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The Essential Nelson Mandela Reading List

7:07 PM, Dec 8, 2013   |    comments
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Nelson Mandela is remembered as an iconic activist, an empathetic leader and the public face of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. Learn more about the former South African president, who died Dec. 5 at 95, with these books by and about him, written for readers of all ages:

Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
By Nelson Mandela
"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion," Mandela writes in this comprehensive autobiography, published in 1994. Beginning with his early life, the memoir recounts Mandela's rise to leadership and his thoughts during his 27-year imprisonment, building up to his election as president of South Africa in 1994. The basis for the current movie, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

Conversations with Myself
By Nelson Mandela (paperback edition has a foreword by Barack Obama)
Mandela opened his personal archive for this collection of letters, prison diaries, calendars and transcripts from more than 50 hours of recordings, which gives readers a raw, unfiltered glimpse into his mind-set. The book, published in 2010, also contains unfinished passages Mandela wrote in the process of putting together Long Walk to Freedom.

Nelson Mandela: A Life in Photographs
By David Elliot Cohen, text by John D. Battersby
Nelson Mandela was a man of words, but photos of his struggle are often just as moving. This 2009 coffee-table book mixes rarely seen images and more iconic photos that encapsulate Mandela's career - from activist, to prisoner, to Nobel Peace Prize-winning symbol of compassion - and pairs them with text by South African journalist Battersby.

Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation
By John Carlin
"Sports has the power to change the world," Mandela once said. Carlin's book, which was adapted into the 2009 movie Invictus (directed by Clint Eastwood, starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon), tells the story of how the leader used the finals of the 1995 rugby World Cup to help mend a racially divided South Africa.

Long Walk to Freedom (for children)
Abridged by Chris van Wyk, illustrated by Paddy Bouma
Paired with vibrant illustrations, van Wyk adapts Mandela's best-selling autobiography for the younger set, covering his childhood, education and the forces that led him into the public sphere as a political activist.

Nelson Mandela (for children)
By Kadir Nelson
Award-winning artist and author Kadir Nelson brings his powerful, evocative style in this illustrated picture-book biography of the global icon.

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