NO BREAD FOR MANDELA by Ahmed Kathrada

NO BREAD FOR MANDELA

Memoirs of Ahmed Kathrada, Prisoner No. 468/64

KIRKUS REVIEW

Anti-apartheid political prisoner Kathrada examines his actions and the aftermath that resulted in 30 years of imprisonment. 

The author offers a unique behind-the-scenes view of South Africa's apartheid struggles. After being misidentified as an antigovernment militant, Kathrada was imprisoned alongside the country's future leaders, including future president Nelson Mandela. In Mandela's introduction, he notes his and Kathrada's interconnected stories, how “the telling of one without the voice of the other being heard somewhere would have led to an incomplete narrative.” While Mandela's political success has allowed his name to become far more recognizable throughout the world, Kathrada's literary contribution reveals a much-needed layer of history of both men's experiences. The author gives the reader a glimpse behind the prison door, but also offers a historical perspective of the fierceness of the South African race problem. In one memorable scene, Kathrada described placing an inebriated political enemy in a compromising situation involving a prostitute. However, once the pictures were snapped and the evidence gathered, he brought them to Mandela who, rather than encouraging their publication, helped Kathrada weigh the moral cost of destroying a man's career simply for disagreeing with his politics. After much reflection, Kathrada destroyed the incriminating photos, sparing the man his much-deserved shame while revealing an instance of rare civility when none was ever offered to him.

An intimate, welcome first-person account of a portion of South African history that remains foggy to many American readers.

Pub Date: April 15th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8131-3375-1
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: Univ. Press of Kentucky
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2011




GREAT HISTORICAL BOOKS:

Nonfiction NO BREAD FOR MANDELA by Ahmed Kathrada
by Ahmed Kathrada
Nonfiction THE TALIBAN SHUFFLE by Kim Barker
by Kim Barker
Nonfiction THE LAST JEW OF TREBLINKA by Chil Rajchman
by Chil Rajchman
Nonfiction IN THE GARDEN OF BEASTS by Erik Larson
by Erik Larson

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

NonfictionBEYOND GOOD INTENTIONS by Tori Hogan
by Tori Hogan
NonfictionALAN PATON by Peter F. Alexander
by Peter F. Alexander
NonfictionSAVING NELSON MANDELA by Kenneth S. Broun
by Kenneth S. Broun