Peter Hain’s excellent Mandela: His Essential Life, does not pretend to be anything more than, as he writes, a “short, popular and accessible book that tells Mandela's entire and remarkable story in a nutshell”. Actually, he does himself a disservice: it is much more than that, and is a serious analysis of Mandela’s place in history, his failings as well as his virtues.
It also contains a powerful final chapter on the betrayal of the Mandela legacy. In recent years, Hain, a second-generation anti-apartheid activist, has exposed the corruption of the Zuma presidency, and played no small part in bringing down the PR firm Bell Pottinger. It is a sad sequel to Mandel's life but a story of modern-day South Africa that needs to be told.