Marsh Biography Award

2001 - Anthony Sampson for "Mandela"

Anthony Sampson won the 2001 Marsh Biography Award for his book ‘Mandela: The Authorised Biography’.

Born on August 3, 1926, in Billingham, England, Sampson is regarded as one of the greatest journalists and writers of his time. He wrote extensively about South Africa and in 1999 published his award-winning book, Mandela: The Authorised Biography.

Educated at Oxford University, he moved to Johannesburg in 1951 to become the editor of Drum magazine, a position he held until he returned to England in 1955. In South Africa he forged a close relationship with Mr Mandela and he attended the “Rivonia” sabotage trial in 1964 and advised Mandela on his four-hour address from the dock about his dreams of a non-racial South Africa. It ended with the now famous words: “It is an ideal which I hope to live for. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die”.

Mandela’s opposition to apartheid and his 27 year incarceration at the hands of South Africa’s all-white regime are familiar to most. In this utterly compelling book, eminent biographer Anthony Sampson, who knew his subject since 1951, reveals the man behind the events that rocked a continent – and changed the world.

With unprecedented access to the former South African president – the letters he wrote in prison, his unpublished jail autobiography, extensive conversations, and interviews with hundreds of colleagues, friends, and family – Sampson depicts the realities of Mandela’s private and public life, and the tragic tension between them.


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