An assessment of Nelson Mandela's early years as an anti-apartheid revolutionary profiles his country at the time of his youth while describing his decision to leave his family in order to organize first strikes against the apartheid state.
<div>Nelson Mandela is well-known throughout the world as a heroic leader who symbolizes freedom and moral authority. He is fixed in the public mind as the world's elder statesman -- the gray-haired man with a kindly smile who spent 27 years in prison before becoming the first black president in South Africa. <br><br> But Nelson Mandela was not always elderly or benign. And, in <i>Young Mandela</i>, award-winning journalist and author David James Smith takes us deep into the heart of racist South Africa to paint a portrait of the Mandela that many have forgotten: the committed revolutionary who left his family behind to live on the run, adopting false names and disguises and organizing the first strikes to overthrow the apartheid state. <i>Young Mandela</i> lifts the curtain on an icon's first steps to greatness.</div>