Mandela and the General

Oriol Malet (illus.). Plough. Nov. 2018. 112p. ISBN 9780874868203. pap. $19.95. BIOG
OrangeReviewStarReleased from prison in 1990, Nelson Mandela (1918{amp}ndash;2013) unites the black people of South Africa against Dutch-mandated apartheid and aims to integrate peacefully both government and culture. But under the leadership of decorated Gen. Constand Viljoen (b. 1933), a coalition of white Afrikaners will resist to the death. British reporter Carlin (Knowing Mandela) interviewed both leaders and tells the story from the general's perspective. How Mandela talked Viljoen away from a race war toward collaboration makes a fascinating parable with relevance to today's polarized politics. "We must put ourselves in his shoes if we want to defeat him," Mandela tells his supporters. Eventually, Viljoen agrees with Mandela, who explains that violence will not get the whites what they want. Malet's realistic, narrow-line black-and-white art, set against brightly colored accents, pulls out key contrasts.
VERDICT This case study in the power of empathy to defuse conflict stands apart from the often murky annals of would-be peacemaking. Highly recommended for all collections.

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