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A brief but moving look at the rare qualities of an effective, good-hearted leader.

Anecdotal, intimate remembrance of the South African leader by a journalist who grew to love him.

As the South African correspondent for the London Independent during the key years between the release of Nelson Mandela from prison in 1990 and his election as president of South Africa in 1994, Carlin (Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation, 2008) offers a thoughtful tribute to this unparalleled leader within the frame of his leadership legacy. The author looks at the various tactics Mandela used to bring about a nearly miraculous transition from apartheid to all-inclusive democracy in South Africa. His 27-year imprisonment had softened the edges of the African National Congress leader, who had served as head of the group’s armed wing. He was condemned in his 1964 trial for taking up arms against the state; in prison at Robben Island and elsewhere, Mandela had turned his unimaginable suffering into a sense of duty, gravitas and forgiveness, even of his enemies. In prison, his natural graciousness won over even his white guards, and he began to study Afrikaans in an attempt to understand the Afrikaner and his history. Mandela’s ability to take the long view, as Carlin delineates, allowed him to see beyond calls for vengeance after violence broke out within black townships, instigated by the rival Inkatha group or after the assassination of ANC leader Chris Hani by a white man in 1993. Mandela’s magnanimity disarmed both blacks and whites, and his incredible stature as a much-needed peacemaker largely kept his estranged wife from being prosecuted for the violence and murderous actions she had encouraged in her bodyguards. Carlin zeroes in on Mandela’s dignified capacity to allow all people, despite their backgrounds, to change and evolve for the good.

A brief but moving look at the rare qualities of an effective, good-hearted leader.

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2013

ISBN: 978-0062323934

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Perennial/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 6, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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