An unprecedented personal portrait of one of the great leaders of our time, in his own words.
Nelson Mandela is 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 opened his personal archive, which offers an unprecedented insight into his remarkable life.
Conversations With Myself gives readers access to the private man behind the public figure: from letters written in the darkest hours of Mandela's twenty-seven years of imprisonment to the draft of an unfinished sequel to Long Walk to Freedom. Here he is making notes and even doodling during meetings, or recording troubled dreams on the desk calendar of his cell on Robben Island; writing journals while on the run during the anti-apartheid struggles in the early 1960s, or conversing with friends in almost seventy hours of recorded conversations. In these pages he is neither an icon nor a saint; here he is like you and me.
An intimate journey from the first stirrings of his political conscience to his galvanizing role on the world stage, Conversations With Myself is a rare chance to spend time with Nelson Mandela the man, in his own words: direct, clear, private.
©2010 Nelson R. Mandela and The Nelson Mandela Foundation (P)2010 Macmillan Audio
"The book is intensely moving, raw and unmediated, told in real time with all the changes in perspective that brings, over the years, mixing the prosaic with the momentous." (Peter Godwin, Observer)
"Gathered from letters and bits of Mandela’s unpublished autobiography, this book offers fresh and moving insights into the man behind the symbol...The real miracle was to sustain himself with such strength and dignity through more than a quarter century of often hideous imprisonment, refusing all blandishments and conditional offers of freedom. Loving Winnie with all his heart was simply necessary to that prodigious effort, before which we can only stand in awe and admiration." (R W Johnson, Sunday Times Culture)
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"Worthwhile if you don't expect a coherent story"
Conversations with myself is an attempt to demythologise Nelson Mandela and bring you nearer to the human being. The book is made up of extracts from letters, interviews and other personal writing by Mandela, depicting him as a man that made mistakes, has emotions, but learned from his experiences.
Initially I thought that I will be listening to moral lessons with not much of its content rooted in stories and history. I was pleasantly surprised. This book opened up a new understanding of Nelson Mandela the person.
I don't think John Kani is the right person to read this book. His accent sounds very West African, which threatened to alienate. I think there are quite a few good South African readers that could've performed the task. While I can hear that Kani tried his best to pronounce the Xhosa phrases, found in some places in the book, correctly, he failed miserably with the pronunciation of Afrikaans.
The audio book has one big bonus that makes it worthwhile all together. At the end some of the archival material of the actual interviews with Nelson Mandela has been added. You hear Mandela's own voice as he relates some of his experiences in life.
In the end I enjoyed this book. It seems it has the aim to "rebrand" Mandela from a saint to a human being.
It comes highly recommended to those who don't want another autobiography, but better insight in to the psyche of the former president of South Africa. I would recommend that you first listen to Mandela's "Long walk to Freedom" to get a framework of reference in which the events in this book can be placed.
Very heavy weighted, heavy going.. Boring dialogue and undersandibly so, but not interjected with any humour or anecdotes. War and Peace style!
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