Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
Author: Nelson Mandela
These are riveting memoirs of one of the great moral and political figures of our time, an international hero whose lifelong dedication to the fight against racial oppression in South Africa won him the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize and the presidency of his country. "Long Walk to Freedom" is his moving and exhilarating story.
Mandela recounts his youth, as the foster son of a Thembu chief, raised in the traditional tribal culture of his ancestors as he grew to learn the inescapable reality of apartheid oppression. In elegant prose, he tells of his early years as an impoverished student and law clerk in Johannesburg and of his slow political awakening. He also describes his personal struggles at that time of having to reconcile his political activity with family, the anguished breakup of his first marriage, and the painful separation from his children.
The escalating political warfare in the 1950s between the ANC and the government is vividly brought to life, culminating in Mandela's dramatic escapades as an underground leader and the notorious Rivonia Trial of 1964, at which he was sentenced to life imprisonment. He recounts the surprisingly eventful 27 years in prison and the complex negotiation which led to both his freedom and to the beginning of apartheid's end.
Here for the first time, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela tells of his extraordinary lifean epic of struggle, setback, renewed hope, and ultimate triumph
This fluid memoir matches South African President Mandela's stately grace with wise reflection on his life and the freedom struggle that defined it. Mandela began this book in 1975, during his 27-year imprisonment. He has fleshed out a sweeping story that begins in the rural Transkei in 1918 and moves beyond, especially to Johannesburg, where he became politically active as one of only a few black African lawyers. As an African National Congress leader, this military novice helped launch an armed struggle against the intransigent apartheid government, then eloquently explained his political convictions when on trial in 1964 for sabotage. Perhaps the most powerful passages involve the Robben Island prison, where political prisoners formed a ``university'' and Mandela read books like War and Peace, resisting embitterment and finding decency even in callous Afrikaner jailers. Moved to a mainland prison in 1985, Mandela, unable to consult with exiled ANC leaders, initiated intricate negotiations with the government; the story fascinates. This book-perhaps out of diplomacy and haste-covers the period since Mandela's 1990 release with less nuance and candor than other recent accounts; still his belief in repairing his country inspires. Mandela's family life has involved much sadness: he was not permitted a contact visit with wife Winnie for 21 years, was separated from his two young children and split with Winnie after his release, although he supported her during her 1991 conviction for kidnapping (a sentence she is appealing). ``In South Africa,'' he notes, ``a man who tried to fulfill his duty to his people was inevitably ripped from his family and his home.'' Photos not seen by PW. (Dec.)
This is an articulate, moving account of Mandela's life from his "country childhood" following his birth on July 18, 1918 to his inauguration as president of South Africa on May 10, 1994. Mandela traces the growth of his understanding of the oppression of the blacks of South Africa; his conviction that there was no alternative to armed struggle; his developing belief that all people, black and white, must be free for true freedom; and the effect that his commitment to overthrowing apartheid had on his family, who "paid a terrible price." Over a third of Mandela's memoir tells of his 27 years in prison, an account that could stand alone as a prison narrative. He ends his book with the conclusion that his "long walk" for freedom has just begun: "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." Highly recommended for all collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/94.]-Maidel Cason, Univ. of Delaware Lib., Newark
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The Irony of American History
Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
“[Niebuhr] is one of my favorite philosophers. I take away [from his works] the compelling idea that there’s serious evil in the world, and hardship and pain. And we should be humble and modest in our belief we can eliminate those things. But we shouldn’t use that as an excuse for cynicism and inaction. I take away . . . the sense we have to make these efforts knowing they are hard.”—Senator Barack Obama Forged during the tumultuous but triumphant postwar years when America came of age as a world power, The Irony of American History is more relevant now than ever before. Cited by politicians as diverse as Hillary Clinton and John McCain, Niebuhr’s masterpiece on the incongruity between personal ideals and political reality is both an indictment of American moral complacency and a warning against the arrogance of virtue. Impassioned, eloquent, and deeply perceptive, Niebuhr’s wisdom will cause readers to rethink their assumptions about right and wrong, war and peace.
“The supreme American theologian of the twentieth century.”—Arthur Schlesinger Jr., New York Times
“Niebuhr is important for the left today precisely because he warned about America’s tendency—including the left’s tendency—to do bad things in the name of idealism. His thought offers a much better understanding of where the Bush administration went wrong in Iraq.”—Kevin Mattson, The Good Society
“Irony provides the master key to understanding the myths and delusions that underpin American statecraft. . . . The most important book ever written on US foreignpolicy.”—Andrew J. Bacevich, from the Introduction
Table of Contents:INTRODUCTION
I. The Ironic Element in the American Situation
II. The Innocent Nation in an Innocent World
III. Happiness, Prosperity and Virtue
IV. The Master of Destiny
V. The Triumph of Experience Over Dogma
VI. The International Class Struggle
VII. The American Future
VIII. The Significance of Irony