Nelson Mandela

A Biography

by Peter Limb


Everyone needs to know the inspiring life story of Nelson Mandela, freshly retold here especially for students and general readers.

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Cover image for Nelson Mandela

February 2008


Pages 168
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics World History/Race and Ethnicity

Everyone should know the life story of Nelson Mandela, one of the greatest leaders of all time, the first black president of South Africa, the most famous African, and a major world statesman. His inspiring life receives a fresh retelling in this new biography written especially for students and general readers. This volume is an enjoyable, authoritative, and balanced way to not only understand a great man, but also to understand a critical time in world history and race relations. Mandela's quest for racial justice for black South Africans as a leader of the African National Congress led to twenty-seven years of imprisonment. South African Apartheid consumed the attention of the world, coming to a head in the 1980s. With intense international pressure on the Apartheid government, Mandela was finally freed in 1990. Through the landmark presidency of South Africa and post Nobel Peace Prize years up until today, he has continued as a peacemaker and agent for change.

Chapter 1 covers his birth into a strong Xhosa family and clan, with cultural, historical, and geographical context, and the next chapter follows his elite education path, taking into consideration the forces and people who helped shape the future leader. Chapter 3 discusses his law practice, African National Congress work, and his first wife. Chapters 4-6 continue with his growing political involvement and family. Chapter 7 and 8 deal with the long imprisonment and then freedom. The final chapters discuss his presidency and Nobel Peace Prize and life today. A timeline, photo essay, and selected bibliography complement the narrative.

Series Description

Greenwood Biographies

Ideal for student research assignments, this series features interesting and important figures—contemporary and historical—drawn from a broad range of curriculum subject areas, including history, science, politics, literature, and the arts. The series fills a gap in reference collections, offering full-length, engagingly written biographies that are enjoyable to read, based on authoritative research, and fully documented. Each volume includes:
  • Coverage from birth to death or the present day
  • Timeline highlighting significant biographical events and career contributions
  • Portfolio of photographs depicting the subject at different stages of life
  • Bibliography of print and electronic resources recommended for further study

From Bob Marley and Dr. Dre to Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice, the Greenwood Biographies spotlight the people who shape our world.


"This volume chronicles the South African leader's life chronologically. The opening chapter describes Mandela's childhood in a way that successfully explains the complicated social constructs of his family and village, as well as the political and historical realities of an emerging aparthied system. . . . A timeline and brief glossary of key terms will aid understanding, and a bibliography of additional print, film, and digital resources directs readers toward other helpful sources. In language, style, and length, this text is just sophistacted enough to challenge high school students but not overwhelm them in their search for extended texts for reading and research. This work will also appeal to adults looking for a short but engaging biography on one of the major political leaders of our time. Highly recommended for high school and public libraries."—Doug's Student Reference Room

"Designed specifically for high school and public libraries, this comprehensive biography series provides an excellent resource for learning about important people in our world."—MultiCultural Review

"Prof. Limb has done a commendable job on the biography. . . . Prof. Limb's biography takes the readers through the ups and the downs of this tumultuous life. At the end, one feels deeply elevated for having read about life of modern day miracle."—The Free Press Journal

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