I can't remember the last time I actually cried while I read a book. Sure, I have been misty eyed here or there but not to the point of actual tears and this was a nonfiction book. John Carlin has delivered one of the the best sports books that I have ever read. Carlin has a great style in relating the importance of the 1995 World Cup Rugby Tournament had in the creation of the new republic of South Africa. He captures the spirit of the time and artful maneuvering of Nelson Mandela as he kept together the nation from breaking down into racial strife. Rugby for years had been viewed by black South Africans as a white sport loved by the Apartheid regime. The newly elected Mandela used the sport and South Africa's unlikely run in the tournament to bring a nation together. It is part political thriller and part sporting Cinderella story.
The book is currently being made into a movie by Clint Eastwood starring Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon as the South African Rugby Captain of the Springboks. The filming started in Cape Town while I was there.
After I finished the book, I sent an e-mail to my friends that are sports fans and told them to pick this one up. Now, I am telling you. You will not be disappointed.