. It covers Nelson Mandela’s life from childhood to becoming the president of South Africa. The author also describes the history of South Africa and the various local tribes so I have a better understanding of the situation. The writ
Saadia B. ||  CritiConscience
A hero who fought till he succeeded.

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Sep 28, 2007 rated it it was ok
First of all let me say that Nelson Mandela is an amazing man who has been through more trials than I could ever imagine, and he faced them with such class and strength. I am glad I know more about his history and his life as a "freedom fighter," and this book gave me greater appreciation for black South Africans. However, it was a long, long, long, long walk to freedom. I guess I like books that are written in story form, which shows some lack of intelligence on my part, unfortunately. It took ...more
I finally finished Nelson Mandela's iconic autobiography Long Walk To Freedom. It is an essential text for anyone who is interested in the topics of racism and the anti-apartheid struggle, or simply in South Africa, and one of the most influential African leaders in recent history.

Unfortunately, I only read the German translation of Mandela's work, which made it a bit of a pain in the ass to read. [Seriously, if you're from Germany but understand English, I beg you to pick up the original becau
Jul 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: africa
Where does one start with this? The story of freedom fighter, head of state, and world leader, Nelson Mandela--a book that spans his childhood, years spent in prison, and subsequent election as president. I grew up constantly reminded that a man, this man, was seated somewhere in South Africa in a prison cell, fighting for freedom for an entire nation and group of people.

The former president started this manuscript while in prison (sometime around 1974) and concocted a plan to have the original
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, africa
Long Walk to Freedom is the first book I've read by the leader of a country containing instructions on how to overthrow a country.

Mandela is serious about this. He mentions that when his African National Congress decided to commit to violence, they read "works by and about Che Guevara, Mao Tse-tung, Fidel Castro" to figure out how to do it. The phrase "A freedom fighter must..." recurs. He means this to be read by freedom fighters. This book is many things, but maybe the most important thing is
Jun 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Caroline by: Donna
What to say about one of the world’s most highly esteemed books? I am wholly inadequate to give a review of the book as such, but here, as usual, are a few notes to remind myself of the reading...

(view spoiler)
Jun 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiographies
I learned Nelson Mandela’s life from my high school history because of the word, apartheid. (Thanks to Mahatma Gandhi; he introduced him to us on his cause of Caste System in India.) However, I just scratched the surface of him t as my teacher did not tell much details about him as if he was not attached much importance to the subject. ( If I were my teacher, I would have told much more about him.) In fact, I mistook him for a Black-American. Uh-oh! I was still an ignoramus at that time despite ...more
Amanda Brinkmann
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics-reads
I tried reading this book SO many times right after it was published - but found myself so upset and saddened, that I realised I was simply not emotionally ready to deal with the contents. So - it sat on my shelf for nearly 10 years, before I felt ready and healed enough to pick the book up again.

It was, for me, a riveting read. I sobbed my way through a great many of the sections, I learned so much about the history of my country and the genesis of the African National Congress and its original
Oct 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
It was an interesting read. Sorry, that's a bit of an understatement and the dry tone in my head doesn't really translate. Mandela is a good, clear writer, but not creative or inventive. One can see the methodical planning that made him such an effective political leader and innovator, but as the author of a 625 page book, his style is a little stiff. The first half of the book is about his upbringing and path into politics. The problem I was having was that there was no way to tell from his for ...more
Jan 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If we do nothing else for those who suffer for a cause, we must at least bear witness and say, I have seen, and understood.

Many people the world over have waxed prolific and poetic on this book, and all that is left to say is, it is a must-read for anyone who cares about anything at all in this world. This struggle cannot be dismissed as a partisan "engagement". It is not just about apartheid; it is not about fighting a harsh regime; it is not about man's inhumanity to man -- and all that "stuf
May 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
What do I really have to say? :-) I read this before the first time I went to South Africa and fell in love with the country...hence two return trips! I had some amazing experiences during the pr days and one was a private tour of Robben Island with Ahmed Kathrada while in SA. He was imprisoned with and a close friend of Mandela's (one of eight sentenced to life imprisonment during the Rivonia Trial). Anyway, obviously it was amazing since he knew EVERYTHING about the time and place (he was ther ...more
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Long Walk to Freedom

I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter, I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is
I bought this book in January and didn't get around to reading it until March. I was at a Goodwill 50% off sale the day I got this and as soon as I saw it I knew I had to have it.
As someone who has strong roots in South Africa but has never been there I am always eager to learn more about the country my father and his family were born in particularly because my father and his family left South Africa in the 40's to escape the apartheid even though they were "coloured" and not "black" it still im
Henry Martin
Jul 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It is not very often that I set to read non-fiction. This book, however, was originally recommended to me by a Rwanda refugee and so I made an exception. What a good decision that was.
Although I was familiar with Mandela's life and South Africa's struggle against the apartheid regime, this book provided me with much more profound understanding of the struggle and the historical events leading to the eventual overthrow of the racist regime. This book, however, is much more than an account of a da
Apr 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: travelers, organizers, aspiring world changers
Recommended to Laura by: a guy on my flight home from j'burg
I learned (as if I didn't already know) that I am one slack m*^&rf&*ker, and this is the perfect book to read if you need some motivation to get off your ass and/or get over yourself.

