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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.
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.
36 of 37 people found this review helpful
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.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
The title is really all you need to know. This is an autobiography worthy of Mandela himself, and despite running at over 27 hours long, "Long Walk to Freedom" is never boring.
Despite certain criticisms I saw of the narrator in other Audible reviews, I found his narration pretty much as good as it could be. God knows I couldn't pronounce some of the place names he pronounces with aplomb.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
I definately would, this is one of the best books I have ever read.
What did you like best about this story?
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.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
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.
Any additional comments?
This is a book that should be read by everone in the world.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
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..
11 of 12 people found this review helpful
Of course when Mandela wrote the book his side had won so he could more easily look back with great grace and hindsight. But that these were key qualities of his is unmistakable. When he talks about noticing the goodness of humanity in small gestures of a prison guard, it is remarkable and telling. His immense patience with his friends and foes alike reminded me of Lincoln in a Team of Rivals. Both of these men had the great gift of taking the long view and we are all better for it.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to Long Walk to Freedom the most enjoyable?
I recently went to South Africa and this book came to life. I saw many of the places
What other book might you compare Long Walk to Freedom to and why?
It was easy to listen and is entertaining.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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!
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
A book that one can listen in one shot. Full of inspirational truth, showing not only the good but also the bad of a man who lived a life full of struggle but also and mainly meaning.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I've been listening to quite a few books lately, The Virgin Way, Elon Musk's book, benjamin Franklin's Bio, etc. and I can say this has to be the most powerful and driving book I have read amongst them. It was a visual journey that touched every emotion available. Many times I found myself laughing, other times I found myself in deep thought about human nature. The book itself was writen in a way that makes it easy to get involved in the story and enjoy it.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful