The Washington Post
From the author of The Fate of Africa: A vivid, gripping history of the turbulent years leading up to the founding of the modern state of South Africa in 1910
The Washington Post
The New York Times
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- 6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.90(d)
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Meet the Author
Martin Meredith is a journalist, biographer, and historian who has written extensively on Africa and its recent history. His previous books include Mugabe and The Fate of Africa. He lives near Oxford, England.
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This book is an excellent depiction of South Africa's history from the start of the diamond rush through the date when they became a Union in 1910. It sets out a part of history that most South Africans are not very familiar with and Meredith captures it in this great book, which is a fine balance between detail and an easy read. He manages to stay very objective in his writing and potray the facts as they were. As a South African I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I certainly learned history of my country that I was not familiar with and also obtained a better understanding for a lot of things that is still prevailent in the South African society of today.
A fascinating, if occasionally slow, story about the formation of South Africa. Like most Americans, I was vaguely familiar with the Boer wars and conflicts with the Zulu tribe, but I had no idea how the country and its original racist policies were founded. I thought the author did an excellent job of introducing some of the main ¿characters¿ from each of the interested parties ¿ the British, the Afrikaners, the native tribes and even some with no obvious link to Africa. However, the author did not fully develop most of these individuals. Instead, the focus was clearly on one British diamond/gold magnet 'admittedly with good reason'. It often seemed that the author assumed that the reader would know more about many of the other players 'which means much is probably lost on an unfamiliar American audience'. Most of the book is interesting but there are definitely a few sluggish spots. And while the formation of South Africa is rife with armed conflict, the author only gives the reader the barest essentials of such battles. Finally, I would have appreciated a ¿whatever happened to¿ section at the end of the book. For some of the more well known players, for example Churchill or Ghandi, such a section probably wouldn¿t add much, but for most others, the abrupt end of the book left me more than curious. Overall, a recommended read though.