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An unforgettable portrait of one of the most inspiring historical figures of the twentieth century, published on the centenary of his birth.


Arrested in 1962 as South Africa's apartheid regime intensified its brutal campaign against political opponents, forty-four-year-old lawyer and African National Congress activist Nelson Mandela had no idea that he would spend the next twenty-seven years in jail. During his 10,052 days of incarceration, Mandela wrote hundreds of letters to unyielding prison authorities, fellow activists, government officials, and most memorably to his courageous wife, Winnie, and his five children.


Now, 255 of these letters, a majority of which were previously unseen, provide the most intimate portrait of Mandela since Long Walk to Freedom. Whether writing about the death of his son Thembi after a request to attend the funeral was ignored, providing unwavering support to his also-imprisoned wife, or outlining a human-rights philosophy that resonates today, The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela reveals the heroism of a man who refused to compromise his moral values in the face of extraordinary human punishment. Ultimately, they position Mandela, along with Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., among the most inspiring historical figures of the twentieth century.



About the Author

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was born in Transkei, South Africa, on 18 July 1918. He joined the African National Congress in 1944 and was engaged in resistance against the ruling National Party's apartheid policies after 1948 before being arrested in August 1962. In November 1962 he was sentenced to five years in prison and started serving his sentence at Robben Island Prison in 1963 before being returned to Pretoria, where he was to later stand in the Rivonia Trial. From 1964 to 1982, he was again incarcerated at Robben Island Prison and then later moved to Pollsmoor Prison, during which his reputation as a potent symbol of resistance to the anti-apartheid movement grew steadily.

Released from prison in 1990, Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and was inaugurated as the first democratically elected president of South Africa in 1994. He is the author of the international bestsellers Long Walk to Freedom and Conversations with Myself.

Nelson R. Mandela and the Nelson Mandela Foundation / PQ Blackwell Ltd



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