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Knowing Mandela

A Personal Portrait

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


Equal parts freedom fighter and statesman, Nelson Mandela bestrode the world stage for the past three decades, building a legacy that places him in the pantheon of history's most exemplary leaders.

As a foreign correspondent based in South Africa, author John Carlin had unique access to Mandela during the post-apartheid years when Mandela faced his most daunting obstacles and achieved his greatest triumphs. Carlin witnessed history as Mandela was released from prison after twenty-seven years and ultimately ascended to the presidency of his strife-torn country.

Drawing on exclusive conversations with Mandela and countless interviews with people who were close to him, Carlin has crafted an account of a man who was neither saint nor superman. Mandela's seismic political victories were won at the cost of much personal unhappiness and disappointment.

Knowing Mandela offers an intimate understanding of one of the most towering and remarkable figures of our age.

From Publishers Weekly

Dec 23, 2013 – Journalist Carlin's (Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation) thoughtful blend of biography and personal encounters with the South African leader during a tumultuous historical period reveals a majestic human being as he builds his legacy as the world leader we know him today. Mandela's unfailing courtesy to everyone quickly eroded Carlin's cynicism, developed over 30 years of covering dictators. In an attempt to determine if Mandela's graciousness was innate or calculated, Carlin followed Mandela for the five years of his presidency and interviewed countless individuals who knew him in many capacities at the height of his power. What emerges is a portrait of a man well deserving of the admiration of his followers but whose political triumphs were "won at the cost of unhappiness, loneliness and disappointment," not the least of which was his inability to "reconcile political and family life." Carlin's interviews with Mandela's guard during his imprisonment, with his secretary, his valet and the elderly widow of one of apartheid's founding fathers all reveal a man who offered ordinary respect to everyone. A telling note was his friendship with Queen Elizabeth, so strong he called her by her first name. Carlin's journalistic skills and his effort to be objective present a lively picture of a personally disciplined man of great kindness as well as a clear view of the vast challenges facing South Africa.
Knowing Mandela
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  • $7.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Dec 03, 2013
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial
  • Print Length: 160 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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