Mandela's Way: Fifteen Lessons on Life, Love, and Courage
Richard Stengel. Crown Archetype, $23 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-307-46068-4
After spending two years with Nelson Mandela collaborating on his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, author and Time managing editor Stengel (You're Too Kind) felt that leaving Mandela's side ""was like the sun going out of my life."" In 15 compelling chapters, Stengel uses his inside perspective and more than 70 hours of taped interviews to distill wisdom from ""the grandfather of South Africa,"" who recently turned 91, while also recounting stories from Mandela's childhood, his days as a revolutionary, his 27-year imprisonment, and his time negotiating for the country's first democratic elections. Stengel also explores Mandela's romantic relationships, including his three wives (the latest of whom, Graca Machel, he married at age 80). It's the intersection of Mandela's personal life with his part in world history that makes this portrait so vivid and compelling; indeed, the personal role he's played in Stengel's life (it was Mandela who urged Stengel to marry his wife; he became godfather to Stengel's first son) lend the volume's self-help aspects real resonance. Peeling back the many layers of Mandela's life, Stengel provides a clear view of Mandela's legacy and the lessons he has to teach.
Reviewed on: 03/29/2010