A young troublemaker grows up to be a civil rights activist, president of his country and world leader in this overview of the life and work of the Nobel Prize–winning peacemaker.
In an engaging narrative that avoids hagiography, Gormley chronicles Mandela’s childhood and youth as a village herder, his successful career as a lawyer defending victims of South Africa’s apartheid policies, his work with the African National Congress, his imprisonment on Robben Island, his presidency of post-apartheid South Africa and his efforts later in life as an international peacemaker. She effectively describes the gross injustices and absurdities of apartheid policies, including numerous examples of Mandela’s personal experiences living in a racist society. Mandela’s extraordinary ability as president to ease both the fearful suspicions of whites and the vengeful impulses of long-oppressed blacks, preventing the nation from plunging into civil war, is appropriately depicted as his crowning accomplishment. The author does note that Mandela was less successful in his personal life, with two failed marriages and estranged relationships with his children.
A complete, informative introduction to a nonviolent revolutionary and one of history’s most important champions of human rights. (photos, timeline, glossary, source notes) (Biography. 10-14)