Long Walk to Freedom (Review)

Book cover for "Long Walk to Freedom" by Nelson Mandela.Title: Long Walk to Freedom

Author: Nelson Mandela

Narrator: Michael Boatman

Publication Year: 1995

Pages: 528 (audio length: 27 hours 43 minutes)

Genre: Non-Fiction, Autobiography

Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com

From the cover:

Nelson Mandela is one of the great moral and political leaders of our time: an international hero whose lifelong dedication to the fight against racial oppression in South Africa won him the Nobel Peace Prize and the presidency of his country. Since his triumphant release in 1990 from more than a quarter-century of imprisonment, Mandela has been at the center of the most compelling and inspiring political drama in the world.

I have to admit that I never really knew that much about Nelson Mandela. I knew he was an important world figure, and I vaguely knew that he had been in prison and had helped change the face of South Africa, but I was really short on the details. A little over a year ago, I visited South Africa over a school break, and learned a bit more about him, and that influenced me to pick up this book and listen to it during a subsequent holiday.

Long Walk to Freedom is definitely a good primer for someone who wants to know more about Mandela’s life before, during, and a little bit after his prison time. It’s a good overview in particular of how South Africa’s police, judicial, and political system treated him, and of the actual timeline of his life. And it’s a particularly interesting read when he talks about how his life was inside prison and how, from his perspective, his release came about.

I found that I wanted another book to help fill in the gaps, though. Mandela spent so much time in prison that he really wasn’t able to know a lot of what was going on in the outside world, so his narrative is told in a void. It would’ve been nice to have known what was going on outside the prison while certain things were happening, but I guess that’s outside the purview of an autobiography.

Regardless, I thought that Long Walk to Freedom was incredibly well done. The narrator did a great job of conveying the personal nature of the writing, and I found that I could just listen for hours at a time. This is definitely a good place to start if you want to learn more about Mandela’s life, especially in light of his aging and ailing health at the moment.


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