Long Walk to Freedom Book Summary - Long Walk to Freedom Book explained in key points
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Long Walk to Freedom summary

The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

4.5 (195 ratings)
24 mins

Brief summary

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela is an autobiographical book detailing Mandela's life, imprisonment, and eventual presidency in South Africa. It's a powerful and inspiring story of perseverance and the struggle for racial equality.

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    Long Walk to Freedom
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    Nelson Mandela's interest in social justice began during his childhood in rural South Africa.

    Nelson Mandela hardly needs an introduction. His life story is a classic tale of one man's struggle against oppression, and we'll certainly be telling it for years to come.

    Mandela was born in 1918, in Mvezo, a small village in the South African countryside. He belonged to the Xhosa tribe, a proud ethnic group that highly valued law, courtesy and education. At birth, he was named Rolihlahla, which means “trouble maker” in the Xhosa language.

    Mandela's father, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, was a chief in the tribe, a distinction that traditionally would have endowed him with high social status in the community. The British influence, however, had weakened the authority of tribal chiefs, so the position carried little political clout at the time.

    Additionally, the British could oust anyone who threatened their authority, because each chief had to be ratified by the government. Mandela's father was very headstrong and often challenged them, and it wasn't long before the British revoked his status as chief.

    When Mandela's father died, another regent of the tribe, Jongintaba, offered to become Mandela's guardian. This would end up having a huge impact on his life.

    As a child, Mandela often attended tribal meetings at the regent's court, where he learned about the plight of his people. One of the most prominent figures there was Chief Joyi, an elderly chief with royal lineage who railed against white supremacy.

    Chief Joyi taught that the surrounding tribes had lived peacefully until white Europeans arrived and sowed the seeds of conflict. The white man, he said, was greedy and stole land that should've been shared, shattering the tribes' unity.

    Later in his life, Mandela would learn that Chief Joyi's history lessons hadn't always been correct. Nonetheless, they influenced his life dramatically: they opened his eyes to social injustice.

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    What is Long Walk to Freedom about?

    Nelson Mandela's A Long Walk to Freedom (1994) is one of the most famous autobiographies of recent times. It tells the story of his life, from his humble beginnings in the South African countryside to his work as an iconic anti-apartheid freedom fighter, and ends, after chronicling his twenty-year prison sentence, with his final victory and release.

    Long Walk to Freedom Review

    Long Walk to Freedom (1994) is an inspiring memoir about the life of Nelson Mandela and his unwavering commitment to justice and equality. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With raw honesty and vulnerability, Mandela's account of his struggles and triumphs offers a unique perspective on the fight against apartheid.
    • The book highlights the importance of perseverance and resilience in the face of adversity, making it a powerful source of motivation.
    • Through Mandela's captivating storytelling, readers gain insight into the human spirit and the transformative power of forgiveness and reconciliation.

    Best quote from Long Walk to Freedom

    It is a struggle of the African people, inspired by their own suffering and their own experience. It is a struggle for the right to live.

    —Nelson Mandela
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    Who should read Long Walk to Freedom?

    • People interested in Nelson Mandela
    • Anyone curious about South African history
    • Proponents of social justice

    About the Author

    Nelson Mandela is among the most eminent political figures of the twentieth century. He was the icon of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, devoting his entire life to the cause. For his commitment to justice, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

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    Long Walk to Freedom FAQs 

    What is the main message of Long Walk to Freedom?

    The main message of Long Walk to Freedom is Nelson Mandela's journey of hope, resilience, and forgiveness in the face of oppression.

    How long does it take to read Long Walk to Freedom?

    The reading time for Long Walk to Freedom varies depending on the reader's pace, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Long Walk to Freedom a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Long Walk to Freedom is a captivating and inspiring book that is definitely worth reading. It offers valuable insights into Nelson Mandela's remarkable life and his fight against apartheid.

    Who is the author of Long Walk to Freedom?

    The author of Long Walk to Freedom is Nelson Mandela.

    What to read after Long Walk to Freedom?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Long Walk to Freedom, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers
    • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
    • The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe
    • Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
    • Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
    • On the Move by Oliver Sacks
    • David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
    • Bedtime Biography: Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
    • Burnout Immunity by Kandi Wiens
    • I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai