Playing the Enemy

Playing the Enemy

Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made A Nation

Book - 2008
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A thrilling, inspiring account of one of the greatest charm offensives in history--Nelson Mandela's decade-long campaign to unite his country, beginning in his jail cell and ending with a rugby tournament. John Carlin, a former South Africa bureau chief for the London Independent, offers a singular portrait of the greatest statesman of our time in action, blending the volatile cocktail of race, sport, and politics to intoxicating effect.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2008
ISBN: 9781594201745
Branch Call Number: 968.065 MANDE CARLI


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Oct 01, 2019

Invictus – ‘Nelson Mandela And The Game That Made A Nation’ was previously published as 'Playing The Enemy.'
As a previous reviewer points out, perhaps sixty percent of this book reviews Mandela's overall life: his views, his survival instincts, events leading up to his time in prison, and his time in prison but in particular the late period of incarceration when the South African Government had concluded that Apartheid had to end. Government officials had started to take a measure of Mandela to see if they could work with him and bring about a change in South Africa, one they could sell to the Afrikaner mentality, while securing their way of life and livelihood, and become a nation the world could accept. The second half of this book was more in tune with the movie Invictus.
The atrocities that were committed on the original population of South Africa and the injustice of the government were described in detail in this book. Another movie, 'Cry Freedom,' basically the Stephen Biko story ‎also comes to mind. A young Denzel Washington plays Stephen Biko in this exceptional movie.
‎It was enlightening to have the opportunity to get to know more about certainly one of the greatest human beings of the last Century. A man that history must admire as many admire Mahatma Gandhi of India. I quote from page 256: It took a rare wisdom for Mandela to say to his people, as he paraphrased it for the author in an interview, "I understand your anger. But if you are building a new South Africa you ought to be prepared to work with people you don't like."
As Mandela would recite in his years in captivity, "I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul," - William Earnest Benley 1849-1903.
I thoroughly enjoyed the movie Invictus ‎starring Morgan Freeman as Mandela and Matt Damon as Francois Pienaar, Captain of the rugby team the Springbok. Both actors were at the top of their game.
While this book is certainly not as entertaining as the exceptional movie ‘Invictus,’ it is very informative and worth the read by those who want to know more about this truly exceptional man. Recommended by Senior Doctor-at-Bass ‎Fishing, D.A.

FW_librarian Jun 19, 2015

I knew Mandela was a remarkable and charismatic leader; this book explains how he brought two extremely opposing ideals together by having enough character to focus on the ultimate goal and do anything, anything to attain it with minimal hate and violence. It's about respect for all human kind including those who fear for their security and their place in society (community and global).

Jul 07, 2012

I read this after seeing the movie and it filled in the story, much more historical details than in the movie. I enjoyed it. The sports part is really only the last half of the book.

Jul 04, 2011

Playing the Enemy by John Carlin documents the strategy of Nelson Mandela to unite South Africa's blacks and whites behind the country's primarily Afrikaan's rugby team, the Springboks. It is a delightful and engrossing read of historical significance and a great deal of local atmosphere.
In close proximity to Afrikaans prison guards for many years, Mandela taught himself their language and made many friendships. Freed from prison and elected President of South Africa he turned this personal experience into an asset as a Springbok fan, cajoling black South Africans to join him. "One team, one nation" became the slogan and the green cap and jersey a powerful message of previously unthinkable attitudinal change.
Chapters about the change process in the team members themselves are particularly heartening. If it can happen in South Africa, there is hope for us all.


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