Archbishop Desmond Tutu is one of the world's most influential religious leaders; his words and actions in the pursuit of peace and justice have inspired millions.
In "Rabble-Rouser For Peace: The Authorized Biography Of Desmond Tutu" (Free Press; $28), John Allen, a journalist who has reported on and worked closely with Tutu for 30 years, reveals for the first time the complete story of how a sickly boy from South Africa's poverty-stricken Black townships became one of the world's best-known religious figures, a moral icon to those who work for peace and justice everywhere.
Published to coincide with Tutu's 75th birthday last Oct. 17, "Rabble-Rouser For Peace" contains never-before-seen material including details of secret files of the apartheid government; how Tutu was chosen above Nelson Mandela and other South African leaders as the 1984 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize; and the truth about his relationship with F.W. de Klerk, the last state president of apartheid South Africa.
Drawn from 30 years of first-hand contact with Tutu, Allen presents not only a vivid character study of a public figure with a capacity to communicate warmth, humor and compassion; but a rich account of his dynamic place in history.
From Tutu's upbringing and education, to his transition from teacher to priest, and the career through which he became one of the founding fathers of democracy in South Africa, this book gives the full picture of both the public and the private man.
We witness Tutu, on the one hand, as a man of action who has literally kept the peace between warring factions on the street with nothing more than a megaphone, and, on the other hand, we see him as a contemplative person able to tap into depths of spirituality and serenity for which so many people today are seeking. In "Rabble-Rouser For Peace," Allen also delves into Tutu's relationship with the United States, including African Americans, and the Reagan administration. It also includes revelations from internal White House files from the Reagan and first Bush administrations.
Tutu's achievements and determination, captured in this biography, are powerful and moving. The story of Desmond Tutu's life tells a crucial part of South Africa's history and its movement towards peace, but it also follows the growth of one of the best-loved and globally most recognized men in our time. "Rabble-Rouser For Peace" is the long-awaited definitive biography of a truly phenomenal life.
John Allen is a South African journalist who has served as a director of communications of South Africa's groundbreaking Truth and Reconciliation Committee, and of Trinity Church Wall Street in New York. He is a former president of the South African Society of Journalists and has won awards in South Africa for defense of press freedom and in the U.S. for excellence in church journalism.