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Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation

by

Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

In 1985, Nelson Mandela, then in prison for twenty-three years, set about winning over the fiercest proponents of apartheid, from his jailers to the head of South Africa's military. First he earned his freedom and then he won the presidency in the nation's first free election in 1994. But he knew that South Africa was still dangerously divided by almost fifty years of apartheid. If he couldn't unite his country in a visceral, emotional way and fast it would collapse into chaos. He would need all the charisma and strategic acumen he had honed during half a century of activism, and he'd need a cause all South Africans could share. Mandela picked one of the more far-fetched causes imaginable — the national rugby team, the Springboks, who would host the sport's World Cup in 1995.

Against the giants of the sport, the Springboks' chances of victory were remote. But their chances of capturing the hearts of most South Africans seemed remoter still, as they had long been the embodiment of white supremacist rule. During apartheid, the all-white Springboks and their fans had belted out racist fight songs, and blacks would come to Springbok matches to cheer for whatever team was playing against them. Yet Mandela believed that the Springboks could embody — and engage — the new South Africa. And the Springboks themselves embraced the scheme. Soon South African TV would carry images of the team singing "Nkosi Sikelele Afrika," the longtime anthem of black resistance to apartheid.

As their surprising string of victories lengthened, their home-field advantage grew exponentially. South Africans of every color and political stripe found themselves falling for the team. When the Springboks took to the field for the championship match against New Zealand's heavily favored squad, Mandela sat in his presidential box wearing a Springbok jersey while sixty-two-thousand fans, mostly white, chanted "Nelson! Nelson!" Millions more gathered around their TV sets, whether in dusty black townships or leafy white suburbs, to urge their team toward victory. The Springboks won a nail-biter that day, defying the odds-makers and capping Mandela's miraculous ten-year-long effort to bring forty-three million South Africans together in an enduring bond.

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. He draws on extensive interviews with Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and dozens of other South Africans caught up in Mandela's momentous campaign, and the Springboks' unlikely triumph. As he makes stirringly clear, their championship transcended the mere thrill of victory to erase ancient hatreds and make a nation whole.

Review:

"Carlin offers the final dramatic chapters of how then president Nelson Mandela and his wily strategy of using a sporting event — the Sprinkboks rugby team in the 1995 World Cup — to mend South Africa. Carlin, a senior international writer for 'El País,' quotes Mandela: Sports has the power to change the world....It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers. After giving an informed capsule history of apartheids bitter legacy and Mandela's noble stature as a leader, the scene is set for the influential rugby match between the solid New Zealand team and the scrappy South African squad in the finals of the World Cup, with 43 million blacks and whites awaiting the outcome. All of the cast in Afrikaner lore are here — Botha, DeKlerk, Bernard, Viljeon — as they match wits with Mandela. Carlin concludes this excellent book of redemption and forgiveness with chapters that depict how a divided country can be elevated beyond hate and malice to pride and healing." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Carlin offers the final dramatic chapters of how then president Nelson Mandela and his wily strategy of using a sporting event — the Sprinkboks rugby team in the 1995 World Cup — to mend South Africa. Carlin, a senior international writer for El Pas, quotes Mandela: 'Sports has the power to change the world.... It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.' After giving an informed capsule history of apartheid's bitter legacy and Mandela's noble stature as a leader, the scene is set for the influential rugby match between the solid New Zealand team and the scrappy South African squad in the finals of the World Cup, with 43 million blacks and whites awaiting the outcome. All of the cast in Afrikaner lore are here — Botha, DeKlerk, Bernard, Viljeon — as they match wits with Mandela. Carlin concludes this excellent book of redemption and forgiveness with chapters that depict how a divided country can be elevated beyond hate and malice to pride and healing." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Nestled within Carlin's stories are valuable insights into the political genius of Mandela." Library Journal

Synopsis:

In 1985, Nelson Mandela, then in prison for twenty-three years, set about winning over the fiercest proponents of apartheid, from his jailers to the head of South Africa’s military. First he earned his freedom and then he won the presidency in the nation’s first free election in 1994. But he knew that South Africa was still dangerously divided by almost fifty years of apartheid. If he couldn’t unite his country in a visceral, emotional way—and fast—it would collapse into chaos. He would need all the charisma and strategic acumen he had honed during half a century of activism, and he’d need a cause all South Africans could share. Mandela picked one of the more farfetched causes imaginable—the national rugby team, the Springboks, who would host the sport’s World Cup in 1995.

