, JOHANNESBURG, Oct 12 – A book painting an intimate portrait of Nelson Mandela went on sale Tuesday, offering readers a glimpse at letters and diaries for a more personal look at one of the world\’s most revered figures.
"Conversations with Myself" brings together correspondence, personal notes and hours of recordings with an unfinished autobiography that would have been a sequel to Mandela\’s world-famous memoir "Long Walk to Freedom", published in 1995.
Publisher PQ Blackwell and the Nelson Mandela Foundation said the book would give readers access to the private man behind the public figure who led South Africa\’s struggle against white minority rule and served as its first democratically elected president.
The Foundation compiled the book using documents from its archives. The book will be published in 22 countries and 20 languages.
In South Africa, book stores held early-morning launch events Tuesday to celebrate the arrival of what is widely expected to be the 92-year-old Mandela\’s last book.
"It\’s a whole lot of his own writing, which we haven\’t seen for a long time," said James Hendry, a Johannesburg writer who was among the first to buy the book Tuesday morning.
"This will be probably the last real publication we have of his stuff before he passes on to wherever he\’s going."