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Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela (1994)

by Nelson Mandela

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4,820622,283 (4.27)1 / 232
Biography & Autobiography. History. Politics. Nonfiction. HTML:

The autobiography of global human rights icon Nelson Mandela is "riveting . . . both a brilliant description of a diabolical system and a testament to the power of the spirit to transcend it" (Washington Post).
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Nelson Mandela was one of the great moral and political leaders of his 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. After his triumphant release in 1990 from more than a quarter-century of imprisonment, Mandela was 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 antiapartheid movement, he was instrumental in moving the nation toward multiracial government and majority rule. He is still revered everywhere as a vital force in the fight for human rights and racial equality.
Long Walk to Freedom is his moving and exhilarating autobiography, destined to take its place among the finest memoirs of history's greatest figures. Here for the first time, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela told the extraordinary story of his life ?? an epic of struggle, setback, renewed hope, and ultimate triumph.


The book that inspired the major motion picture Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.… (more)

  1. 10
    Invictus: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation by John Carlin (krazy4katz)
  2. 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 (54)  German (3)  Spanish (2)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (61)
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
At nearly 800 pages this is LONG! It shows you everything Mandela went through from his childhood in the Thembu tribe to Robbin Island and beyond. It was interesting reading about the apartheid struggle from Mandela’s point of view and learning more than I ever remembered from the news.
( )
  rosienotrose | Jul 11, 2023 |
Fascinating. If it were physically possible, I'd've read it in one sitting. ( )
  Kiramke | Jun 27, 2023 |
Nelson Madela was a lawyer, then involved for most of his life with the ANC (African National Congress), when he fought for the rights of black Africans and against apartheid when that was instituted in the 1950s. He went to prison in 1963 and spend almost three decades there as a political prisoner (alongside other members of the ANC and other similar political groups) before being freed in 1990. This is his autobiography up to when he became president of South Africa in 1994.

In the first half, I found his personal life more interesting than his work/political life. But the second half really picked up for me. I found his time as a prisoner the most interesting part of the book. He (and the other political prisoners) managed to continue to fight as much as they could from within the prison walls. He really was an amazing man, but sadly his family life suffered for everything he did for the people of South Africa. ( )
  LibraryCin | Sep 17, 2022 |
I listened to the audiobook version of this. Would really recommend that rather than simple reading the book. The biggest takeaway that I got from this was that it's a great insight into the spirit of a man and how he went with his gut / feelings/ desire to see his country freed from apartheid. In the beginning we learn about hos he was selected to marry a woman by the elders from 'The Regient' and in defiance Nelson ran away - this was especially remarkable because from a very young age you learn that he was not one to be pushed around & instead tried to fight to get what he wanted. That was wonderful. Most people like to explain fortune/struggles as people having 'good luck' - but this story shows that he CHOSE to run away, there wasn't "luck" involved! Faith wanted him to get married, but he chose NOT to. Reminded me of something Mathew McConaughey said ... "Knowing where you are NOT is as important as knowing where you are."

I tried to rewind the audiobooks to find out the exact situation or event that resulted in Nelson wanting to continue with his freedom struggle, but it actually was a gradual shift over time - from breaking up meetings to agitations to taking part in protests. Finally, his stay on Robben island was phenomenal. The descriptions of everything that went there & how he had to stay for 19 years and then went to the next prison for another 7-8 yrs was unbelievable!

Would definitely recommend! (though perhaps a bit too much of politics involved especially if you aren't from South Africa and don't understand the history) ( )
  alvitoc | Jun 28, 2022 |
For a long time I didn’t know what I was going to say about this one, and even now, I can only delve into my own little garden, you know.

I forget exactly how this book came on my reading list—I can go years between downloading a sample and making a purchase, and obviously many or most of the books will never get that far. But I remember reading a new ager once, a spiritual psychologist, who on one of his vacations—instead of going to some golf club and stigmatizing the “rich people” at the golf club where he’s not the big salami, like many white people…. Although I won’t drop this decent individual’s name, and up the white race; he was just some decent individual—went to Robben Island in South Africa where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned and worked at breaking rocks for all those years, (even though Mandela was a trained lawyer, you know, but he was also a Black, and that fact dominated his life), and the decent guy from…. Detroit, I knew it was the Midwest somewhere—he spent a day of his life breaking rocks a bit like Mandela did, and even without cursing guards, (even the Indian prisoners were treated better than Blacks at this prison, and actually all of Nelson’s white comrades got sent away to other places), it was seriously draining and psychically damaging; the Detroit counselor said he could feel the bad vibes still there after all those years.

