A new collection from the private papers of former South African President Nelson Mandela reveals years of heartache due to missing his family while in prison and his discomfort at becoming a national icon.

Conversations with Myself draws on Mandela’s personal archive to offer unique access to the inspiring world leader.  The records include journals kept on the run during the anti-apartheid struggle of the early 1960s; diaries and draft letters written while on Robben Island and other South African prisons during his 27 years of incarceration; notebooks from the post-apartheid transition; privately recorded conversations; speeches and correspondence written during his presidency.

The book illuminates a heroic life forged on the front lines of the struggle for freedom and justice and reveals his thoughts on everything from the danger of corruption in power to his grief at his son’s death.

Now 92, the man who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his struggle against the White-minority apartheid government says he doesn’t want to be remembered as a larger-than-life saint.

“One issue that deeply worried me in prison was the false image I unwittingly projected to the outside world; of being regarded as a saint,” he was reported to say in South Africa’s Sunday Times.  “I never was one, even on the basis of the earthly definition of a saint as a sinner who keeps trying.”

The man known as “Madiba” was detained for 27 years for resisting apartheid rule.  He was released in 1990 and led negotiations with the government that culminated in his election as the country’s first Black president in 1994.

Compiled by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the newly-published book includes a foreword by President Barack Obama and is available in hardcover and Kindle editions on Amazon.com.