A polemical biography of two South African leaders. Nelson Mandela's 25 years of imprisonment and silence have only increased his status as a symbolic leader of black South Africa. Though Mandela began his political career a staunch advocate of nonviolence, Vail claims that he has become more and more militant, as has the pattern of resistance to the white South African government. Vail frequently interrupts his narrative to detail atrocities or rail against the injustice of apartheid; however justified his opinions are, these discussions don't help readers toward deeper understanding of Mandela's beliefs or agenda. Winnie Mandela is presented as the proud, strong survivor of years of studied harassment, but her eloquence and political acumen don't really come through. She is seen only as a competent organizer on the local level. Plenty of murky b&w photos do extend the text, with fairly long captions that are sometimes carelessly written but provide a handy historical outline. As this covers events only to mid 1987, it barely updates Hoobler's drier but much more detailed Nelson and Winnie Mandela (1987). Bibliography, chronology, index.