Journey Continued: An Autobiography

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this sequel to Towards the Mountain , South African writer Paton describes the Sharpeville massacre of 1960 in which 69 protesters were killed, many shot in the back. But Paton, who died last April, concludes that H. F. Verwoerd, architect of apartheid, was not an evil man, merely arrogant and self-deluded. This straightforward memoir by the author of Cry, the Beloved Country starts in 1948 with the Afrikan Nationalist Party's seizure of power. Chronicling government harassment, torture and the passage of racial laws, Paton follows the Nationalists' tightening death-grip on a country ``living on the slopes of a volcano.'' He writes in detail about the Liberal Party, of which he was founder and leader, defending it against critics who charge that it weakened the true opposition. Paton's testimony at the 1964 trial of Nelson Mandela, and his account of the Treason Trial (1956-61) in which hundreds of dissenters were arrested, are high points in this reenactment of his public life. (October)
Booknews
The first volume of Paton's autobiography, Towards the mountain was published in 1980. This second volume, completed before his death on April 12, 1988, begins in 1948 and ends in 1968. It covers the period in which all of his writings were published, and covers as well his part in founding and nurturing the Liberal Party of South Africa, of which he became National Chairman. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780020359555
  • Publisher: Macmillan Publishing Company, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/1990
  • Pages: 314

Meet the Author

Alan Paton
South African author and activist Alan Paton once reflected, "Who knows why we live, and struggle, and die? Wise men write many books, in words too hard to understand. But this, the purpose of our lives, the end of all our struggle, is beyond all human wisdom." However, the wisdom of his beloved novel Cry, the Beloved Country made his one of South Africa's most resounding voices.

Biography

Alan Paton, a native son of South Africa, was born in Pietermaritzburg, in the province of Natal, in 1903. While his mother was a third-generation South African, his father was a Scots Presbyterian who arrived in South Africa just before the Boer War.

Alan Paton attended college in Pietermaritzburg, where he studied science and wrote poetry in his off-hours. After graduating, he wrote two novels and then promptly destroyed them. He devoted himself to writing poetry once again, and later, in his middle years, he wrote serious essays for liberal South African magazines, much the same way his character, Arthur Jarvis, does in Cry, the Beloved Country.

Paton's initial career was spent teaching in schools for the sons of rich white South Africans, But at 30, when he was teaching in Pietermaritzburg, he suffered a severe attack of enteric fever, and in the time he had to reflect upon his life, he decided that he did not want to spend his life teaching the sons of the rich.

Paton was a great admirer of Hofmeyr, a man who dared to tell his fellow Afrikaners that they must give up "thinking with the blood," and "maintain the essential value of human personality as something independent of race or color." Paton wrote to Hofmeyr and asked him for a job. To his surprise, he was offered a job as principal of Diepkloof Reformatory, a huge prison school for delinquent black boys, on the edge of Johannesburg. It was a penitentiary, with barbed wire and barred cells, and under Hofmeyr's inspiring leadership, Paton transformed it. Geraniums replaced the barbed wire, the bars were torn down, and soon the feeling in the place changed.

He worked at Diepkloof for ten years, and though it was certainly a fertile period, at the end of it Paton felt so strongly that he needed a change, that he sold his life insurance policies to finance a prison-study trip that took him to Scandinavia, England, and the United States. It was during this time that he unexpectedly wrote his first published novel, Cry, the Beloved Country. It was in Norway that he began it, after a friendly stranger had taken him to see the rose window in the cathedral of Trondheim by torchlight. Paton, no doubt inspired, sat down in his hotel room and wrote the whole first chapter. He had no idea what the rest of the story would be, but it formed itself while he traveled. Parts were written in Stockholm, Trondheim, Oslo, London, and the United States. It was finished in San Francisco. Cry, the Beloved Country was first published in 1948 by Charles Scribner's Sons. It stands as the single most important novel in South African literature.

Alan Paton died in 1988 in South Africa.

Author biography courtesy of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Good To Know

After studies at the University of Natal, Paton taught at the Ixopo High School for White Students and then at a high school in Pietermaritzburg.

Cry, the Beloved Country was adapted into a play in 1949, entitled Lost in the Stars, featuring songs by composer Kurt Weill. In 1995, a feature film version was released, starring James Earl Jones as Kumalo.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Alan Stewart Patton
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 11, 1903
    2. Place of Birth:
      Pietermaritzburg, Natal, South Africa
    1. Date of Death:
      April 12, 1988
    2. Place of Death:
      Durban, Natal, South Africa

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