Conversations with Myself

From The Guardian:

Mandela-006 Nelson Mandela disappeared, aged 44, into prison. For the next quarter of a century he became a mystery man, the missing leader. And when he finally emerged victorious in 1990, there was a pent-up demand to hear from him. Since then, books about and by Mandela have become an industry, practically a literary genre of their own: dozens of biographies, authorised and unauthorised, children's books, books distilling his leadership style, business books and art books have appeared. Is there really room for another book on the bulging Mandela shelf? What more is there to say? Quite a lot, it turns out.

Conversations with Myself isn't so much a book as a literary album, containing snippets of Mandela's life, shards from diaries, calendars, letters, and also transcripts from 50 hours of recordings by Richard Stengel, who ghosted Mandela's autobiography Long Walk to Freedom (and is now editor of Time magazine). It also contains passages from an autobiography Mandela had been working on himself, in moments snatched here and there, but has finally abandoned, and allowed to be folded into this volume. If that all sounds somewhat scattershot and untidy, oddly it's not. The book is intensely moving, raw and unmediated, told in real time with all the changes in perspective that brings, over the years, mixing the prosaic with the momentous. Health concerns, dreams, political initiatives spill out together, to provide the fullest picture yet of Mandela.

More here.