Winnie and Nelson: Portrait of a Marriage by Steinberg, Jonny

Winnie and Nelson: Portrait of a Marriage

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From one of South Africa's foremost nonfiction writers, a deeply researched, shattering new account of Nelson Mandela's relationship with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Drawing on never-before-seen material, Steinberg reveals the fractures and stubborn bonds at the heart of a volatile and groundbreaking union, a very modern political marriage that played out on the world stage.

"Powerful, intimate." --The Washington Post

One of the most celebrated political leaders of a century, Nelson Mandela has been written about by many biographers and historians. But in one crucial area, his life remains largely untold: his marriage to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. During his years in prison, Nelson grew ever more in love with an idealized version of his wife, courting her in his letters as if they were young lovers frozen in time. But Winnie, every bit his political equal, found herself increasingly estranged from her jailed husband's politics. Behind his back, she was trying to orchestrate an armed seizure of power, a path he feared would lead to an endless civil war.

Jonny Steinberg tells the tale of this unique marriage--its longings, its obsessions, its deceits--making South African history a page-turning political biography. Winnie and Nelson is a modern epic in which trauma doesn't affect just the couple at its center, but an entire nation. It is also a Shakespearean drama in which bonds of love and commitment mingle with timeless questions of revolution, such as whether to seek retribution or a negotiated peace. Steinberg reveals, with power and tender emotional insight, how far these forever-entwined leaders would go for each other and where they drew the line. For in the end, both knew theirs was not simply a marriage, but a contest to decide how apartheid should be fought.

Author: Jonny Steinberg
Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Published: 05/02/2023
Pages: 576
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 2.19lbs
Size: 9.52h x 6.62w x 1.64d
ISBN: 9780525656852


Review Citation(s):
Library Journal Prepub Alert 12/01/2022 pg. 25
Publishers Weekly 03/06/2023
Kirkus Reviews 04/01/2023
Booklist 04/15/2023 pg. 12
Library Journal 05/01/2023 pg. 94

About the Author
JONNY STEINBERG is the author of several books about everyday life in the wake of South Africa's transition to democracy. He is a two-time winner of South Africa's premier nonfiction prize, the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award, and an inaugural winner of the Donald Windham-Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prizes. Until 2020, he was professor of African studies at Oxford University. He currently teaches part-time at Yale and at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research in Johannesburg.

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