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Nelson mandela: BOOKS

Sunday Times books editor Tymon Smith reviews 10 of the best Nelson Mandela books


Mandela: The Authorised Biography by Anthony Sampson

Mandela: The Authorised Biography by Anthony Sampson

Sampson knew Mandela from the 1950s and was given complete access to his personal papers, to his friends and political associates, and to Mandela himself, to write the full story of Mandela's life. In addition to covering his years before and during his incarceration, the author assessed Mandela's impact as president on South Africa and the world. Sampson's stature as one of the foremost journalists of his era places this among the authoritative books on the man and his legacy.

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Publication date:
May 2000
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
ISBN: 9780006388456
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

Mandela's autobiography is required reading and helps illuminate what he went through to achieve what he did. The personal perspective is a nice complement to the more detached historical works.

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Publication date:
October 1995
Publisher: Abacus
ISBN: 9780349106533
Mandela:  A critical life  by Tom Lodge

Mandela: A critical life by Tom Lodge

Lodge, an acclaimed scholar who has written important studies of liberation movements in South Africa, takes a look at the sources of Mandela's mythic appeal and the extent to which Mandela participated in his own mythology. Drawing on a range of original sources, the book presents fresh insights into the shaping of Mandela's personality and public persona, from his childhood days and early activism, through his long years of imprisonment, to his becoming president of the new South Africa.

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Publication date:
October 2006
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780192805683
The World that Made Mandela by Luli Callinicos and Ivan Vladislavic

The World that Made Mandela by Luli Callinicos and Ivan Vladislavic

Undoubtedly the best of the photo-heavy books on Mandela. Colour photos make this a vivid portrait of South Africa - rural areas, poor locations and affluent city centres. Using a thousand images from past and present, the book moves from rural villages to the hectic metropolis, from District Six to Robben Island. It traces Mandela's footsteps through sites of public struggle and private development and illuminates many hidden places in the struggle against apartheid.

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Publication date:
December 2001
Publisher: STR Publishers, South Africa
ISBN: 9781919855011
Man of the People: A Photographic Tribute to Nelson Mandela by Peter Magubane

Man of the People: A Photographic Tribute to Nelson Mandela by Peter Magubane

Magubane and Mandela. A great photographer's take on the great man. Man of the People documents the development of Mandela as a political leader, and also as a family man and friend. Magubane presents some of his most famous political photographs depicting Mandela as a leader through the various stages of the struggle. Through his relationship with Mandela, Magubane was given unparalleled access to his private life and his home.

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Publication date:
July 2008
Publisher: PanMacmillan SA
ISBN: 9781770100657
The meaning of mandela by Xolela Mangcu

The meaning of mandela by Xolela Mangcu

This records a series of lectures presented at a seminar held at the University of the Witwatersrand providing intelligent insight into the meaning of Mandela as icon and leader. Cornel West, Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Wole Soyinka take turns reflecting on what Mandela means to them.

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Publication date:
December 1999
Publisher: HSRC
ISBN: 9780796921642

Nelson Mandela: The Man and the Movement by Mary Benson

An important book in the Mandela canon if only because Benson went where no one else was willing to go in 1986 to provide this personal and sober assessment of Mandela's life and its relation to the ANC and the anti-apartheid movement overseas.

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Publication date:
October 2006
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780192805683
Mandela: The Authorised Portrait by Mike Nicol

Mandela: The Authorized Portrait by Mike Nicol

Also produced by the foundation, so not much critical perspective here, but the rare photos and interviews with everyone from Tony Blair and Bill Clinton to Stevie Wonder and well-written commentary by Mike Nicol make "Mandela: The Authorized Portrait" the most agreeable and lavishly illustrated of the coffee table celebration books.

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Publication date:
October 2006
Publisher: WILD DOG PRESS
ISBN:9780747581703