Conversations with Myself

Nelson Mandela; Foreword by President Barack Obama

Picador

0312611684

9780312611682

Trade Paperback

480 Pages

$18.00

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Nelson Mandela is widely considered to be one of the most inspiring and iconic figures of the age. Now, after a lifetime of taking pen to paper to record thoughts and events, hardships and victories, he has bestowed his entire extant personal papers, which offer an unprecedented insight into his remarkable life.

Conversations with Myself draws on Mandela’s personal archive of never-before-seen materials to offer unique access to the private world of an incomparable world leader. Journals kept on the run during the anti-apartheid struggle of the early 1960s; diaries and draft letters written in Robben Island and other South African prisons during his twenty-seven years of incarceration; notebooks from the post-apartheid transition; privately recorded conversations; speeches and correspondence written during his presidency—a historic collection of documents archived at the Nelson Mandela Foundation is brought together into a sweeping narrative of great immediacy and stunning power. An intimate journey from Mandela’s first stirrings of political consciousness to his galvanizing role on the world stage, Conversations with Myself illuminates a heroic life forged on the front lines of the struggle for freedom and justice.

While other books have recounted his life from the vantage of the present, Conversations with Myself allows, for the first time, unhindered insight into Nelson Mandela himself.

REVIEWS

Praise for Conversations with Myself

"Outstanding for what it offers . . . Its collection of letters and meditations, together with its thorough index and appendix, belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in the nature of power and resistance."—J.M. Ledgard, The New York Times Review of Books

"A prisoner became a free man; a liberation figure became a passionate voice for reconciliation; a party leader became a president who advanced democracy . . . He has done so much to change his country, and the world, that it is hard to imagine the history of the last several decades without him."—from the foreword by President Barack Obama

"There are fascinating glimpses of the inner man, and flashes of his celebrated humor . . . Conversations presents a Mandela more people may feel they can emulate."—Chicago Tribune

"This book will reduce the reader to both rapture and tears . . . Deeply moving."—Financial Times (London)

"A literary album . . . Intensely moving, raw, and unmediated . . . Provides the fullest picture yet of Nelson Mandela . . . A necessary book."—Peter Godwin, The Observer (London)

"A truly unprecedented moment in publishing . . . Stunning . . . Nothing short of a monumental historical document."—The Daily Beast

"He has been called the most famous person in the world. Certainly for 27 years he was the most famous prisoner until his release in 1990 and then his election in 1994 as the first president of a democratic South Africa. He was welcomed by the Pope, the Queen, and world leaders everywhere. But even with the shelves of books by and about him, this volume of personal papers, published worldwide in 21 editions and languages, adds much that has never been said before about Nelson Mandela, including diary entries from his time in the underground, debates about passive resistance and guerrilla warfare, letters from prison, and recorded reminiscences with former fellow prisoners. Mandela knew that his letters, even those to his young daughters, might not get past the prison censors, so he kept copies in a journal that was always with him. Now official archivists have arranged this material chronologically, including some facsimiles in Mandela’s own handwriting. Yes, readers will skip some of the bits and pieces, but not much. He is as eloquent about the personal, such as his two-year “honeymoon” with his wife, Winnie, as he is about the universal. Sure to spark debate is Mandela’s answer to the famous criticism that he hurt his family to help the nation: he had to do it because 'hundreds, millions, in our country are suffering.' With a foreword by Barack Obama, this insightful volume includes a timeline, map, and detailed notes on related people, places, and events."—Hazel Rochman, Booklist

"The South African statesman and former political prisoner bares his mind and soul in this inspiring collection of writings and interviews. Culled from Mandela's letters, notebooks, taped conversations, prison diaries, calendars, and an unfinished autobiography, the material includes reminiscences of the anti-apartheid movement, lessons in revolutionary theory gleaned from his guerrilla training, vignettes of prison life, seething protests to authorities, tender missives to loved ones, canny political strategizing and quiet philosophical reflections. The entries recall moments of high drama, days of dreary routine and interludes of random strangeness, including a prison screening of Revenge of the Nerds. Mandela registers his anger at the humiliations and hardships imposed on him by apartheid, and his anguish over his long separation from his family. But what comes through most strongly is his steadfast resolve—'the knowledge that in your day you did your duty and lived up to the expectations of your fellow man is in itself a reward'—and a shrewd, ebullient humanity that finds and embraces the good even in his prison guards. The result is a moving account of Mandela's struggle and a testament to his triumph"—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads

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Conversations with Myself Chapter 1 

‘I shall stick to our vow: never, never under any circumstances, to say anything unbecoming of the other…The trouble, of course, is that most successful men are prone to some form of vanity. There comes a stage in their lives when they consider it permissible to be egotistic and to brag to the public at large about their unique achievements. What a sweet euphemism for self-praise the English language has evolved! Autobiography…’

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  • Conversations with Myself by Nelson Mandela--Audiobook Excerpt

    Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Nelson Mandela's book Conversations with Myself, narrated by John Kani. Nelson Mandela is widely considered to be one of the most inspiring and iconic figures of our age. Now, after a lifetime of taking pen to paper to record thoughts and events, hardships and victories, he has bestowed his entire extant personal papers, which offer an unprecedented insight into his remarkable life.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Nelson Mandela; Foreword by President Barack Obama

  • Nelson Mandela was born in Transkei, South Africa, on July 18, 1918. He joined the African National Congress in 1944 and was engaged in resistance against the ruling National Party’s apartheid policies after 1948. From 1964 to 1982, he was incarcerated at Robben Island prison and then later moved to Pollsmoor prison, during which time his reputation as a potent symbol of resistance to apartheid grew steadily. Released from prison in 1990, Mandela received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and was inaugurated as the first democratically elected president of South Africa in 1994. He is the author of the international bestseller Long Walk to Freedom.

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