Matthew (I have to mention someone’s name, even if it’s in my own way), said that he’s a radical Christian, a creation-y Christian, and not a new ager because new agers typically go so long on psychology and so short on sociology, politics. He did say that there’s an “old” (typical) new age and a “new” (atypical) new age, but I think those terms might not be helpful. There’s a weak new age/spiritual psychology, and a strong one. It’s not strong, or appropriate, to ignore the people on this planet who suffer the most. Even if they’re not trying to make more money to get into a nicer golf club or buy a horse or something—at least as an end in itself, which I’m sure it is, for some people, maybe even some ‘cool people’—sometimes with whatever form of psychology, healing the self, can get greedy: me and my healing, me and my time alone with my Creator—even me and my enlightenment, my transcendence, real or imagined.

One of the Course in Miracles teachers once said, When you think you’re in trouble, find a way to help others. THEN you’ll heal.

This unbearable whiteness of being is now over. For now…. Go to the light, the white light, lol. The white, light…. The white, light….

Anyway, in conclusion just, don’t call Mandela a terrorist unless you think that Churchill’s bombing of Dresden was a war crime, and if you think both of those things, well, I admire Gandhi, but pacifism seems like almost too hostile, too condemnatory, a thing for me.

And if bombing whole cities full of civilians is better than property damage, I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe get a little more abstract; don’t look history in the face, ha.

…. Of course, in one sense, Mandela was eventually freed because he had been in prison so long—a whole generation—that things had gone by and the world had changed; the same views that were radical in the early 60s (he wants Black rule! He wants to take our power away!) we’re starting to be more moderate by the late 80s (he doesn’t want to drive us into the sea! He won’t shoot us!). And, then also, in de Klerk, Mandiba says, South Africa got its Gorbachev.

And as for Mandela himself, he was Martin and Malcolm in one.

…. “I was asked as well about the fears of whites. I knew that people expected me to harbor anger towards whites. But I had none. In prison, my anger towards whites decreased, but my hatred for the system grew. I wanted South Africa to see that I loved even my enemies while I hated the system that turned us against one another.”

…. I guess if you wanted to make a case against de Klerk, you’d say that he tried to play Indian against Black and rural and urban Blacks against each other; certainly there were things that Black and especially African National Congress people went through then that I can’t imagine going through. But I guess as cynical as many Afrikaners were in their history, I really want to believe that there was a good Dutchman as well. So….

…. (I always end up writing about the white people in books like this.) On the one hand, de Klerk certainly wiggled and stalled and tried to slow-ball the transfer of power, I guess hoping that the sky would fall in on Mandiba. But, even today, many white Americans put in his place would say, you know—well the whites have always won the elections before; maybe we just need to build a wall, and keep all the money on our side of it…. And plenty of whites would claim to be Way to the left of de Klerk, as long as no one ever calls their bluff, right…. You mean I’m not the primary material beneficiary of this new change? But everything’s about me…. I’m enlightened; I’m white—I’m to the left of de Klerk, for God’s sake!

