A deeply researched 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 ground-breaking union, a very modern political marriage which was performed on the world stage.
Behind the cover of his book lies an intense, unsparing and at times almost unbearably intimate exploration of one of the world’s most famous, most mythical marriages ... This is a book to make one wince, and gasp, and turn the page – a book that slowly, remorselessly, tears the bandages off South Africa’s carefully constructed image of itself, and of a partnership that lies at the heart of this country’s 'miraculous' transformation from racialized tyranny to democracy. Above all this is a book about rage ... Unflinching to the point of intrusiveness ... Steinberg admits that much of his freshest material – the most furious exchanges between the couple – comes from scribbled records taken by apartheid prison officials, then stolen and hidden for decades
A beautiful and immensely sad book. The sheer amount of pain they each suffered – and inflicted on each other – is unimaginable ... More than a joint biography, as good as it is at that; it’s a deft and operatic interweaving of two outsized characters. In Steinberg’s telling, the pair are like twin planets that exert immense gravitational forces on each other ... Steinberg quotes extensively from conversations between them when she was visiting Mandela in prison. The quotes are powerful, intimate, disturbing. That troubling feeling comes from the fact that they are taken verbatim from transcripts prison guards secretly made of Mandela’s conversations.
With Nelson’s travails at Robben Island more well-known, Steinberg gives Winnie her due as an implacable freedom fighter ... Steinberg has created a landmark biography of two unforgettable civil rights heroes.