Thursday, December 9, 2021

Review of The Mandela Revolution: A British Soldier's Inside View of His Rise to Power by Huw Lawford

This book review is written by Eugene Kernes

Book can be found in:
Genre = History

Short Description

Elaborate Description
Nelson Mandela was the first legitimately elected president of South Africa.  A rule that inherited a need to integrate many disparate groups.  This is a personal account of the military aspect of integration, the merging of disparate groups into a homogenous defense force. To facilitate this goal, an external neutral group would be brought in to provide an honest assessment, which would also provide an external stamp of approval.  A group to oversee integration, education and training, and transparency and fairness.  The external neutral party was the British Military Advisory and Training Team which would witness and report on four of the major military groups.  There is an understanding that happens between soldiers, regardless of whom they serve.  What was learned from the early exchanges was that there was no desire for a civil war.  They all had experienced hardships, and knew that change was needed.  There was much understanding, but also misunderstanding as different cultures collided.  Peace was wanted, but tension could not be avoided and was made worse by a few who caused disruptions.  

Mandela showed up himself to deal with certain grievances, but those who had made the grievances came away surprised by how Mandela handled the situation.  Each group’s members needed to adjust to different expectations as the expectations of a government official was vastly different than the political group they belonged to before.  Being formally part of a government had a life of its own, that everyone involved needed to come to understand.  

Apartheid ideology did a lot of harm, but Mandela did not want to promulgate hate.  Mandela wanted negotiation and compromise, not revenge.  The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was meant for reconciliation, and restorative justice.  

There is not much background on South Africa.  This book acts more of a supplement to an understanding of South Africa during the time.  It is also less about how Mandela got into power, and more about the military aspects of South Africa when Mandela was in power.  

Questions to Consider while Reading the Book
•What is the raison d’etre of the book?  For what purpose did the author write the book?
•Who was Nelson Mandela?
•What did Mandela desire from his position and for South Africa?
•Why was there a need to integrate the military?
•What were the major groups that needed to be integrated?
•What was the purpose of the BMATT (SA)?
•What were some cultural misunderstandings? 
•What are some understandings that occurred between the disparate groups?

Book Details
My Edition was provided by via NetGalley
Edition ISBN:  9781399009058
Pages to read:   202
Publication:     2021
1st Edition:      2021
Format:           eBook

Ratings out of 5:
Readability    3
Content          3
Overall           3