Reviews for Conversations With Myself

Booklist Reviews 2010 November #1
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 ("We kept warning each other we were living on borrowed time"), as he is about the universal (his letter from Robben Island to the authorities about the rights of prisoners). 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 time line, map, and detailed notes on related people, places, and events. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

Choice Reviews 2011 April
This compilation of Nelson Mandela's personal archives includes his prison letters, two major collections of taped conversations, pre-Robben Island notebooks, and a draft of an unfinished sequel to his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom (CH, Apr'95, 32-4642). Mandela's private archives do little to diminish his reputation as an iconic liberation leader. His notes reveal an individual who maintained his personal dignity during 27 years of incarceration through extraordinary self-discipline, openness to negotiating with his enemies, and willingness to treat even his most draconian warders with courtesy and respect. Above all, Mandela's letters and interviews reflect his commitment to his comrades and the freedom struggle. In a letter written in 1969, Mandela insisted that "as disciplined and dedicated comrades fighting for a worthy cause, we should be ready to undertake any tasks which history might assign to us however high the price to be paid may be." As the archives also reveal, one of the costs of Mandela's unflagging support for the struggle was a painful family life and the collapse of two marriages. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. Copyright 2011 American Library Association.

Library Journal Reviews 2010 May #2
Mandela draws on a private cache of material, including journals, diaries, and correspondence now archived at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, to offer this intimate look at a significant public life. A major document for a range of readers. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 October #2

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 antiapartheid 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 (officials even denied his requests to attend his mother's and son's funerals). 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. Photos. (Oct.)

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