This book encompasses Mandela’s inauguration as South Africa's first democratically elected president, his "retirement" campaigns for human rights, a solution to AIDS and poverty. It goes on to chronicle his later years and death. Throughout, the humanity and compassion of this extraordinary world leader shine through. The author concludes with a critical analysis of his and the ANC’s achievements, its leadership’s subsequent slide into corruption, and whether under new direction South Africa can reclaim the values and legacy of Mandela, and the ‘rainbow nation’ he created and led to such global acclaim.
Introduction: International Icon
Chapter 1: Roots
Chapter 2: Grooming a Chief
Chapter 3: Second Class
Chapter 4: Freedom Fighter
Chapter 5: Prisoner
Chapter 6: Resistance
Chapter 7: Victory
Chapter 8: President
Chapter 9: Mandela Magic
Chapter 10: Legacy Betrayed?
About the Author
Peter Hain’s excellent Mandela: His Essential Life, does not pretend to be anything more than, as he writes, a “short, popular and accessible book that tells Mandela's entire and remarkable story in a nutshell”. Actually, he does himself a disservice: it is much more than that, and is a serious analysis of Mandela’s place in history, his failings as well as his virtues.
It also contains a powerful final chapter on the betrayal of the Mandela legacy. In recent years, Hain, a second-generation anti-apartheid activist, has exposed the corruption of the Zuma presidency, and played no small part in bringing down the PR firm Bell Pottinger. It is a sad sequel to Mandel's life but a story of modern-day South Africa that needs to be told.
Summing Up: Recommended. All readership levels.
Subsequently a Labour MP and government minister, Peter Hain served in several prominent Cabinet positions including Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and Leader of the House of Commons. He is now a member of the House of Lords. A regular contributor to the daily nationals, he is also the author of 20 books including Don't Play with Apartheid, Mistaken Identity, A Putney Plot?,Sing the Beloved Country and his memoirs Outside In.