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Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of…

Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela (original 1994; edition 1995)

by Nelson Mandela

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3,227472,493 (4.26)1 / 197
Title:Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
Authors:Nelson Mandela
Info:Back Bay Books (1995), Edition: 1st Paperback Ed, Paperback, 656 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:africa, South Africa, autobiography

Work details

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela (1994)

  1. 00
    Colour Bar: The Triumph of Seretse Khama and His Nation by Susan Williams (Widsith)
    Widsith: Two brilliant and moving biographies (one auto-, one not) of southern African leaders (Mandela in South Africa and Khama in Botswana) coming of age, and taking on the racism of whole societies. Obviously Mandela is the more important world figure to get to grips with; but if anything, I found Khama's story even more emotional to retrace. Both utterly inspirational.… (more)

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English (41)  German (2)  Spanish (2)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All languages (47)
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
An amazing read about a man's journey as a freedom fighter, political prisoner, and eventually a symbol for his country and for people around the world.

It is a long and dense read, but definitely worth it. I found that I could only read about 3 chapters a day. It's very rich and detailed, and unfortunately I don't know much about the surrounding history.

Mandela details his life from his boyhood to his education and his first years as a lawyer, as well as working with the ANC, his time in prison, through his release and finally South Africa's elections. For someone who is not familiar with the background and his history you'll probably find it engrossing reading to see what his life was like in South Africa. It was amazing that despite all he went through he never seemed to give up.

I was surprised to find his descriptions of his prison life really interesting. He was moved around from place to place, but as time went on he seemed to get more freedom and more space which allowed him to continue his work. I would have thought I would have found the descriptions tedious, but it was pretty interesting to see what his prison life was like, how he managed to communicate with the outside as well as with political prisoners.

However, sometimes it does seem a little tedious with the level of detail and sometimes it feels like he's listing what happened next. Sometimes it was difficult to remember who was who and why they were important to Mandela. His personal life doesn't get too much mention and it's intriguing how he treats his family. It wasn't until towards the end that I realized he doesn't say much about them, but then again he did not have much chance to see them while in prison. I actually did not know that Winnie had been unfaithful to him while in prison and that apparently was at least part of the reason why they divorced.

I chose to read his book as the news of his possibly impending death was being speculated upon by the media. The news about the schism in the family was quite sad to read about, but he would have had little say or control obviously. Mandela seems to recognize that his absence meant his children didn't really have a chance to get to know him (with ridiculous regulations that children could not visit prisoners).

However, this book is about his work, rather than gossip. I would definitely recommend it to just about anyone, however it is definitely not a beach read. You may need a history book or the internet to look up stuff. :) ( )
  acciolibros | Feb 11, 2018 |
A long awaited read for me- I enjoyed it very much. I found quite a few of the details about Mandela's imprisonment surprising - due to the fact that I thought I had known his story through media coverage. At the time of Mandela's death, I watched several documentaries but found this book more illuminating. A very strong, brave man. ( )
  HelenGress | Feb 14, 2017 |
Wow! It has been such an amazing journey. Thank you Madiba. I actually felt like I was there with you - in your childhood, all those years in the jails and the long walk to freedom. I will truly miss those moments and of course you. Maybe I will revisit all those moments again, after few years, by rereading this awesome book. ( )
  Swaroop101 | Jan 23, 2017 |
This is a detailed history of Nelson Mandela's struggle to help South Africa overcome apartheid. Strangely, there is not as much about himself as I expected. It is more of a recitation of who did what, and when, rather than how he felt about anything. It's very long. Twenty years after the end of events portrayed in this book, I wonder what people think has been the result. ( )
  Pferdina | Sep 11, 2016 |
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
I am not sure how I want this review to go because I was incredibly touched by this story and the struggles that Nelson Mandela went through. I think that the struggles he went through made him the man that he was. I think that any man who can stand forward to unify the races and to bring peace is an admirable person. No one is perfect and neither was Mandela and his story told this. I love an autobiography when a person can admit there weaknesses and strengths as they tell a story. ( )
  Angel.Carter | Aug 11, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mandela, Nelsonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Clinton, BillForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I dedicate this book to my six children, Madiba and Makaziwe (my first daught), who are now deceased, and to Makgatho Makaiwe, Zenani, and Zindzi, whose support and love I treasure; to my twenty-one grandchildren and three-grandchildren who give me great pleasure; and to all my comrades, friends, and fellow South Africans whom I serve and whose courage, determination, and patriotism remain my source of inspiration.
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Apart from life, a strong constitution, and an abiding connection to the Thembu royal house, the only thing my father bestowed upon me at birth was a name, Rolihlahla
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This work is the main unabridged non-illustrated edition.

Please do not combine the following works with this:

The strongly abridged illustrated edition (ISBN 0316550388/0316880205/6 & 0316857874) which is 550 pages shorter and a different work.

The children's picture book illustrated edition.

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0316548189, Paperback)

The famously taciturn South African president reveals much of himself in Long Walk to Freedom. A good deal of this autobiography was written secretly while Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years on Robben Island by South Africa's apartheid regime. Among the book's interesting revelations is Mandela's ambivalence toward his lifetime of devotion to public works. It cost him two marriages and kept him distant from a family life he might otherwise have cherished. Long Walk to Freedom also discloses a strong and generous spirit that refused to be broken under the most trying circumstances--a spirit in which just about everybody can find something to admire.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:21 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

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 compelling and inspiring political drama in the world. As president of the African National Congress and head of South Africa's anti-apartheid movement, he was instrumental in moving the nation toward multiracial government and majority rule. He is revered everywhere as a vital force in the fight for human rights and racial equality. The foster son of a Thembu chief, Mandela was raised in the traditional, tribal culture of his ancestors, but at an early age learned the modern, inescapable reality of what came to be called apartheid, one of the most powerful and effective systems of oppression ever conceived. In classically elegant and engrossing prose, he tells of his early years as an impoverished student and law clerk in Johannesburg, of his slow political awakening, and of his pivotal role in the rebirth of a stagnant ANC and the formation of its Youth League in the 1950s. He describes the struggle to reconcile his political activity with his devotion to his family, the anguished breakup of his first marriage, and the painful separations from his children. He brings vividly to life the escalating political warfare in the fifties between the ANC and the government, culminating in his dramatic escapades as an underground leader and the notorious Rivonia Trial of 1964, at which he was sentenced to life imprisonment. Herecounts the surprisingly eventful twenty-seven years in prison and the complex, delicate negotiations that led both to his freedom and to the beginning of the end of apartheid. Finally he provides the ultimate inside account of the unforgettable events since his release that produced at last a free, multiracial democracy in South Africa. To millions of people around the world, Nelson Mandela stands, as no other living figure does, for the triumph of dignity and hope over despair and hatred, of self-discipline and love over persecution and evil.… (more)

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