Against the giants of the sport, the Springboks’ chances of victory were remote. But their chances of capturing the hearts of most South Africans seemed remoter still, as they had long been the embodiment of white supremacist rule. During apartheid, the all-white Springboks and their fans had belted out racist fight songs, and blacks would come to Springbok matches to cheer for whatever team was playing against them. Yet Mandela believed that the Springboks could embody—and engage—the new South Africa. And the Springboks themselves embraced the scheme. Soon South African TV would carry images of the team singing “Nkosi Sikelele Afrika,” the longtime anthem of black resistance to apartheid.

As their surprising string of victories lengthened, their home-field advantage grew exponentially. South Africans of every color and political stripe found themselves falling for the team. When the Springboks took to the field for the championship match against New Zealand’s heavily favored squad, Mandela sat in his presidential box wearing a Springbok jersey while sixty-two-thousand fans, mostly white, chanted “Nelson! Nelson!” Millions more gathered around their TV sets, whether in dusty black townships or leafy white suburbs, to urge their team toward victory. The Springboks won a nail-biter that day, defying the oddsmakers and capping Mandela’s miraculous ten-year-long effort to bring forty-three million South Africans together in an enduring bond.

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. He draws on extensive interviews with Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and dozens of other South Africans caught up in Mandela’s momentous campaign, and the Springboks’ unlikely triumph. As he makes stirringly clear, their championship transcended the mere thrill of victory to erase ancient hatreds and make a nation whole.

Synopsis:

Beginning in a jail cell and ending in a rugby tournament- the true story of how the most inspiring charm offensive in history brought South Africa together

After being released from prison and winning South Africa's first free election, Nelson Mandela presided over a country still deeply divided by fifty years of apartheid. His plan was ambitious if not far-fetched: use the national rugby team, the Springboks-long an embodiment of white-supremacist rule-to embody and engage a new South Africa as they prepared to host the 1995 World Cup. The string of wins that followed not only defied the odds, but capped Mandela's miraculous effort to bring South Africans together again in a hard-won, enduring bond.

About the Author

John Carlin is senior international writer for El Pas, the world's leading Spanish-language newspaper, and was formerly the U.S. bureau chief for the Independent. He's written for numerous other publications, including The New York Times, Wired, Spin, Conde Nast Traveler, and the Observer (UK).

Table of Contents

Playing The Enemy Introduction

Chapter I: Breakfast in Houghton

Chapter II: The Minister of Justice

Chapter III: Separate Amenities

Chapter IV: Bagging the Croc

Chapter V: Different Planets

Chapter VI: Ayatollah Mandela

Chapter VII: The Tiger King

Chapter VIII: The Mask

Chapter IX: The Bitter-Enders

Chapter X: Romancing the General

Chapter XI: "Address Their Hearts"

Chapter XII: The Captain and the President

Chapter XIII: Springbok Serenade

Chapter XIV: Silvermine

Chapter XV: Doubting Thomases

Chapter XVI: The Number Six Jersey

Chapter XVII: "Nelson! Nelson!"

Chapter XVIII: Blood in the Throat

Chapter XIX: Love Thine Enemy

Epilogue

Where Are They Now?

Acknowledgments

A Note on Sources

Index

A section of photographs follows page 114.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781594201745
Subtitle:
Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation
Author:
Carlin, John
Author:
Carlin, John
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Subject:
Africa - South - Republic of South Africa
Subject:
Rugby
Subject:
History
Subject:
South Africa
Subject:
Presidents
Subject:
South Africa Politics and government.
Subject:
Mandela, Nelson
Subject:
World History-Africa
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20090728
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
8-page b/w photo insert
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9.12x6.34x.99 in. 1.11 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Africa » South Africa
History and Social Science » World History » Africa
Sports and Outdoors » Sports and Fitness » Rugby
Sports and Outdoors » Sports and Fitness » Sports General

Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation Used Hardcover
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$12.95 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Penguin Press HC, The - English 9781594201745 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Carlin offers the final dramatic chapters of how then president Nelson Mandela and his wily strategy of using a sporting event — the Sprinkboks rugby team in the 1995 World Cup — to mend South Africa. Carlin, a senior international writer for 'El País,' quotes Mandela: Sports has the power to change the world....It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers. After giving an informed capsule history of apartheids bitter legacy and Mandela's noble stature as a leader, the scene is set for the influential rugby match between the solid New Zealand team and the scrappy South African squad in the finals of the World Cup, with 43 million blacks and whites awaiting the outcome. All of the cast in Afrikaner lore are here — Botha, DeKlerk, Bernard, Viljeon — as they match wits with Mandela. Carlin concludes this excellent book of redemption and forgiveness with chapters that depict how a divided country can be elevated beyond hate and malice to pride and healing." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Carlin offers the final dramatic chapters of how then president Nelson Mandela and his wily strategy of using a sporting event — the Sprinkboks rugby team in the 1995 World Cup — to mend South Africa. Carlin, a senior international writer for El Pas, quotes Mandela: 'Sports has the power to change the world.... It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.' After giving an informed capsule history of apartheid's bitter legacy and Mandela's noble stature as a leader, the scene is set for the influential rugby match between the solid New Zealand team and the scrappy South African squad in the finals of the World Cup, with 43 million blacks and whites awaiting the outcome. All of the cast in Afrikaner lore are here — Botha, DeKlerk, Bernard, Viljeon — as they match wits with Mandela. Carlin concludes this excellent book of redemption and forgiveness with chapters that depict how a divided country can be elevated beyond hate and malice to pride and healing." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Nestled within Carlin's stories are valuable insights into the political genius of Mandela."
"Synopsis" by ,
In 1985, Nelson Mandela, then in prison for twenty-three years, set about winning over the fiercest proponents of apartheid, from his jailers to the head of South Africa’s military. First he earned his freedom and then he won the presidency in the nation’s first free election in 1994. But he knew that South Africa was still dangerously divided by almost fifty years of apartheid. If he couldn’t unite his country in a visceral, emotional way—and fast—it would collapse into chaos. He would need all the charisma and strategic acumen he had honed during half a century of activism, and he’d need a cause all South Africans could share. Mandela picked one of the more farfetched causes imaginable—the national rugby team, the Springboks, who would host the sport’s World Cup in 1995.

Against the giants of the sport, the Springboks’ chances of victory were remote. But their chances of capturing the hearts of most South Africans seemed remoter still, as they had long been the embodiment of white supremacist rule. During apartheid, the all-white Springboks and their fans had belted out racist fight songs, and blacks would come to Springbok matches to cheer for whatever team was playing against them. Yet Mandela believed that the Springboks could embody—and engage—the new South Africa. And the Springboks themselves embraced the scheme. Soon South African TV would carry images of the team singing “Nkosi Sikelele Afrika,” the longtime anthem of black resistance to apartheid.

As their surprising string of victories lengthened, their home-field advantage grew exponentially. South Africans of every color and political stripe found themselves falling for the team. When the Springboks took to the field for the championship match against New Zealand’s heavily favored squad, Mandela sat in his presidential box wearing a Springbok jersey while sixty-two-thousand fans, mostly white, chanted “Nelson! Nelson!” Millions more gathered around their TV sets, whether in dusty black townships or leafy white suburbs, to urge their team toward victory. The Springboks won a nail-biter that day, defying the oddsmakers and capping Mandela’s miraculous ten-year-long effort to bring forty-three million South Africans together in an enduring bond.

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. He draws on extensive interviews with Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and dozens of other South Africans caught up in Mandela’s momentous campaign, and the Springboks’ unlikely triumph. As he makes stirringly clear, their championship transcended the mere thrill of victory to erase ancient hatreds and make a nation whole.

"Synopsis" by ,
Beginning in a jail cell and ending in a rugby tournament- the true story of how the most inspiring charm offensive in history brought South Africa together

After being released from prison and winning South Africa's first free election, Nelson Mandela presided over a country still deeply divided by fifty years of apartheid. His plan was ambitious if not far-fetched: use the national rugby team, the Springboks-long an embodiment of white-supremacist rule-to embody and engage a new South Africa as they prepared to host the 1995 World Cup. The string of wins that followed not only defied the odds, but capped Mandela's miraculous effort to bring South Africans together again in a hard-won, enduring bond.

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