After 3 weeks, I’ve finally finished reading Nelson Mandela’s autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom”. As a rule, I shy away from autobiographies. Usually I regard them as hundreds of pages of shameless self promotion. Mandela’s autobiography stood out because of its honesty. At times it was hard to read about his political troubles, however he was brutally truthful about both the good and bad things he did. I’ve always viewed Mandela as both inspirational and remarkable, and I still withhold this view.
In terms of Mandela himself, I had mixed feelings towards him over the course of the book. At first I admired him, then I felt highly uncomfortable about some of his choices. I am happy to report that, overall, the book made me respect Mandela even more. Because of his endearing honestly, the book became rather personal. It was great to see that such an amazing person could admit to his flaws.
For all the book was well written, I will confess that some of the political language was hard to decipher. I understood it eventually, but it took a little while for me to comprehend some of the frequently used political terms. “Long Walk to Freedom” was written in a surprisingly simple style, which I was grateful for considering the length of the book. There were very few mistakes, and I’d perceive Mandela as a very intelligent man based on his writing.
In closing, “Long Walk to Freedom” is a book I’d only recommend to a certain type of person. If you have an interest in politics or history and enjoy a long book, this is for you. If you want a relatively short, fast-paced drama this isn’t for you. My only criticism of the book would be that it could be a 100 pages shorter without losing much information. While it’s fantastic that Mandela recalled so much of his life in detail, some of the stories he told felt unnecessary. If the book was shorter I think I’d be inclined to give it a higher rating.
“I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.” -Nelson Mandela
(I intend to start reading “The Book Thief” tonight, which I will review when I’ve finished reading it. In the meantime, follow my twitter @101rupert)