I gave up on page 75 Tutu is an amazing man but this book is not amazing Maybe it would have been better if I had full knowledge on the situation in South Africa at the time I found myself looking up a lot of things the book would talk about or reference but didn t actually explain it in the book It was also very dry, I think if I had read the whole thing I would have learned a lot but I couldn t force myself through any. The authorized biography of Desmond Tutu is an interesting read I ve had this one on my to read list for quite a while, as I ve been fascinated by Tutu s achievements and his ideology While it partly lived up to my expectations, on the whole I found this a very frustrating read, due, I suspect, to competing agendas on the part of it s co authors On one hand, perhaps reflecting the influence of Mpho Tutu, Desmond Tutu s daughter, the book reads as a glowing tribute to Tutu At the end of each chapter there are reflections from friends, family and iconic figures who are lavish praise on Tutu I suspect that these sit a bit naturally in the print version of the book, but in the kindle version they loom oddly from the midst of a chronological telling of Tutu s life Allister Sparks, for his part, inserts biographical information that is of interest to him While for most of the book he delivers an even handed rendering of Tutu s life, when he reaches the time of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Sparks goes into considerable detail to recount the activities of the TCR, often beyond Tutu s involvement This book reinforced my interest in Tutu, but I think I will have to look further afield to find a book that really gives me what I m looking for. Commemorating Desmond Tutu S Eightieth Birthday, This Stirring Biography Commemorates The Life, Philosophy, Faith, And Achievements Of One Of The Greatest Moral Heroes Of Our Time Written By Allister Sparks, Tutu Authorized Featuring Contributions From His Holiness The Dalai Lama, President Barack Obama, And Nelson Mandela, As Well As Interviews Given By Reverend Mpho Tutu, Desmond Tutu S Daughter, To World Leaders And Public Figures Including Hillary Clinton, Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter, Bono, Richard Branson, And FW De Klerk A Stirring Exploration And Graphically Rich Presentation Of One Of The World S Most Inspirational And Altruistic Figures, Tutu Authorized Overflows With Illuminating Revelations About Tutu S Life And Resonates With Insights Into How We Can Each Work To Improve Peace, Fairness, And Happiness In The World Around Us Tutu s story is a necessary one to tell in our world s recent history He is a powerful figure who was a driving force behind the destruction of apartheid, and remains a booming voice for change behind some of the world s most urgent current issues.This book only does an adequate job of telling his story From this work, one can learn much about the trajectory of Tutu s life and his values, but it does so at a surface level This book lionizes Tutu without going into much depth about the complexities he faced and still encounters For instance, the thrust of his theological praxis is forgiveness, but we never see a moment in which Tutu wrestles with forgiving Botha Also, the narrative Christianity as if it is monolithic But surely Tutu has encountered resistance from both conservative and orthodox factions for his political involvement and pluralism We hear little to none of this.To press the religious point further, this biography neglects much of his religious involvement as archbishop, focusing instead on his humanitarian efforts What ecclesial responsibilities did he have as an overseer of the Church Further, some of the witnesses to his life given in this book noted his spiritually apart from the Church, which actually is a slap in the face to most religious folk There is little in this biography to suggest that Tutu s religiosity was very particular, with the exception of a few comments by the Dalai Lama Indeed, Tutu seems very different than modern Anglican leaders like Rowan Williams and NT Wright or even the Catholic Pope Francis and this warrants attention by the biographers.In short, Tutu s life is worthy of study and reflection, but this should not be the only place to source such an endeavor. What a pleasure it was to read this delightful book Really enjoyed spending time with one of my top personal heros, the Arch, Desmond Tutu As one of the super Laureates, along with the Dalai Lama, he istruly one of the greatest living spiritual leaders of our times I have followed him since I worked as an activist against the Apartheid in South Africa That was back in the 80 s when I was living in England Anyway, this man is certainly one of the most beloved and admired people on earth And one of the highlights of this particular book is the many personal anecdotes written by everyone from fellow anti Apartheid activists, to religious compatriots, to family and friends including Bono, the Dalai Lama to Samuel L Jackson, Harry Belafonte, Richard Goldstone and even Presidents Obama Clinton I highly, highly recommend this book I have the image of the Arch dancing, like only he can, at the recent football world cup in South Africa.. It s a good practice, I think, to read books about inspiring people who have lived remarkable lives It s a way of learning to see the world through the eyes of those who have most profoundly shaped it For my part, I ve made it a point to learn what I can from Nobel Peace Prize winners folks like Martin Luther King, Jr., Wangari Maathai, Elie Wiesel, Adolfo P rez Esquivel, Dag Hammarskj ld, and Mother Teresa.Another remarkably inspiring Nobel laureate for me is Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who led the nonviolent anti apartheid movement in South Africa and served as chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission He just turned 80, and a new biography was published for the occasion Tutu Authorized HarperOne , by South African journalist Allister Sparks and Tutu s daughter, Mpho Tutu The book also includes anecdotes and memories from a great variety of people who have known Tutu or have been impacted by him in different ways, and these perspectives give the book its intimate feel I d already read two of Tutu s