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.
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©1995 Nelson Mandela (P)2011 Hachette
"Narrator Michael Boatman has a gentle but insistent voice that suggests a certain grace and is well suited for the memoir of this worldwide symbol of persistence and justice. Boatman’s authentic pronunciation of South African tribes and other words also lends great credibility to his reading. He narrates at an unhurried pace and lingers on certain words throughout the book in order to let us inhale Mandela’s meanings." (AudioFile)
If the material itself were a little more "audio friendly," this would get 5 stars, but there are just way too many hours of names, dates and places. Some section are virtually just lists of events and who participated ... too much to make this an entirely enthralling listening experience. Regardless, it has much to recommend it and I do highly recommend it.
Michael Boatman does a very credible South African accent, although it slips away and then comes back at odd intervals. However, he puts a a lot of effort into properly pronouncing some difficult names and words in a language most non-Africans can't say at all, much less correctly. Moreover, he has a beautiful voice and does a fine acting job with material which gets very dry for extended periods.
This book is full of contradictions. In sections consisting of "lists," I gave up trying to remember exactly who was who and waited for the story to resume, letting my brain drift through details I could not follow .You may well want to read this book again in print. It is impossible to absorb or remember it all just listening to it.
The overall story is fascinating. Amazing. Nelson Mandela does a beautiful job of explaining this intricate and contradictory ... and crazily complex ... society where nothing is simple and not to be punny, nothing is black and white. There are villains and heroes, but plenty of shades of gray too. Everyone is human and multi-faceted.
Considering his own role in the story, Mandela is relentlessly honest. He does not use his book to excuse his own bad behavior. He is imperfect and takes responsibility for his actions, good and bad. He also takes credit and is not quite the humble fellow portrayed in movies and press. He's a proud man who worked hard and paid a heavy price to accomplish something no one believed possible. While he does not make himself out to be a super hero, he IS a hero ... in my opinion more heroic because of his fallibility and willingness to learn from errors. It is refreshing. Honesty is uncommon in political autobiographies.
So despite the fact that there are sections of material that make pretty dull listening, if you wait, the scene will shift and suddenly, there's tension and excitement. The story of how this strange nation emerged from the darkness into light is probably unique in human history and definitely worth listening to. If you have any interest at all in Africa, or even a mild curiosity, you should read it. I learned so much I will need to read it again. \
It's possibly the strangest combination of social groupings anyone could imagine. Melding them into a nation without the obvious huge obstacle of Apartheid would have been difficult. Given the realities, it is astounding that this is a success story. It boggles the mind.
From the point of view of production, it's very smooth with a nice use of occasional music for punctuation. Very well done all around.
Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear.
I knew so little about Nelson Mandela, it seemed only right to read his autobiography at the time of his death. The book is not a polished literary masterpiece and there are sections where you can space out as lists, abbreviations, repeated thoughts and the machinations of politics mire the story... a good edit would help. There is very little about his childhood, not much of anchoring South African history and it was written prior to his presidency... so left me wanting a more, as well as a little less. That said, it was a fascinating read and I enjoyed stepping into his mind and prison cell. He is very frank, admitting his own errors and those of his people, along with the many offenses of the apartheid government. Well worth the credit and time for me to better understand the South African fight for freedom though his eyes and experiences..
I definately would, this is one of the best books I have ever read.
The history and how it changed my views of Nelson Mandela. I used to think that he suffered a lot his whole life due to prejudice. But reading the book changed my mind. I now see him as an example of a great human who fought and won what we wanted for his nation.
Yes, when me meets Winie in person after so many years in prison. I met Winie with him, I was just so happy that I couldn't stop crying.
This is a book that should be read by everone in the world.
When I started this book, I thought "Wow, a 27-hour long book! I'll probably be sick of it by the end." But, in fact I found myself wish it had been much more detailed and much longer.
Nelson Mandela's life makes for a fascinating and inspiring story.
Michael Boatman's performance was amazing. Most of the time, it felt as it was Nelson Mandela himself talking.
I recently went to South Africa and this book came to life. I saw many of the places
It was easy to listen and is entertaining.
Amazing window into a different world (20th Century South Africa), and in a long but ultimately successful struggle. It is so easy to see how SA could have decayed into complete chaos like many other countries in Africa and in the Middle East...
I did not know almost any of this history. From an intellectual perspective, it was interesting to learn that unlike Gandhi, Mandela was not a proponent of non-violence regardless of circumstances.
Also interesting to see how Mandela just kind of drifted into this role (i.e. it was a very gradual process of increasing realization and involvement).
I love history, literature & photography
Ever Inspiring Legend
His speech in the court
Excellent , I felt it is Mandela's voice.
I recommend more such books.
It is a true story,that after nearly three decades of imprisonment,abuse, and,mental torture ,a person can forgive, go forward and the country follow the lead.The answer to hatred is forgivness.It saved South Africa from civil war,an example to other states
It is much more than a book.It transmit an attitude of forgivness.As a frequent visitor to South Africaiit deals in part with living history,peoples names in the book are often place names now
This book should be part of reading lists at schools to further understanding of different cultures and demonstates the overcoming of revenge and hatred is the way out of what can be a vicious cycle of cuture violence.It stimulates thought that had Gandhi lived the Indian continent might have been different now
Yes, in order to review the stages in his life.
His determination to find freedom for the natives of South Africa.
His voice in giving life to Mandela's words.
Fighting apartheid and finding freedom in South Africa
One fine book which took Nelson years to write, which he started in prison. Very touching to an American who distains prejudice and strongly admires this freedom fighter.
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I'm a big fan of Nelson Mandela and appreciate his incredible accomplishments and contributions to the South Africa and the world. However, let me warn you, if you are primarily interested in his experience in prison and afterwards this is not the book for you. That time in his life is only a small portion of the book. This book documents his life leading up to the more well known time in Mandela's life. Outstanding narrator!
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