Playing the Enemy

Playing the Enemy : Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation

4.16 (4,413 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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Now filmed as INVICTUS directed by Clint Eastwood, and starring Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela.


As the day of the final of the 1995 Rugby World Cup dawned, and the Springboks faced New Zealand's all-conquering All Blacks, more was at stake than a sporting trophy. When Nelson Mandela appeared wearing a Springboks jersey and led the all-white Afrikaner-dominated team in singing South Africa's new national anthem, he conquered the hearts of white South Africa.

Playing the Enemy tells the extraordinary human story of how that moment became possible. It shows how a sport, once the preserve of South Africa's Afrikaans-speaking minority, came to unify the new rainbow nation, and tells of how - just occasionally - something as simple as a game really can help people to rise above themselves and see beyond their differences.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 22mm | 9,120g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Tie-In - (Now filmed as Invictus)
  • 1 x 8pp b/w plate section
  • 9781848876590
  • 86,355

Review Text

Wonderful... Don't wait for the movie. New York Times
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Review quote

Wonderful... Don't wait for the movie. * New York Times * A triumphant conversion... A portrait of South Africa's answer to George Washington... [It] works because Carlin got so close to Mandela and the people Mandela seduced. -- Simon Kuper * Financial Times * Revelatory... A tight, gripping and powerful book that shines a light on a moment of hope, not just for one nation but the whole world. * Daily Express * A fascinating story... Thirteen years on, it is possible to look back with emotion at a moment which suggested that everything was possible. -- Justin Cartwright * Sunday Telegraph *
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About John Carlin

John Carlin grew up in Argentina and in the UK and spent 1989-95 in South Africa as the Independent's correspondent there. He has also lived in Nicaragua, Mexico and Washington, writing for The Times, the Observer, the Sunday Times, the New York Times, among other papers, and working for the BBC. He now lives in Barcelona, where he writes for El Pais.
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Rating details

4,413 ratings
4.16 out of 5 stars
5 40% (1,776)
4 40% (1,780)
3 16% (690)
2 3% (137)
1 1% (30)
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