In this biography, the figure of Nelson Mandela satisfies our longing for a pure heroic figure: profoundly dignified, eloquently intelligent. His commitment to justice for his people has changed its form at times, but never its direction. The history of South Africa's liberation movement that frames his life serves as a clear, simple reference to the central events and personages in that struggle since the 1940s. When the current struggle is seen in historical perspective, the sense of waste-of time, talent, goodwill, and many, many individual lives-becomes overwhelming. The movement looks very different now, but basic black aspirations have not changed over all these decades.