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In 1993, after 27 years of imprisonment, Nelson Mandela sat down with ghostwriter Richard Stengel to begin working on Long Walk to Freedom, a critically acclaimed memoir that would become a bestseller around the globe.

Mandela: The Lost Tapes reveals never-before-heard audio from Stengel’s interviews with the Nobel Prize winner, freedom fighter, and former South African president. Hours of rare recordings detail the turning points of Mandela’s life, key moments that shaped a revolution and the man who was to bring freedom his nation.

In this Audible Original, Stengel relives his intimate chats with Mandela, attempting to answer  the questions ‘What made Nelson Mandela who he is?’ and ‘How can the rest of us be more like him?’

In Stengel’s own words: “It’s partly the story about how Mandela and I wrote his memoir, Long Walk to Freedom. But much more than that, it’s a story about our unusual friendship, my struggle to learn who Mandela really was, and my quest to understand what makes a human being great.”

Mandela: The Lost Tapes provides a vulnerable, intimate look at who Nelson Mandela was beyond his carefully curated public persona. Through Mandela’s own words, he reveals his extraordinary journey to becoming one of the greatest leaders in modern history.

Podcast Press

The New York Times:
In ‘Mandela: The Lost Tapes,’ a Veteran Journalist Finds Himself

The TODAY Show:
Never-before-heard Nelson Mandela tapes released in podcast

NBC News:
New Nelson Mandela podcast shares hours worth of history

NPR’s All Things Considered:
A new podcast reminds listeners of Mandela’s commitment to the Black struggle for freedom

New podcast reveals never-before-heard Nelson Mandela

The Times:
Me, a tape recorder and my months working on Nelson Mandela’s book

The Guardian:
Nelson Mandela podcast illuminates rare side of anti-apartheid activist

After 30 years, the Mandela tapes

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Richard Stengel is the former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy in the Obama administration. Prior to going to Washington, Stengel was the editor of TIME for seven years. He was also the president and CEO of the National Constitution Center. In the 1990s, he collaborated with Nelson Mandela on the South African’s autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom.” He is the author of a number of books, the most recent of which is “Information Wars: How We Lost the Global Battle Against Disinformation.” He is a political analyst for MSNBC.


Information Wars

During the final years of the Obama administration, Richard Stengel was the single person tasked with unpacking, disproving, and combating both ISIS’s messaging and Russian disinformation. When the 2016 election happened, he quickly came to see how ISIS, Putin and Trump all used the same playbook. An urgent book for our times, Information Wars stresses that we must find a way to combat this ever growing threat to democracy.

Amazon.com    |     GroveAtlantic.com

You're Too Kind

A Brief History of Flattery–and why it’s an art form well worth studying. Ranging from the Pyramids of Ancient Egypt, an outrageous form of physical self-flattery, to the publication of “How To Win Friends and Influence People.” More than mere praise, flattery is praise with a motive. You’re Too Kind looks at flattery and the social contexts in which it is used from Renaissance times up through President Clinton on the opening day of his impeachment inquiry: “I trust the American people. They almost always get it right”.

January Sun

Richard Stengel journeyed to South Africa in the late 1980s to chronicle life under apartheid. He ended up spending months in a small rural town where the white authorities were attempting to forcibly remove a black township. He tells this moving story through the lives of three families—one white, one black, one Indian—over the course of a single day for each of them. The private lives of each family reveal what it was like to live in a society where everyone is judged by the color of his or her skin. Stengel reveals the hopes and dreams of each of these families, and their resilient optimism about the future.

Long Walk to Freedom

The definitive autobiography of Nelson Mandela. Mandela is one of the great moral and political leaders of our time: an international hero whose lifelong dedication to the fight against racial oppression in South Africa won him the Nobel Peace Prize and the presidency of his country. Since his triumphant release in 1990 from more than a quarter-century of imprisonment, Mandela has been at the center of the most compelling and inspiring political drama in the world.

Mandela's Way

A compact, profoundly inspiring book that captures the spirit of Nelson Mandela, distilling the South African leader’s wisdom into 15 life lessons. We long for heroes and have too few. Nelson Mandela, who died in 2013 at the age of ninety-five, is the closest thing the world has to a secular saint. He liberated a country from a system of violent prejudice and helped unite oppressor and oppressed in a way that had never been done before.


“Why Saying Radical Islamic Terrorism Isn’t Enough” -New York Times Op Ed

“Radical islamic Extremism. There, I said it. For three years as under secretary of state for diplomacy and public affairs, I would not and could not utter that phrase. No one in the Obama administration could or did. We used the much less specific term “violent extremism.” As in, “countering violent extremism,” which is what we called most of our anti-Islamic State efforts. And all of the time, we were collectively excoriated by conservatives, Republicans and Donald J. Trump.”

The End of the American Century” -Editorial in The Atlantic

“In 1941, a year before America entered World War II, Henry Luce, the founder and publisher of Time, wrote an essay called “The American Century.” It was an argument not just against isolationism but for America as a global moral beacon. Luce, the son of American missionaries to China, wrote that America must “accept wholeheartedly our duty and our opportunity as the most powerful and vital nation in the world and in consequence exert upon the world the full impact of our influence.” That vision, he wrote, was only possible if it reflected “a passionate devotion to great American ideals.” He enumerated them as a love of freedom and justice, equality of opportunity, and a commitment to truth and charity and cooperation….Trump ’s administration is the death knell of the American Century.”

“A Time to Serve” -Time

“Today the two central acts of democratic citizenship are voting and paying taxes. That’s basically it. The last time we demanded anything else from people was when the draft ended in 1973. And yes, there are libertarians who believe that government asks too much of us — and that the principal right in a democracy is the right to be left alone — but most everyone else bemoans the fact that only about half of us vote and don’t do much more than send in our returns on April 15. The truth is, even the archetype of the model citizen is mostly a myth. Except for times of war and the colonial days, we haven’t been all that energetic about keeping the Republic.”