Los Angeles Times

Nelson Mandela's letters detail his 27 years as the world's most famous political prisoner

"The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela," edited by Sahm Venter; Liveright (640 pages, $35)

___

As a Times correspondent in South Africa during the final violent spasms of the apartheid regime and the jubilant election of the country's first black president in 1994, I noticed something odd about Nelson Mandela's speeches.

Mandela would get thunderous cheers when he took the stage. Even from a distance, the world's most famous former political prisoner was instantly recognizable: taller and broader than most Africans, beaming his 1,000-watt smile, and always sporting one of the flamboyant "madiba" shirts designed especially for him.

But the crowd would grow restless after Mandela began to speak. He had a stilted, droning cadence that could turn an eloquent address into a reading from the telephone book. He invariably got more applause at the start than at the end. His personal and

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

Related Interests

More from Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times5 min readPolitics
China Presses Trump To Compromise On Trade War Demands Ahead Of Key Meeting
BEIJING - Chinese officials on Monday demanded compromise from the Trump administration, with hopes for an end to a bruising trade war resting on a key meeting this week with China's Xi Jinping. China's vice minister of commerce, Wang Shouwen, told j
Los Angeles Times6 min read
German Patients Get The Latest Drugs For Just $11. Can Such A Model Work In The US?
BERLIN - Patients who come to the Havelhohe cancer clinic in the leafy outskirts of Germany's capital are often very sick. Struggling with advanced-stage cancers, many need strong doses of expensive, cutting-edge chemotherapy that can run into the hu
Los Angeles Times1 min readPolitics
Bill Allowing Horse Racing To Be Suspended Approved By California Legislature
LOS ANGELES - The power of the California Horse Racing Board grew on Monday when the state Legislature unanimously approved a bill that would grant the regulatory body the authority to suspend or move racing days without a 10-day public notice period