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Mandela and the General

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  212 ratings  ·  64 reviews
In this thrilling graphic novel, Nelson Mandela's fight against racism is about to spiral into an all-out race war. Unless he can win over his archenemy, the white supremacist General Viljoen, the democratic struggle for equality and justice in South Africa will end in "the peace of graveyards."

"A riveting read."--Morgan Freeman
"Fascinating."--Library J
Paperback, 112 pages
Published November 5th 2018 by Plough Publishing House
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Diane S ☔
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm far from a graphic novel affeciando, but saw this one and the history within intrigued. To my surprise, I loved it. A story told without scads of miscellaneous filler, we get a direct, pointed look at the release of Mandela and the crisis that it propelled. It is told mostly from the POV of General Valjean, who was chosen by the white Afrikaans, to prevent Mandela from coming into power. To use any means necessary , including violence, to keep the blacks in their place. When Mandela asks the ...more
Kristy K
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“We must strive to find a political solution that reconciled White fears with black aspirations.”

I’ve found I really enjoy history told in graphic novel form. It’s informative while not being bogged down in superfluous detail and it makes history more engaging. I feel using this form of media would greatly help teaching children and teens and wish we could see more of it being used this way.

I read Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, earlier this year and Mandela and the Genera
Jan 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, edelweiss
John Carlin was a newspaper correspondent in South Africa at the time apartheid was ending. Most of the book is told from the point of view of the general heading up the white nationalist party of South Africa. I wish the book had given more back story about why Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years and what his life was like on the island he was held at. But instead we get the general's backstory during this period. It's kind of like getting the perspective of history from David Duke for the firs ...more
Jon Nakapalau
Nelson Mandela’s meeting with retired general Constand Viljoen (former chief of apartheid South Africa’s military) prevented a tidal wave of bloodshed from engulfing the country. The fact that Mandela could see that he had to reach out to a former enemy to prevent the country from plunging into civil war is a testament to his trying to reconcile even the most egregious of crimes even as the birth of a new country was dawning. Excellent GN with powerful art - highly recommended.
I really enjoyed this little graphic novel! It reminded me of the type of book you would read in school - it's a comic so IT'S FUN, KIDS and it's a TRUE STORY, it's HISTORY! The kids are LEARNING!

Photo Oct 06, 8 33 34 PM

Mandela and the General is exactly what it sounds like - a story about Nelson Mandela and General Constand Viljoen, the former chief of apartheid South Africa’s military. The story begins when Mandela is released from prison in 1990, after 27 years as a political prisoner, and spans the first few y
Rod Brown
Feb 22, 2019 rated it liked it
As I finished the book, I was going to give it four stars, mostly because every appearance of Mandela in the story is electrifying. But as I reflected, I realized that this is just another one of those books or movies where white creators use a white guy as the point of view for an African story. And in this case, the white guy is a racist who we're supposed to be happy did not resort to violence to carry out his white supremacist agenda in the 1990s thanks to the charisma of Mandela. Instead he ...more
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An almost unbelievable historical event that I was unaware of : a newly unimprisoned Nelson Mandela conceiving of the idea to meet secretly with the general of the ultra-right rural whites ready to arm themselves to "take back their country" and successfully getting him on board for a democratic future with black people in power. But it happened, and you can learn all the details in this excellent graphic novel which has fantastic art that blends realism and symbolism in a controlled color palet ...more
There so many books about Nelson Mandela, as this is the 100th anniversary of his birth, and for those of us that lived during the time that he was released, and then moved on to become president, we may not know all the things that happened, as this is such recent history.

And, as an American, I was even further removed from all the nuances of what happened.

This book follows how, once Nelson was released, the retired general, Constand Viljoen, former chief of apartheid South Africa’s military, c
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fascinating graphic novel about the escalating violence and racial tension in South Africa following Mandela’s release and the behind-the-scenes negotiations that led to his presidency.
Telling one story within Mandela's remarkable life, this is a beautifully illustrated book. It would be a quick read but you can't help but spend time with the graphics. It also pushed me to read more about this time period. Some people felt that the book was focused more on Constand Viljean, the General, which it needed to be, to show what Mandela was up against.
Tamara Murphy
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
A graphic novel may be the best format for me to dive into this story that I would otherwise know nothing. Yes, I’m generally aware of Mandela’s legacy and the evils of apartheid, but this story fleshes out in a fuller dimension a few of the historical figures and their opposing movements. Take a chance on the illustrated format and read this book. Then pass it along. We need these stories, and I’m so grateful to Plough Publishing for getting them into our hands.
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, arc
This book was provided to me by NetGalley and Plough Publishing. All opinions are my own. Pub Date 5th Nov 2018.

As a big fan of nonfiction in graphic novel form, this book was easy for me to get excited about. While Mandela as a public figure his highly recognizable, I do believe that a lot of the details on the process of abolishing apartheid is pretty fuzzy for people now.

This book fills this gap by covering a crucial time in South Africa leading up to the first free elections in 1994 with the
Katie Peach
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Mandela and the General is great introduction to learning about the end of apartheid. John Carlin does an excellent job of telling the story and explaining the history throughout the book. I think graphic novels like this are a great way to explain history and to get people interested in history. It definitely made me want to learn more about South African apartheid and Mandela.

