Long Walk to Freedom, Vol. 1

  • by Nelson Mandela
  • Narrated by Michael Boatman, Kofi Annan
  • 15 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The riveting memoirs of the outstanding moral and political leader of our time, Long Walk to Freedom brilliantly recreates the drama of the experiences that helped shape Nelson Mandela's destiny. From his beginning in the Transkei to his being taken to Robben Island, this is the remarkable story of how a man rose so far, only to be sentenced to life imprisonment.
Emotive and compelling, this is the story of an epic life. This audiobook includes a foreword written and read by Kofi Annan, Nelson Mandela's Presidential Oath of Office, an afterword from Sharon Gelman, and an interview with Long Walk to Freedom collaborator Richard Stengel.


What the Critics Say

"Burns with the luminosity of faith in the invincible nature of human hope and dignity...Unforgettable" (Andre Brink)
"Enthralling...Mandela emulates the few great political leaders such as Lincoln and Gandhi, who go beyond mere consensus and move out ahead of their followers to break new ground" (Donald Woods in the Sunday Times)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Awesome content, AWEFUL AWEFUL reader

What did you love best about Long Walk to Freedom, Vol. 1?

The story of Long Walk to Freedom, as a view of the growth of South African politics from the eyes of Nelson Mandela, is timeless. As a South African, it is absolutely crucial to know and understand how we came to be the way we are, and the individuals (although the roles of all the them were not detailed in this book - not enough space!) that were instrument to the changes.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Long Walk to Freedom, Vol. 1?

A particular image of the political prisoners on Robben Island cooking mussels, abalone, and crawfish on the beach while doing "hard labour" :)

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The pronunciation of the Afrikaans and African words and names were HORRENDOUS. Why was a South African not employed to read this text? Just because you got a black guy to read a book written by a black man doesn't mean that he'll get the words right!! If this book teaches one ANYTHING, it's that the colour of your skin says NOTHING about you. Micheal Boatmen may be black, but he is NOT South African, and he says the words "veld", "rondavel", "knopkirrie", "Xhosa" and numerous others COMPLETELY wrong. His pronunciation of "Ag,", "Groote Schuur", and the names like "Mr Willemse", "Johan Strijdom", "Mr Viljoen", "Mr Botha".... it was AGONISING listening to Michael tear apart the commonly heard South Africa sounds so thoroughly. This isn't just a text on South African politics, it reflects on South African culture in more ways than one. It is tantamount that a narrator gets things as basic as pronunciation correct! I hear at the end that there was a "language consultant" that was employed. CLEARLY that person was NOT qualified in ANY way for this job! Ask ANY South African how to pronounce these words, and most would do it for FREE!!!

If you don't know what these words are meant to sound like, ignore all this, it's a GREAT book. If you're from SA and have the time to read the book, save yourself the aural agony.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The content made me laugh, cry, and giggle in relation to Madiba. It's a great text, and although it's quite biased to his point of view, it IS an autobiography.

The narration made me cringe and wished that I'd bought the ebook and read it instead... at least my brain would have pronounced the words correctly.

Any additional comments?

Just to re-iterate that you should have gotten a South African and NOT and American to read this particular book out loud... Michael Boatman puts on an "African" accent, but the words that Really needed the "African" touch were failed abysmally.

This is also more of a Biography than an Autobiography, since Madiba didn't really have the time to write this text. Richard Stengel did a phenomenal job though, and of course it'll sell better as "written by Nelson Mandela", than Stengel.

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- Kindle Customer

Narrator disappointing

I read this book many years ago, and coming up to Madiba's birthday I thought it would be a good book to re-read. This time I chose an audio format. Being a South African, the narrative was very disappointing and distracting. If you wanted an African to narrate this book for authenticity, an African should have been used, not an American. The accent was fake and many truly South African names, phrases and expressions were terrible. It was difficult to listen to someone trying very hard to be something he wasn't, would have been entirely American or African. As the narrator became tired it was apparent and when he started again, the accent was over exaggerated.
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- Juanita

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-05-2013
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio UK