There are also a lot of fascinating things about his story that i didn't know -he grew up literally barefoot in the bush, bailed on being a tribal councilor and ran away from home, and a lot of interesting ins and outs of how african consciousness developed in SA the 60s and 70s, plus tips on how to keep yourself m
R.K. Gold
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I want to start this review off by saying the universe is a funny thing. Given the time we live in and the circumstances we are all facing this book fell on to my lap at the perfect time. One detail I want to highlight off the back was how happy I was as a Jewish American to see that Mandela worked closely with Jewish allies from his first job in Johannesburg in 1946 when he was hired by a Jewish attorney Lazar Sidelsky to his close friend and advisor Rabbi Cyril Harris during his presidency. I ...more
It was indeed a long, long walk to freedom. Apartheid, established in 1948 in South Africa, was abolished in 1990. Nelson Mandela is one of the most well-known icons of the fight against this discriminatory system. This book explores his life, historical and political events during his lifetime, his thoughts and feelings as well as his contribution to the fight against apartheid and racism.

The book starts off with Mandela's childhood days, and sketches out his family connections and his prospec
Megan Baxter
May 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
I've known far too little about Nelson Mandela. I knew who he was, of course, and some of the bare outlines of his life. But I think I'd fallen into knowing little more than what Cornel West, after Mandela's death, called the "Santa-Clausification" of the South African leader. By that, he meant the process of turning Mandela from who he was into a harmless, strangely apolitical grandfatherly figure that could be used as a symbol by left and right alike.

Note: The rest of this review has been wit
Recently, I was teaching a class where the students read an essay about the reconciliation meetings that were done in South Africa.
And my students did not know, or claimed not know, who Mandela was.
Sad, but true.
As time goes on, we forgot. We are a nation that has been, and in many ways still is, affected by 9-11, but the average college freshman who is currently 18 was 5 then. There are people whose understanding of apartheid, if they have one, is one of distance and this happened last gener
My Lord, what a book!

This book depicts the harsh realities of living in the Apartheid South Africa! Imagine living in a country where you are denied basic human rights, been told you are less because of your skin colour. The scary thing is that South Africa was not the only country with this sort of system.

Nonetheless, Nelson Mandela's book is truly beautiful, honest, raw, emotional and makes you see that you should never stop fighting against what is wrong. He is a true testament to courage,
Mikey B.
Page 623 (my edition)

In South Africa, a man of color who attempted to live as a human being was punished and islolated.

An exquisitely written book with many brilliant observations on life passages. It is not just about Nelson Mandela’s struggle to obtain freedom for his people in South Africa – it is a view of the dignity of a human being.

Nelson Mandela has a unique ability to gaze out at events outside of himself – some said that of Abraham Lincoln. Nelson Mandela is man of intense humanity and
R.D. Raven
Apr 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
7 Stars

At the end of this book I'm left with a number of emotions: humility, awe, wonder.

I've thought long and hard about how to review this book and already the word count is much higher than I'd wanted it to be. It is one of those books that, as a member of humanity itself, you are simply obliged to read.

It should be required reading for everyone, everywhere.

I will read it again many times in my life. Of this I am sure. I feel honored to have "shared" in his life vicariously by means of t
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Non Fiction Book ...: RR: Long Walk to Freedom (Aug 10 - Sep 30, 2020) 49 77 Sep 07, 2020 01:08AM  
Around the Year i...: Long Walk to Freedom, by Nelson Mandela 10 67 Mar 17, 2019 06:32AM  
Summer Reading 1 5 Sep 11, 2018 05:33PM  
Baaday Viongozi (...: NELSON MANDELA 1 1 Jul 10, 2018 09:03AM  

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Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a former President of South Africa, the first to be elected in a fully representative democratic election, who held office from 1994–99.

Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist, and the leader of the African National Congress's armed wing Umkhonto we Sizwe. The South African courts convicted him on charges of sabotage, as well as other crimes com

Other books in the series

Long Walk to Freedom (2 books)
  • Long Walk To Freedom (Volume 1: 1918-1962)
  • Long Walk to Freedom (Volume 2: 1962 - 1994)

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“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one's head pointed toward the sun, one's feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.” 1708 likes
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” 1663 likes
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