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Publisher's Summary

The riveting memoirs of the outstanding moral and political leader of our time, Long Walk to Freedom brilliantly recreates the drama of the experiences that helped shape Nelson Mandela's destiny. From his beginning in the Transkei to his being taken to Robben Island, this is the remarkable story of how a man rose so far, only to be sentenced to life imprisonment.

Emotive and compelling, this is the story of an epic life. This audiobook includes a foreword written and read by Kofi Annan, Nelson Mandela's Presidential Oath of Office, an afterword from Sharon Gelman, and an interview with Long Walk to Freedom collaborator Richard Stengel.

©1994 Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (P)2011 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Burns with the luminosity of faith in the invincible nature of human hope and dignity...Unforgettable" (Andre Brink)

"Enthralling...Mandela emulates the few great political leaders such as Lincoln and Gandhi, who go beyond mere consensus and move out ahead of their followers to break new ground" (Donald Woods in the Sunday Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Awesome content, AWEFUL AWEFUL reader

What did you love best about Long Walk to Freedom, Vol. 1?

The story of Long Walk to Freedom, as a view of the growth of South African politics from the eyes of Nelson Mandela, is timeless. As a South African, it is absolutely crucial to know and understand how we came to be the way we are, and the individuals (although the roles of all the them were not detailed in this book - not enough space!) that were instrument to the changes.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Long Walk to Freedom, Vol. 1?

A particular image of the political prisoners on Robben Island cooking mussels, abalone, and crawfish on the beach while doing "hard labour" :)

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The pronunciation of the Afrikaans and African words and names were HORRENDOUS. Why was a South African not employed to read this text? Just because you got a black guy to read a book written by a black man doesn't mean that he'll get the words right!! If this book teaches one ANYTHING, it's that the colour of your skin says NOTHING about you. Micheal Boatmen may be black, but he is NOT South African, and he says the words "veld", "rondavel", "knopkirrie", "Xhosa" and numerous others COMPLETELY wrong. His pronunciation of "Ag,", "Groote Schuur", and the names like "Mr Willemse", "Johan Strijdom", "Mr Viljoen", "Mr Botha".... it was AGONISING listening to Michael tear apart the commonly heard South Africa sounds so thoroughly. This isn't just a text on South African politics, it reflects on South African culture in more ways than one. It is tantamount that a narrator gets things as basic as pronunciation correct! I hear at the end that there was a "language consultant" that was employed. CLEARLY that person was NOT qualified in ANY way for this job! Ask ANY South African how to pronounce these words, and most would do it for FREE!!!<br/><br/>If you don't know what these words are meant to sound like, ignore all this, it's a GREAT book. If you're from SA and have the time to read the book, save yourself the aural agony.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The content made me laugh, cry, and giggle in relation to Madiba. It's a great text, and although it's quite biased to his point of view, it IS an autobiography. <br/><br/>The narration made me cringe and wished that I'd bought the ebook and read it instead... at least my brain would have pronounced the words correctly.

Any additional comments?

Just to re-iterate that you should have gotten a South African and NOT and American to read this particular book out loud... Michael Boatman puts on an "African" accent, but the words that Really needed the "African" touch were failed abysmally.<br/><br/>This is also more of a Biography than an Autobiography, since Madiba didn't really have the time to write this text. Richard Stengel did a phenomenal job though, and of course it'll sell better as "written by Nelson Mandela", than Stengel.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Narrator disappointing

I read this book many years ago, and coming up to Madiba's birthday I thought it would be a good book to re-read. This time I chose an audio format. Being a South African, the narrative was very disappointing and distracting. If you wanted an African to narrate this book for authenticity, an African should have been used, not an American. The accent was fake and many truly South African names, phrases and expressions were terrible. It was difficult to listen to someone trying very hard to be something he wasn't, would have been entirely American or African. As the narrator became tired it was apparent and when he started again, the accent was over exaggerated.

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Great Work ( Biography); Challenges With Reading

Would you consider the audio edition of Long Walk to Freedom, Vol. 1 to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the print version. One of the reasons I decide to listen instead of read is because of the length of the work.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Long Walk to Freedom, Vol. 1?

Understanding some of the things that shaped Mandela from childhood to youth.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Michael Boatman and Kofi Annan ?

I don't know many other narrators by name. However, I would've cast someone who could pronounce the names of people and places the way they should be. Michael Boatman is a great reader but failed dismally to pronounce most names and places of people. While this might not seem a big deal, it makes it difficult to follow through and further look up some of these people and places. The failure to pronounce names is almost offensive, especially when you consider the length of the reading. For someone who has some familiarity of names and how they should be said, it is a huge let down.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Tough question. The entire work is moving.

Any additional comments?

Great biography. The reader almost ruined it with failure to say names of people and places the way they should be.

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Great story

Loved it. Story of one of the greatest man being told by himself in quite a humble manner. I came out with the moral that great people are just like normal people who have made correct and brave choices in their lives.

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Inspiring Biography!!

Story in the beginning is little hard to hold unto. However the events in the second half of the audio are very interesting and hard to let go in between.
I found the narrators vocabulary very clear and easily understandable despite some unconvincing reviews.
Overall it's a great experience listening to the audio from start till the finish. Looking forward for a better part-2 with some more great inspiration to take along with me.

