Stephen Robinson

Writing behind bars

As his prison letters reveal, Mandela, a martyr to dry skin, suffered because only the inferior Vaseline was available on Robben Island

So much rubbish has been written over the years by those who feared, revered or pretended to know Nelson Mandela that it is useful, finally, to be able to read about him and the privations of his prison years in his own contemporaneous, understated prose.

At more than 600 pages including annotations, The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela might be regarded as a volume strictly for the liberation struggle obsessive.

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