Tag Archive: Madiba Nelson Mandela


Review by C.J. Bunce

Whenever you read a Colin Solter book, you know what you’re going to get.  Salter, author of 100 Speeches that Changed the World and the co-author of 100 Books that Changed the World, is bringing his next thought-provoking ideas to your bookstore next month, 100 Letters that Changed the World.  As with his prior entries in the series, Solter doesn’t really assemble the 100 best, 100 favorite, or even 100 most important items in each category, but he brings to light primary references from history.  In doing this he reminds readers as much as things change, they also manage to stay the same.  Having read his earlier books, I find I’m as intrigued to learn what he has selected from the obscure as much as more expected finds.

In truth, not all of these letters changed the world, if anyone, as might be the case with a few suicide notes from popular culture across the decades.  It also gives a bit more weight to letters that exist in their original form today, and letters that might fetch big dollars on the collector’s market.  The most intriguing of the letters is a note from Abigail Adams to husband John Adams from 1776.  Her letter decidedly did not change the world, because had Adams paid heed to her plea, women would have been included along with “all men” in the Declaration of Independence.  But it is a fascinating secret from history nonetheless.  Also fascinating is the final, jovial letter from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to his wife Constanze, including references to his peer Antonio Salieri.

More obvious, important entries in 100 Letters that Changed the World include the telegram informing FDR about the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s open letter from a Birmingham jail, Nelson Mandela’s letters from prison, and words of King Henry VIII’s affections to Anne Boleyn, which indeed would forever alter the course of history in Europe, Christopher Columbus’s first report back to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in 1493, as well as Galileo mentioning his telescope whereby he first saw the moons of Jupiter and noted its military advantage for Italian naval efforts in 1610.  And from the historic, but perhaps not so critical to human progress is the last telegram message from the RMS Titanic, a telegram from the Wright Brothers to their father of their successful first airplane flight, and Pliny the Younger’s letter to Tacitus describing the horrific deaths from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79.

Continue reading

Eddie Izzard 27 marathon

But is he Superman or The Flash?

This weekend Eddie Izzard proved he can do anything.  Renaissance man and jack-of-all-trades, he is one of the world’s funniest comedians, performing some of the best stand-up routines you’ll ever watch.  First known for his cross-dressing performances, he became a fixture in some of the best movies and film roles of this century, including key roles in superhero shows like Powers, Mystery Men, and My Super Ex-Girlfriend.  On television, he could be found in lead roles in Treasure Island, The Riches and Hannibal, in popular movies like Ocean’s Twelve and Shadow of the Vampire, and doing voice work on films like The Chronicles of Narnia and the animated movie Igor.  He is one of those rare performers who can play it for laughs and also transfix viewers in the most serious drama.  His work in Valkyrie should have netted him an Oscar.  As for his status in the comedy elite, the members of Monty Python have referred to him as The Lost Python.

Izzard talks the talk and walks the walk.  He’s among the highest echelon of British philanthropists, giving millions over the years to bringing about political change and social reform.

And he has now established he can run with the best of them.

Izzard comedian stand up

Yesterday at age 54 Izzard finished running 27 marathons, more than 700 miles, in 27 days.  His running achievement took him across South Africa for Sport Relief, a charity that benefits the poor and impoverished across the globe.  The 27 days reflected the number of years Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, and Izzard finished his run beneath a statue of Mandela in the city of Pretoria.  In doing so he raised nearly $2 million from donors.  And it wasn’t easy.  He was forced to skip one day for health reasons, but fulfilled his pledge by running two marathons on the 27th day.  Wow.  What did you do yesterday?

Continue reading