The measure of politicians is not their words but what they do to improve the lives of their people A successful lawyer, Nelson Mandela sacrificed career, family and freedom to pursue an extravagant ideal a non racist, non sexist future for a nation apparently determined to remain divided At his release, after almost three decades in jail, he could have pursued narrow interests the world would have supported him Instead, he publicly embraced reconciliation and social justice Nelson Mandela was determined to free not just black South Africans, but all South Africans, from prejudice And it was in daring to do the unexpected, in weathering criticism from friends, in reaching out to enemies and in acknowledging the most humble that his greatness was revealed Charlene Smith traces the life of a great statesman and tells how Nelson Mandela repaired the torn heart of a wounded nation I am at present updating this book, should be on shelves by December 2011 In my graduate work as a history student at Oxford, I read many biographies of world leaders This one stands out as the definitive biography of not only a great leader, Nelson Mandela, but also as the standard to which other biographers aspire.As Ms Smith writes, she had unparalleled access to Mandiba, allowing her incredible insight into this complex and fascinating man The photos add greatly to the depth of this book Her writing is fluid and graceful.Without doubt, Charlene Smith is the pr In my graduate work as a history student at Oxford, I read many biographies of world leaders This one stands out as the definitive biography of not only a great leader, Nelson Mandela, but also as the standard to which other biographers aspire.As Ms Smith writes, she had unparalleled access to Mandiba, allowing her incredible insight into this complex and fascinating man The photos add greatly to the depth of this book Her writing is fluid and graceful.Without doubt, Charlene Smith is the preeminent author on Mandela This book is a must read for anyone with an interest in South African history, Mandela, or world affairs By far the best book I have read on Nelson Mandela I struggled to put it down.