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“Widely considered to be the most important biography of Nelson Mandela, Antony Sampson’s remarkable book has been updated with an afterword by acclaimed South African journalist, John Battersby.

Long after his presidency of South Africa, Nelson Mandela remained an inspirational figure to millions – both in his homeland and far beyond. He has been, without doubt, one of the most important figures in global history. His death, on 5 December 2013 at the age of 95, resonated around the world.

Mandela’s opposition to apartheid and his 27 year incarceration at the hands of South Africa’s all-white regime are familiar to most. In this utterly compelling book, eminent biographer Anthony Sampson draws on a fifty year-long relationship to reveal the man who rocked a continent – and changed its future.

With unprecedented access to the former South African president – the letters he wrote in prison, his unpublished jail autobiography, extensive conversations, and interviews with hundreds of colleagues, friends, and family – Sampson depicts the realities of Mandela’s private and public life, and the tragic tension between them. Updated after Sampson’s death with a new afterword by distinguished South African journalist John Battersby, this is the ultimate biography of one of the twentieth century’s greatest statesmen.


‘A magisterial, detailed and invaluable account of one of this century’s greatest figures … it is hard to believe that a better biography will ever be written.’ Justin Cartwright, Sunday Telegraph

‘Warmly to be welcomed, not least because it is more substantial and revealing than Mandela’s bestselling autobiography…a great leap forward in our understanding of a man who is both enigmatic and private…Anthony Sampson has carried out his difficult commission with skill and sensitivity’ Independent

‘This will be the last word on Mandela for years to come…it will be hard to improve upon this crowning conclusion to Sampson’s long career as a loving and expert chronicler of South Africa’ Evening Standard

‘Measured, detailed without a moment of tedium, incisive in its perceptions and at times, profoundly moving’ Observer

About the author

In the late 1950s Anthony Sampson spent four years in Johannesburg editing the black magazine Drum, an experience which led to a lifelong fascination with South African politics. He was on the staff of the Observer in the 1960s and his bestselling books have been translated into over 15 languages. He died in 2004.

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Readers' opinions about Mandela by Anthony Sampson

The plot twists were executed masterfully. I was left gasping at every unexpected turn, and the suspense kept me on edge throughout. Bravo to the author for keeping me guessing.

I couldn't stop raving about this book to my friends and family. It's a literary gem that deserves all the praise. I can't wait to dive into more works by this talented author.

I must confess, this book made me shed tears like never before. The themes of love, loss, and resilience struck a chord with my soul. It was an emotional journey I'm grateful to have taken.

More by Anthony Sampson

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