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Mandela: A Biography    by Martin Meredith order for
by Martin Meredith
Order:  USA  Can
PublicAffairs, 2010 (2010)

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* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

First published in 1997, Martin Meredith's Mandela: A Biography has been completely updated and six new chapters have been added.

Besides charting the South African's early days, his lengthy imprisonment, and his subsequent rise to power in the post-apartheid government of South Africa, this re-issued volume also looks at Nelson Mandela's life after he left office.

Martin Meredith offers insights into the enduring friendships Mandela formed among white and black leaders, the influential role played by his communist colleagues and the political leader's rather turbulent family life.

'His private life was plagued by difficulty and disaster,' writes Meredith of his subject. 'Upon his release from prison, he had hoped above all else to re-establish a family home. But the wayward conduct of his wife, Winnie, her criminal activities and flagrant infidelity all blighted his late years of freedom.'

This insightful biography notes Nelson Mandela's flaws and failures that have had as much an impact on his career as his well chronicled achievements. As he tries to separate the man from the myth, the author provides new perspectives on Mandela's legacy and tries to assess whether the black leader's hopes for a new South Africa have been realized.

With international attention focusing on the country thanks to the World Cup play-offs, this might be a good time to learn more about this larger-than-life personality who set the African country on its new course.

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