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Nelson Mandela, who emerged from twenty-six years of political imprisonment to lead South Africa out of apartheid and into democracy, is  perhaps the most admired and beloved man on earth, a leader 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 Ma n del a’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. Sampson has created an authoritative, objective, and, above all, wonderfully  readable biography.

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