Nelson Mandela: A Very Short Introduction

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OUP Oxford, Jul 17, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 204 pages
Nelson Mandela--is it possible to say who or what he is? Yes, he was one of the world's longest-detained political prisoners. He is a universal symbol of social justice certainly; an exemplary figure connoting non-racialism and democracy; a moral giant. For years a man cut off from the world, Mandela became after his 1990 release an internationally recognizable icon. But why should his story be important to us in the world at large today? What do his achievements signify not only nationally in South Africa but also internationally? This book is about the different, interconnected stories, histories, values and symbols that Nelson Mandela embodies. Across his life Mandela has filled a rich range of roles: handsome city-slicker, dashing guerrilla, the millennial saviour figure. By examining these different roles as well as the principles which lie behind and motivate them, this Very Short Introduction presents an analytical portrait of a shape-shifting life. Set within a biographical frame, the book offers a more deeply personal analysis of Mandela than biographies centred on the towering public figure have been able provide.
About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.
 

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Contents

story and symbol
1
the early years
17
later years
51
4 Influences and interactions
82
5 Sophiatown sophisticate
110
6 Masculine performer
123
7 Spectres in the prison garden
149
8 Mandelas ethical legacy
170
Further reading
182
Chronology
190
Index
197
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About the author (2008)


Elleke Boehmer is Professor in World Literatures in English at the University of Oxford. She is the author of the widely acclaimed Colonial and Postcolonial Literature: Migrant Metaphors (1995), Empire, the National and the Postcolonial (2002), Stories of Women: Gender and Narrative in the Postcolonial Nation (2005), as well as of three novels set in South Africa.

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