BOOK REVIEW: Le sourire de Mandela (Knowing Mandela) by John Carlin

I think we all know who Mandela is. We all think we kinda knew him.

Well, I thought I did.
So many things have been said about him, that I actually sometimes hesitate to buy his biography or another book about him thinking I know his story and it would be just a repeat of what I already knew.

God was I wrong! With this book, John Carlin (who is also the author of Invictus. He also was a reporter, and followed Mandela journey from his prison release to his presidency), reveal to us how not easy it has been for Mandela to rule and bring back together South Africans, after his prison release. The author insists on Mandela’s integrity, humanity, respect and charisma to be able to win the Afrikaners respect and calm the black Africans.

I have to say, whenever I was interesting myself in Mandela’s story, I would always lose focus about it after 1990, the year he was released from prison. I wanted it to have a fairy tale ending.

This book opened my eyes, about how victory is actually just the beginning of a story. How hard is it to be a hero, how so frail it is, and how Mandela managed to unify his crazily racially divided nation.
Like anybody else, I fell completely under his charm at the end of the book.
I wouldn’t say it is the best so far among all the books written about him (since this is my first ahem ahem), I would just say that it reminded me that the real story is what happens after Cinderella marries prince charming.
Super recommended…

Christella Bijou


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