Nelson Mandela, who emerged from twenty-six years of political imprisonment to lead South Africa out of apartheid and into democracy, is perhaps the world's most admired leader, a man whose life has been led with exemplary courage and inspired conviction.
Now Anthony Sampson, who has known Mandela since 1951 and has been a close observer of South Africa's political life for the last fifty years, has produced the first authorized biography, the most informed and comprehensive portrait to date of a man whose dazzling image has been difficult to penetrate. With unprecedented access to Mandela's private papers (including his prison memoir, long thought to have been lost), meticulous research, and hundreds of interviews--from Mandela himself to prison warders on Robben Island, from Walter Sisulu and Oliver Tambo to Winnie Mandela and F. W. de Klerk, and many others intimately connected to Mandela's story--Sampson has composed an enlightening and necessary story of the man behind the myth.
About the Author
Anthony Terrell Seward Sampson (3 August 1926 - 18 December 2004) was a British writer and journalist. He was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford and served with the Royal Navy from 1944-47. During the 1950s he edited the magazine Drum in Johannesburg, South Africa. During this time, Sampson met and formed relationships with future leaders such as Nelson Mandela, and writers like Nadine Gordimer.On returning to the United Kingdom he joined the editorial staff of "The Observer", where he worked from 1955-66. Sampson was the author of a series of major books, starting with "Anatomy of Britain "(1962). His main themes were how Britain works as a state, and large corporations. He was also a founding member of the (now defunct) Social Democratic Party (SDP).Sampson went on to write several other books about South Africa, including "The Treason Cage: The Opposition On Trial In South Africa" (1958), "Common Sense About Africa" (1960) and "South Africa: Two Views Of Separate Development "(1960) with S. Pienaar.Sampson was the author of several books on Britain, which began with "Anatomy of Britain" (1963). In these works he focused on an explanation of the British state and the functioning of large corporations. In 1977, Sampson began contributing to Newsweek, and it was during this time that he worked as an editorial consultant to the Brandt Commission. By the 1980s, Sampson was editing "The Sampson Letter, " and establishing links with the ANC in exile, as the apartheid era began to draw to a close.Sampson has narrated series for the BBC, and has held positions in various organisations including Chairman of The Society of Authors, trustee of the Guardian and Observer's Trust, and a member of the international advisory board of Independent Newspapers (South Africa).Sampson also wrote an official biography of Mandela, entitled "Mandela: The Authorised Biography" (1999), which won the Alan Paton Award.Sampson wrote his autobiography, "The Anatomist", before he died of a heart attack on 18 December 2004. He is survived by his wife, Sally (whom he married in 1965), and his two children.
"A lively, informative, often moving account of one of the century's most extraordinary lives." --The Boston Globe
"A truly heroic story of the founder of a nation, a man of shrewdness, humanity and simplicity whose power came not from military conquest, but from moral authority." --Chicago Tribune
"The triumph of Mandela is that it successfully demythologizes the man without in any way undermining his heroic stature." --The New York Times Book Review
"Sampson has created a work of astounding breadth." --Newsday