Mandela: The Authorized Biography
Nelson Mandela, who emerged from twenty-six years of political imprisonment to lead South Africa out of apartheid and into democracy, is perhaps the world's most admired leader, a man whose life has been led with exemplary courage and inspired conviction.
Now Anthony Sampson, who has known Mandela since 1951 and has been a close observer of South Africa's political life for the last fifty years, has produced the first authorized biography, the most informed and comprehensive portrait to date of a man whose dazzling image has been difficult to penetrate. With unprecedented access to Mandela's private papers (including his prison memoir, long thought to have been lost), meticulous research, and hundreds of interviews--from Mandela himself to prison warders on Robben Island, from Walter Sisulu and Oliver Tambo to Winnie Mandela and F. W. de Klerk, and many others intimately connected to Mandela's story--Sampson has composed an enlightening and necessary story of the man behind the myth.
Mandela “isolated and lonely,” but they were surprised by his immaculate appearance and commanding presence. He was wearing a three-piece gray pinstripe suit, which a tailor had hurriedly made for him, and matching gray shoes. “You look like a prime minister now,” commented Brigadier Munro, the Prison Commander. “He exuded authority,” said the eminent persons’ report, “and received the respect of all around him, including his jailers.”16 Lord Barber, the most conservative member of the group, was
and wheeler-dealers. But his generosity could often make other people more generous, and could turn hostility into loyalty. His sudden bursts of anger—whether real or assumed—were all the more alarming. He could flare up if his dignity was offended, or if he felt patronized. But he remained a consummate politician with a long-term perspective and unbreakable nerve. He seemed undeterred by bad news: he would make a joke of it, his secretaries noticed, and stand taller.38 His self-assurance seemed
admit that “our credibility had been seriously damaged.” Belatedly he “began to suspect that some elements in the security forces might be dragging their feet.”39 Two weeks later he appointed a new commission under Judge Richard Goldstone, which after a slow start uncovered much more serious conspiracies. The ANC wanted to press home their advantage by stepping up mass action. But Mandela still wanted to negotiate, while churches and business leaders were clamoring for conciliation. In September
1956–1957 10 Dazzling Contender: 1957–1959 11 The Revolution That Wasn’t: 1960 12 Violence: 1961 13 Last Fling: 1962 14 Crime and Punishment: 1963–1964 PART II: 1964–1990 15 Master of My Fate: 1964–1971 16 Steeled and Hardened: 1971–1976 17 Lady into Amazon: 1962–1976 18 The Shadowy Presence: 1964–1976 19 Black Consciousness: 1976–1978 20 Prison Charisma: 1976–1982 21 A Family Apart: 1977–1980 22 Prison Within a Prison: 1978–1982 23 Insurrection: 1982–1985 24 Ungovernability:
“clearly out of practice as a lawyer,” and sometimes had to be helped by the prosecutor in his cross-examination.78 But when Verwoerd’s secretary, Mr. Barnard, testified about Mandela’s letter to the Prime Minister eighteen months earlier demanding a national convention, Mandela cross-examined him vigorously, claiming that it was improper of Verwoerd not to reply to a letter which raised such crucial issues. Barnard argued that Mandela’s letter was aggressive and discourteous, and not calculated