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  • david
  • Pretoria, South Africa
  • 04-12-14

Poor Narration

This is a great story, by a great man, but it is tremendously annoying that the narrator did not take the time, effort, and courtesy out of respect to author story and listeners, to learn how to pronounce South African vernacular correclty

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World's worst narration

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

A different narrator. What's with the fake accent and the inability to pronounce regular South African words? So so embarrassing.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Michael Boatman and Kofi Annan ?

Anyone who doesn't think faking an African accent is ok. Kofi Annan is fine.

Any additional comments?

A wonderful story spoiled in the telling by bad audio choices on the part of the producers. suggest going for the e- or the print version.

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  • Donn Edwards
  • 12-10-13

Dreadful Narrator, Great History

The publishers can now rename themselves as Hatchet audio for the singularly dreadful choice of narrator. While he does a better job than Danny Glover, it is only marginally better. I simply cannot fathom why the publishers couldn't have found a South African narrator to do the reading. There are plenty of good ones.

Any narrator who reads a South African novel and cannot manage simple words like "veld" and "Drakensberg" should not bother to apply. And the phony black accent is insulting. Really insulting. Didn't they learn anything by reading the book?

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Monica
  • 05-21-16

A true Saint

I was not only amazed by the journey, but also the strength, courage and tenacity shown by a true Saint.

Of course to regular politicians his goals and desires must have felt so awkward !!

And of those that labelled him a terrorist and then later embraced him. Shame on Margaret Thatcher who not only called him a terrorist but went to lengths to support big business in South Africa, not least Barclays Bank...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Rory I.
  • 07-07-14

An intriguing learning experience

What did you like most about Long Walk to Freedom, Vol. 1?

As an ex-pat of South Africa it was a major eye opener. We were taught history in a way that removed us from reality. Reading Mandel's recounting of what really happened, was exciting and stomach churning at the same time. We acted disgustingly and it is amazing that this man could have forgiven us for it all.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Long Walk to Freedom, Vol. 1?

Mandela's ability to make things happen, first with his school and then with work, and finally with his business interactions with the bigoted whites.

What about Michael Boatman and Kofi Annan ’s performance did you like?

It gave a flavour of Africa, which I miss so much, well read and very engaging.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It upset me to think that a large portion of my life was lived under a lie. Created by a bigoted nation.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jane
  • 11-21-17

Oh dear!

Audible should hang their heads in shame about this audio. Using Boatman to narrate the autobiography of one of the world's most respected political leaders, who is also black, is surely akin to using white actors to play black people in theatre. Addiing insult to the injury, Boatman has made little effort to discover how to pronounce isiXhosa words and mangles a large part of the text by pronouncing many, many words incorrectly. My ears have been assaulted. Audible has a responsibility to respect the integrity of its authors. This audio is a disgrace

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-07-17

Mandiba!

Insightful, thought-provoking and an utterly thrilling book! would highly recommend it as both an educational piece or simply an enchanting tale

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-03-16

One of the best autobiography ever written!

This is, by far, one of the best autobiography ever written! It's narrated like a novel, full of political and military lessons as well as key principles of life. This first volume will take you on a roller coaster ride full of suspense and thrills. Take lessons about life in an apartheid state and build an extensive vocabulary from a village boy who became a lawyer then an outlaw and later went on to make history!

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  • Trish Chipman
  • 06-09-15

Madiba's life says it all!

Where does Long Walk to Freedom, Vol. 1 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I've read the book several times but that did not take away from my enjoyment of hearing Madiba's story again! So inspirational! Thank you!

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  • mr daniel w fricker
  • 02-16-15

Inspirational

This may be an over used word for madiba, but still the most accurate description. For me, listening to the audiobook made the whole story more powerful.

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  • Mark
  • 08-20-14

What Did He Say?

The autobiography of one of the most influential human beings this world has ever known, a fascinating story... and the narrator could not pronounce names of people and places, or local expressions and language. I'm sorry to say that along with the intense emotions this book evoked in me as a South African, I will have a memory of Michael Boatman's butchering of Mqhekezweni, Qunu and Constand Viljoen

Mr Boatman's voice has a lovely timbre and pace but his inability to pronounce Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho and Afrikaans names, expressions, and colloquialisms really detracted form his performance. If there are other narrators of this work available, I'd recommend that you give them a try.

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  • eeyore
  • 07-07-14

I felt I took the long walk with him

What did you like most about Long Walk to Freedom, Vol. 1?

It was honest account of what lead up to Nelson Mandela's imprisonment.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Nelson Mandela

What about Michael Boatman and Kofi Annan ’s performance did you like?

He gave the right amount of emotional emphasis to the story. Bring the words to life. Kofi Annan spoke from the heart.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made we angry that human can treat each other in such an appaling way.

Any additional comments?

I would recommend this book to anyone.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-11-16

Mandela I salute you

This is a man I true now admire - this book should be pasted down though the ages - I would sure loved to have heard him speak

1 of 1 people found this review helpful