Mandela, Nelson. Conversations with Myself

Nelson Mandela

Conversations with Myself is the autobiography of Nelson Mandela. It covers his life from the time he was born up to the printing in 2010. This comprehensive book explores in detail many of the events that took place during his struggle for freedom. This book has a foreword by President Barack Obama.

Based on question-answer format, this book documents much of Nelson Mandela’s recollections of the past. The questioners are Stengel and Kathrada, who perform a good task of bringing out interesting facts.

On the very first page, Mandela mentions that it is within easy reach of every soul to be honest, sincere, generous, and compassionate. This very much sets the tone for the rest of the book. However, now that he is not with us it perhaps also serves as a message to humankind.

This book is also in the format of a history book offering a learning opportunity and experience. Appendix A consists of a time line covering all the major events from 1918 to 2010. Appendix B consists of a map of South Africa listing all the towns and their descriptions.

A map of the continent of Africa and the routes Nelson Mandela took in 1962 when he visited twelve of the African states provides a useful side reference. There is also a list of all the African countries, abbreviations of their organisations, and a list of their key people.

In this book, he mentions that as a young man he admired Neru and his fighting spirit; however, in old age he sees why Gandhi had the better approach.

I have always been inspired by Nelson Mandela's immense gift of forgiveness; he was imprisoned for over 27 years on Robben Island as prisoner number 466/64. Yet when finally released, his first actions were to seek reconciliation.

I remember participating on a Free Nelson Mandela rally march with some of my school friends. We used a roll of wallpaper to make a banner, and wrote in big letters in red paint, Free Nelson Mandela and then in small letter, you fascists...

This book charts the life of a remarkable person who started life with a fighting spirit just as Neru did, but somehow later became more like Gandhi. The symmetry of this transformation reflects humanity and the stages we all pass through.

In this book, he reveals some of the agonising decisions and steps he had to take towards freedom, which we now call the long walk. In the end, it is always a long walk, and it is never an easy one, so I was fascinated with the thinking process he used to solve many of the problems he encountered. This book highlights many of them.

This book also demonstrates how the first instinct is to fight, yet paradoxically, it is the non-fighting and non-violence that yields a better result. Certainly, a full-blown war would have been catastrophic on all sides.

This wonderful book is highly recommended. It should serve generations of readers very well.

Foreword by President Barack Obama

Conversations with myself - Book Cover

[Braille Monitors] The back cover reads, A little more than two decades after I made my first foray into political life, I stood in Mandela's former cell in Robben Island. Standing there, I tried to transport myself back to those days when President Mandela was still Prisoner 466/64 - a time when the success of his struggle was by no means a certainty. I tried to imagine Mandela - the legend who had changed history - as Mandela the man who had sacrificed so much for change.

Conversations with Myself does the world an extraordinary service in giving us that picture of Mandela the man.

 - President Barack Obama


TitleConversations with Myself
AuthorNelson R. Mandela
ISBN Number978 0 230 74901 6
Copyright HolderNelson R. Mandela
First Printed2010
QuestionersStengel and Kathrada
Last Page Number453
Cover Price£25.00
PrintersCPI Mackays
Cover DesignsAndrew Zuckerman, Matthew Willman
AvailabilityAmazon and all good online bookstores