Nelson Mandela, who died December 5, refused to be thought of as a saint. “I never was one,” he insisted—“even on the basis of an earthly definition of a saint as a sinner who keeps trying.” He wasn’t just being modest. He had a weakness for fine clothes and good-looking women, and he certainly was no pacifist. But a halo was the last thing Mandela needed. He spent half a century wrestling South Africa’s white-minority rulers to the negotiating table, and when he finally got them there, he had to be a hard bargainer, not a holy man.