I received an advance reading copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
Michelle Olms
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great book
Abbie Joiner
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I Loved this read. Anyone that is a fan of Mandela NEEDS to read
Dakota Morgan
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
This fascinating historical note from the end of Apartheid would almost certainly be better if it wasn't narrated by the white supremacist general. It feels deeply strange to tell a Mandela story from the point of view of the angry Afrikaneer who wanted a separate state for whites. Sure, the general comes off as a reasonable, pragmatic man who helped Mandela avoid civil war...but like, the general was the guy who would have started that war in the first place.

The art is excellent in Mandela and
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I had no idea and admire them both so much more.
Furious Gazelle
Mandela and The General focuses on one stitch in Nelson Mandela’s legacy. In 1994, as the first post-Apartheid elections approach, and black South Africans are ready to take power with Mandela as their president, a militant faction of white South Africans – the Freedom Front – are ready to riot and fight to the death if need be. Attempting to avert a massacre Mandela held a series of secret meetings with Constand Viljoen- a former general of the South African army and later leader of the right-w ...more
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Everything about this book is perfect- the execution, the storytelling, the relationships, the documentation of history. I loved the narration by General Vilojen, in conversation with author and journalist John Carlin, looking back at his time as head of the Afrikaner Volksfront. Rooted in Viljoen’s home with pacifist brother Braam and black servants, he tells South Africa’s story of Mandela’s release from prison up to Mandela’s election as President. I was struck by Mandela’s capacity for ...more
Lois Young
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Nelson Mandela was a man who inspired millions throughout the end of the 20th century. Even after his death in 2013, Nelson Mandela remains one of the most prominent figures of civil rights alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. However, outside of South Africa and the rest of Africa, not much is known about the anti-apartheid movement such as the formation of the African National Congress, or the ANC, and The National Party.

"Mandela and the General" is a recount of the events tha
Craig Wiesner
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This a gripping and powerful telling of the story of General Constand Viljoen, a South African military man who was recruited by those who wanted to wage war to prevent the end of Apartheid. Nelson Mandela, recognizing the importance of understanding the perspective of white Afrikaners, and hoping that through dialogue he could win over the general and avoid unquenchable violence and unfathomable loss of life, established secret meetings with the general.

Mandela's brilliance, his dedication to
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mandela's compassion for the general is so kind and tactical.
Ije the Devourer of Books
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent story about how Mandela brokered peace with the Afrikaner minority by encourging them to participate in the democratic elections instead of resorting to war. Mandela did this through diplomacy and negotiating with General Constand Viljoen, former chief of apartheid South Africa's military and the leader of South Africa's white nationalists.

If Mandela had not had the wisdom and foresight to do this, South Africa would have descended in to a bloodbath. Leaders like Nelson Mand
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My personal knowledge of Nelson Mandela is fairly limited. I equate him as being South Africa’s Martin Luther King, Jr, here in my country. Mandela and the General by journalist John Carlin with artist Oriol Malet brings to life this man, showing his passion and determination to bring a peaceful transition to the country even if that means to dance with the devil. What an enlightening graphic novel this is. Not only do we see Mandela’s pursue of peace but also General Constand Viljoen’s goals, s ...more
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE that writers are using graphic novel format to share important stories from history. John Carlin's thoughtfully distills the complicated history of South African Apartheid by focusing on the relationship of two seemingly opposed leaders.
Oriel Malet's artwork is beautiful and fits perfectly with Carlin's words.
I appreciated the extra features throughout the book - asterisks that explained vocabulary and historical points that non-South African readers may not know, the visual timeline of
I knew who Nelson Mandela was. I was alive during the time these events happened. I had no idea all this was going on. The fact that the peaceful change of government that Mandela accomplished was almost thwarted by an armed "white power" movement was new to me. I had never heard of this General Viljoen. But I am glad now that I do. Reading this book gives me some hope for the future. If a country as divided and fractured as South Africa could come together; if a man who started out hating Mande ...more
Bimal Patel
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank you Plough Publishing for forwarding me the unpublished copy of Mandela and the General for review. The book goes in publication on Nov 5th.

This being my second nonfiction graphic novel, I certainly liked this more than my first one on Andy Warhol. The art work is really good and the text is not too "loud" as some graphic novels have. The author manages to capture the essence of relation between Nelson Mandela and General Constand Viljoen. It was through the mutual respect of both the men
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting take on the battle that took place for the heart of South Africa. The story follows General Constand Viljoen and his conflicts as the leader of the white nationalist militias that have been bound as one upon Nelson Mandela's release from prison. Together, the leaders form an alliance aimed toward achieving piece through nonviolent negotiation.

I enjoyed the illustrations, they were beautiful. I wasn't expecting to be shown this story from the point of view of history's vil
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, netgally
There are so many books about Mandela's life and legacy, but I think this one it's the first I see that could be easily read by children and younger audiences as well as adults.
The colour pallet of the illustrations really help bringing the sense of tension to the story, the words were carefully chosen to give the impact needed.
I'd recommend this one to people who is starting to read history, so not to overwhelm with all the other gory details of what happened in South Africa.
Thank you Netgall
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was in the middle of reading a series that I needed a break from and this came just in time. It is an absolutely gorgeous graphic novel. Not to mention that the account of General Viljoen gives hope, especially during these divisive times. It shows that one man's understanding and strength can really change the world. We need more men like Nelson Mandela.

The only downside was that it was too short. I didn't want the story to end. I wanted to know so much more about Mandela. I guess I'll have t
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