…. It’s a long walk to freedom.
  goosecap | Jun 28, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
A Long Walk to Freedom, by Nelson Mandela, is an autobiography that describes the South African anti-apartheid struggle from his point of view. In the book, Mandela talks about his childhood, time in prison, and his political and social life. Throughout this journey, you see the development of an international hero, and one of the largest moral and political leaders. He uses various quotes to pursue his meanings in a secretive way; while creating a larger impact.
The book starts off with Mandela's childhood days and sketches out his family connections and his prospects if he had not become the father of the nation. Mandela's first step towards freedom was when he ran away to escape an arranged marriage. After his escape, his education life follows and his first trial to becoming an international hero. On pg. 24 of chapter 2, he says, “On the first day of school, my teacher, Miss Mdingane, gave each of us an English name and said that from thenceforth that was the name we would answer to in school. This was the custom among Africans in those days and was undoubtedly due to the British bias of our education. The education I received was a British education, in which British ideas, British culture, British institutions, were automatically assumed to be superior. There was no such thing as African culture. Africans of my generation—and even today—generally have both an English and an African name. Whites were either unable or unwilling to pronounce an African name and considered it uncivilized to have one. That day, Miss Mdingane told me that my new name was Nelson. Why she bestowed this particular name upon me I have no idea. Perhaps it had something to do with the great British sea captain Lord Nelson, but that would be only a guess.” Ever since his first day of school, he was already seen as “different”. They were taught all about British culture, and British institutions. Whites didn’t bother and try to pronounce his name. They also believed that Africans should have English names because their native names were uncivilized. This makes me wonder and feel amazed at how much society has changed in a positive manner. People now are much more united and significantly less ignorant. Later on in the story, Mandela talks in depth about his life in prison; it is both horrifying and edifying and it is during these chapters that the reader develops a strong empathy with the man. For example, on pg. 276 of chapter 61, he says, “ Prison is designed to break one's spirit and destroy one's resolve. To do this, the authorities attempt to exploit every weakness, demolish every initiative, negate all signs of individuality--all with the idea of stamping out that spark that makes each of us human and each of us who we are.” While prison is designed to break one’s spirit and destroy one’s resolve; Nelson didn’t let it get to him in his 27 years in prison. While I’ve never experienced something similar to this myself but I can imagine how authorities can try and demolish you mentally. This truly shows his colors; his spirit of compassion, forgiveness, inclusiveness, and ability to live by his principles that made him. In addition, the final parts of the book deal with his life after prison, politics and the dismantling of apartheid. It also deals with the elections, violence and how Mandela ultimately becomes President. For example, on pg. 127 of chapter 20, he says, “ Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farmworkers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”Education is what allows us to learn and grow. It is also what allows us to escape poverty. For instance, my parents came from Mexico to the U.S so I could get the chance to go to a university and live a better life than they did. Without education, no one would have the chance to better themselves, their families, or their future.
In conclusion, A Long Walk to Freedom was truly a magnificent journey and a must read. Mandela’s journey and his hardships all convey the message of, “fight for what you believe is right” and Mandela did just that. Nelson Mandela is truly worthy of his title of an “international hero”. The wisdom, fortitude, strength, and humanity of Nelson Mandela radiated from every page. I felt very enriched after closing the last page of the book, but I also felt an immense sense of anger after the final page; I wanted more! The autobiography creates another layer of perspective; after reading it you can not look at things the same anymore and it creates an experience as if you were the one going through this journey. It was truly a long, long walk to freedom.

 

» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mandela, Nelsonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
ÄLLI, Heikkisecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
BOTTINI, Adrianasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
BOUMA, PaddyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
CLINTON, BillForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
DUNCAN, Paulsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
GIRCOUR, Ritasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
GLOVER, Dannysecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
KANI, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
LARSSON, Gunillasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
MACAULEY, HarveyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
MCDOUGAL, Holtsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
PANSKE, GünterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
PAPI, Marcosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
PETERSEN, Arne HerløvTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
SUTTNER, Marcsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
WYK, Chris VANsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
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.
First words
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
Quotations
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. I felt fear more times than I can remember, but I hid it behind a mask of boldness. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
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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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Biography & Autobiography. History. Politics. Nonfiction. HTML:

The autobiography of global human rights icon Nelson Mandela is "riveting . . . both a brilliant description of a diabolical system and a testament to the power of the spirit to transcend it" (Washington Post).

Nelson Mandela was one of the great moral and political leaders of his 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. After his triumphant release in 1990 from more than a quarter-century of imprisonment, Mandela was 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 antiapartheid movement, he was instrumental in moving the nation toward multiracial government and majority rule. He is still revered everywhere as a vital force in the fight for human rights and racial equality.
Long Walk to Freedom is his moving and exhilarating autobiography, destined to take its place among the finest memoirs of history's greatest figures. Here for the first time, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela told the extraordinary story of his life ?? an epic of struggle, setback, renewed hope, and ultimate triumph.


The book that inspired the major motion picture Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

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Hachette Book Group

2 editions of this book were published by Hachette Book Group.

Editions: 0316548189, 1586216880

 

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