Writing with his characteristic elegance, insight and striking turn of phrase, Colin Bundy sets out to extricate the person of Mandela from a pervasive sense of Mandela; distinguishing between the actual, historical Mandela and a generalised and essentially mythical Mandela.
There are two main elements in this task. The first involves locating Mandela's life, his character and actions, in South African history, which Bundy does in five masterly chapters. The second element, the subject of the first and the final chapters, asks a different set of questions, about memory and remembering; about legacy in the long term.
This book will undoubtedly establish itself as the finest introduction to Mandela's life available. It is not only a skilful overview and summary of the 20th-century icon but a fresh and engaging look, each page revealing new insights and original observations expressed in felicitous prose. Colin Bundy is one of South Africa's foremost historians and the former Principal of Green Templeton College, Oxford.
His books include The Rise and Fall of the South African Peasantry and two Jacana pocketbooks, a biography of Govan Mbeki and Short-changed? South Africa since 1994.