books, and did some research on him while I was at Eastern, but reading this new biography was a real treat See at I was fascinated by him during my coffee shop enigmatic poetry black turtleneck years and then again in young adulthood as he received the Nobel Peace Prize, when I traveled to Africa it was to the east not the south and so he only briefly figured on my mental screens and in my leisure reading I picked this book up as a fan of Spark s reporting style knowing I would love the medium and method of portraying a modern myth I picked this up for the teller and immediately fell in love with the story With this biography Tutu has moved off the shelf of living history and motivational peace maker to spiritual icon all the admired for the humanity revealed in all the personal stories Thanks to Mpho and Allister, I feel I have truly met Reverend Tutu and am a better person for the introduction. I really struggled to get through this book In fact it took me months Which was disappointing, because I was really looking forward to reading it Desmond Tutu is one of my greatest heroes I think it was a combination of factors that formed my opinion It wasn t a straight out biography, but sometimes jumped from one place to another without a real flow The text was interrupted by little pieces by people Tutu has known, worked with or influenced And it was a good old fashioned hagiography Not that I want to read bad things about The Arch, but neither do I want 300 pages of people going on about how great he is. Fascinating look into the man and his times. If you adore the television series starring Martin Sheen titled West Wing , and are old enough to remember the anti apartheid protests of the mid to late 80s and the early 90s, chances are that you will find this book engaging.Or, if you have a spiritual bent and find the topic of forgiveness fascinating, this book will be interesting as well.The book is a political history of the period The political intrigue that you get to learn about, from the Western powers who influenced the Afrikaaners South African government to the radicals of the Anglican Church to the police whose strategies eerily reminded me of the repression of Black citizens right here in Ferguson, Missouri, to the activism of retired world politicians it s all fascinating.A few gems are coming to understand what kinds of experiences Archbishop Tutu triumphed over which molded his character and tested him repeatedly to the point that Afrikaans politicians both envied and feared him the turning point s in the war against white separatist extremism and finally what concepts made Archbishop Tutu see beyond race as well as he did Even the narrator is trying to figure that out as he goes along Tutu is amazing The author is however neither the age nor the race of his subject and his perspective begins to feel superficial Luckily he has included testimonials of older South Africans as well as older statesmen who are better able to describe Tutu s character These are helpful and in fact after reading them you wonder what else Sparks has missed Only Kofi Annan, Nelson Mandela, and Tutu s personal secretary come close to making critical remarks about him, which help us to understand Tutu slightly better No father figures exist however, who are able to shed light to cast a longer shadow, showing us how Tutu has changed since childhood This piece can be felt to be missing I feel Sparks could have tried to find elders who might have known Tutu from his earliest years if they still exist.Anyone who has studied the anti apartheid movement knows that there is much here Robben Island prison conditions for example are left out the cold temperatures endured by Mandela and causing him late life illnesses the parting of blacks hair with a pencil to determine if they were mixed race or black the involvement of Indians in the ANC the nature of mining work for black South Africans and the inhuman hours underground and the conditions the experience of average women and what they did to feed their families while also serving as single parents these are totally left out and could have should have been included Had Sparks invited an activist to consult a black apartheid activist who lived through it and survived with children we might understand just how desparate things were I have done this research but readers may not have this is sorely missing from the book s portrayal of this period Instead, the period is described as a series of political periods with no reference to practical changes on the ground how things changed for the average black South African in practical terms the cost of a loaf of bread, access to transport, running water, etc These things are very much glossed over It is much of a political history than a historical account Personally, I would have loved some historical details.I also resonated to the theme of trying to get forgiveness to unfold the main work of Archbishop Tutu and how he used personal charisma and precise timing to push his message through People of spiritual faith will catch he suggestion that Tutu was a great soul, channeling God s instructions and listening to an inner voice during the most unpredictable of times Like great spiritual leaders he meditated daily for a lengthy amount, cultivating his inner voice It was wonderful to read about his enormous discipline, very inspiring, very telling Jimmy Carter s testimonial is a good read for info on this Any student of spiritual work will recognize that Tutu is a greatly accomplished teacher.To get a picture of Tutu the man, you can read all of the personal testimonials sprinkled throughout the boko, from Quincy Jones, Samuel Jackson and Harry Belafonte to Jimmy Carter, Kofe Annan and Sir Richard Branson, as well as Madiba or Nelson Mandela An excellent political history of this period.
Allister Haddon Sparks was a South African writer, journalist and political commentator He was the editor of The Rand Daily Mail when it broke Muldergate, the story of how the apartheid government secretly funded information projects.Sparks later wrote a number of critically acclaimed books on South Africa s transition from apartheid, including Tomorrow is Another Country 1996 , The Mind of Sout
- 368 pages
- Allister Sparks
- 01 June 2017 Allister Sparks