The Mirror at Midnight: A South African Journey

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 41%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 88%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (25) from $1.99   
  • New (12) from $2.98   
  • Used (13) from $1.99   


History lies heavily on South Africa, and Adam Hochschild brings to bear a lifetime's familiarity with the country in an eye-opening work that blends history and reportage. Hochschild looks at the tensions of modern South Africa through a dramatic prism: the pivotal nineteenth-century Battle of Blood River -- which determined whether the Boers or the Zulus would control that part of the world -- and its contentious commemoration by rival groups 150 years later. This incisive book offers an unusual window onto a society that remains divided. In his epilogue, Hochschild extends his view to the astonishing political changes that have occurred in the country in recent years -- and the changes yet to be made.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Edward Hower
No recent book can better clarify South Africa's dilemma than 'The Mirror at Midnight,' by Adam Hochschild, a former editor and co-founder of Mother Jones magazine. During his several visits to the country, he visited historic shrines, ob- served political trials, interviewed scores of people in wealthy white suburbs and crowded black townships. He has brought back a thoroughly researched, immensely readable book, a work of vivid reportage and astute political analysis. --San Francisco Chronicle
Robin Cohen
There is an old adage that an observer sometimes sees more of the game than a participant. An even better combination is a disinterested observer who none the less shares an intimate connection with his subject. Adam Hochschild, an American re- porter, first saw South Africa as an adolescent accompanying his father on a business trip in the 1950s. He immediately recognized that the country's political convulsions were not merely an inter- nal matter but a moral battleground of worldwide significance, in much the same way as the implications of the Spanish Civil War and the rise of Hitler's Germany transcended their immediate context....

By cleverly weaving in his own experiences and contempo- rary interviews with the warp and woof of South African history, the author has successfully confronted some key themes unre- solved in a post-apartheid society. He even has the grace to concede that American history is not that dissimilar from that of South Africa and, had the population ratio between native Ameri- cans and white settlers been reversed, a development kindred to apartheid would have emerged. -- Daily Telegraph (London)

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a stunning blend of reportage, travelogue, history and meditation, Hochschild focuses on the Great Trek of 1836-1839, when Boer coastal settlers, armed with muskets, ox whips and Bibles, staked out the borders of modern South Africa. He reenacts the pivotal Battle of Blood River in 1838, in which countless Zulus were massacred, and explains how Dingane, tall, stout chief of the Zulus' military kingdom, was demonized later by white historians. Today the Great Trek is part of ``the 150-year-old national myth of Afrikaners- as-victims.'' Turning to reportage, Hochschild Half the Way Home , who visited South Africa in 1988, interviewed the head of a neo-Nazi group, a ``coloured'' racially mixed teacher who spent 10 years in a black-only prison, and the four Watson brothers, rugby stars who have been targets of repeated assassination attempts for refusing to play on all-white teams. An epilogue covers events up to the present. One of the most illuminating books ever written on contemporary South Africa, this biopsy probes the racial divide in razor-sharp prose. Nov.
Library Journal
Hochschild, a cofounder of Mother Jones magazine and author of the acclaimed memoir Half Way Home LJ 5/15/86; an LJ ``Best Book of 1986'', here takes readers on a journey back to the Battle of Blood River in 1838. This was a pivotal point in South African history, Hochschild says, since it was the beginning of white South Africans' sense of manifest destiny and the root of their current apartheid policies. Antagonism between Dutch and English settlers in South Africa led to a great trek to supposedly unclaimed land; Hochschild shows how this was really achieved by displacing and killing the native black inhabitants. In the retelling of this history, Hochschild gives readers food for thought and reassessment about modern South Africa, and provides American readers with some uncomfortable parallels to our own sense of manifest destiny and treatment of natives. Many good books on South Africa have been published recently, but this offers an intriguing new perspective. A good choice for all libraries.-- Louise Leonard, Univ. of Florida Libs., Gainesville
School Library Journal
YA-- A plethora of books about apartheid and South Africa have appeared in this column recently, but Hochschild's book puts forth a historical outlook explaining modern South African problems. By retelling the story of the 1838 Battle of Blood River, he focuses on conflicts between Dutch and English settlers as they moved into ``unclaimed'' land and thus uprooted and killed native blacks. Hochschild indicates that feelings of apartheid had their beginnings here. This is a strong addition to African history sections, and bright, mature YAs will draw comparisons to this continent's white man and the Native American.-- Mike Printz, Topeka West High School, KS
Christopher Hitchens
Adam Hochschild has written a good anatomy of the way in which racism depends upon racists, and the ways in which racists become a menace even to what they consider their own kith and kin. -- Newsweek
Adam Hochschild has written a good anatomy of the way in which racism depends upon racists, and the ways in which racists become a menace even to what they consider their own kith and kin.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618758258
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/24/2007
  • Pages: 322
  • Sales rank: 688,410
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Adam Hochschild

ADAM HOCHSCHILD has written for The New Yorker, Harper's, The New York Review of Books, Granta, The New York Times Magazine, and many other newspapers and magazines. In King Leopold’s Ghost, To End All Wars, and other books, Hochschild has earned a reputation as a master of suspense and vivid character portrayal. His skill at evoking such struggles for justice has made him a finalist for the National Book Award and won him a host of other prizes.

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      San Francisco, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 5, 1942
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      A.B., Harvard College, 1963

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2013


    Raced away

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2013


    Correction. Its Myntlight. She doesn't go by Mynt anymore. And I know because I rp her.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2013


    Gtg bbt aanyway

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2013


    Result three

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2010


    Adam Hochschild's book is incredibly moving and enlightening. It unveils the true life that is in South Africa under the Apartheid. Anyone who is interested in human rights should read this one.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)