NELSON MANDELA IN HIS OWN WORDS

Nelson Mandela, Author, Kader Asmal, Editor, David Chidester, Editor , forewords by Bill Clinton and Kofi Annan. Little, Brown $28.95 (558p) ISBN 978-0-316-11019-8

This collection by former South African President Mandela presents the Nobel laureate's speeches on a wide variety of subjects. The book is organized topically; each section—on struggle, freedom, reconciliation, nation building, development, education and culture—is introduced with an essay by a leading spokesperson for the respective field (e.g., Bill Cosby, Desmond Tutu). Together, the speeches chart Mandela's evolution from freedom fighter (some might say "terrorist") to president to secular icon. Included is Mandela's famous speech to the Rivonia court before his sentencing on charges of insurrection, as well as his commentary on South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The sections on culture include essays on "Music, Dance, and Poetry" and "One City, Many Cultures." The cultural sections allow the reader to sense the fullness of Mandela's life beyond his political leadership. The collection forms an important record of the thoughts of a compelling historical figure and makes a nice companion to Mandela's autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom . But because the writings included are predominantly public statements, speeches and proclamations, the book suffers from redundancy and a somewhat monotonous style. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 11/29/2004
Release date: 12/01/2004
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