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My Traitor's Heart: A South African Exile Returns to Face His Country, His Tribe, and His Conscience [NOOK Book]

Overview


“Here is truth-telling at its most exemplary and courageous. The remorseless exercise of a reporter’s anguished conscience gives us a South Africa we thought we knew all about: but we knew nothing.” —John le Carré
My Traitor’s Heart is an astonishing work of reportage, at once beautiful, horrifying, and profound—a book unlike any other about South Africa. Rian Malan is an Afrikaner, scion of a centuries-old clan deeply involved in the creation of apartheid. As a young crime ...
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My Traitor's Heart: A South African Exile Returns to Face His Country, His Tribe, and His Conscience

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Overview


“Here is truth-telling at its most exemplary and courageous. The remorseless exercise of a reporter’s anguished conscience gives us a South Africa we thought we knew all about: but we knew nothing.” —John le Carré
My Traitor’s Heart is an astonishing work of reportage, at once beautiful, horrifying, and profound—a book unlike any other about South Africa. Rian Malan is an Afrikaner, scion of a centuries-old clan deeply involved in the creation of apartheid. As a young crime reporter, Malan covered the atrocities of an undeclared race war and ultimately fled the country, unhinged by what he had seen. Eight years later, he returns to confront his own demons, and those that are tearing his country apart. Written in the final years of apartheid’s bloody collapse, My Traitor’s Heart still resonates, offering a chilling—but ultimately redemptive—vision of the darkest recesses of the black and white South African psyches.

"The remorseless exercise of a reporter's anguished conscience gives us a South Africa we thought we knew all about: but we knew nothing." -- John le Carre

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Written with smoldering moral outrage, this odyssey offers a firsthand glimpse of South African apartheid and its practitioners' rationalizations. The author grew up in a white Johannesburg suburb; his great-uncle Daniel Malan was the first Afrikaner nationalist prime minister and an architect of today's racist system. The author, a youthful leftist, then a crime reporter, left his homeland in 1977 to become a Los Angeles rock 'n' roll critic, returning to South Africa in 1985. His blistering book combines autobiography, reportage, coming to terms with his ancestral roots and loosely-stitched-together tales of murder and violence committed predominantly by whites. He claims that, for fear of being branded racists, white liberals avoid discussing certain topics, such as atrocities committed by blacks in the name of the anti-apartheid struggle and blacks' involvement in animistic religions. He sees no ready solutions in the fight to change an oppressive system. Author tour. (Jan.)
Library Journal
This soul-searching account of an Afrikaner's life in apartheid South Africa joins a growing body of publications by South Africans of every ethnic group. Malan, the grand nephew of a major definer of the doctrine of apartheid, Daniel Malan, left South Africa in 1977, in part to avoid military service, and returned eight years later. This book reports his observations of violent death in the land. He details instances of whites killing blacks, blacks killing blacks, blacks killing whites, politically motivated murder, and economically motivated murder. Well written, gripping, and disturbing, the descriptions leave one with a sense of despair which makes Malan's final note of hope all the more remarkable. Recommended for adult general readers as well as those with a special interest in South Africa.-- Maidel Cason, Univ. of Delaware Lib., Newark
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802193902
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/11/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 285,036
  • File size: 754 KB

Read an Excerpt

"It all leads back, in the end, to Dawid Malan and a law formulated on the far bank of the Great Fish River two hundred years ago: You have to put the black man down, plant your foot on his neck, and keep him that way forever, lest he spring up and slit your throat. What would you have me say? That I think apartheid is stupid and vicious? I do. That I'm sorry? I am, I am. That I'm not like the rest of them? If you'd met me a few years ago, in a bar in London or New York, I would have told you that. I would have told you that only I, of all my blind clan and tribe, had eyes that could truly see, and that what I saw appalled me. I would have passed myself off as a political exile, an enlightened sort who took black women into his bed and fled his country rather than carry a gun for the abominable doctrine of white supremacy. You would probably have believed me. I almost believed myself, you see, but in truth I was always one of them. I am a white man born in Africa, and all else flows from there."
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2014

    Wonderfully frank and revealing

    Nothing short of a masterpiece. I felt like I was there with the author in this memoir. Unusual take on the two faced monster that is the country of South Africa during apartied. Moving and personal, this book opened my mind to the beauty that is told in truth. Emotionally draining. Thank you, Rian Malan, for your courage as I find your words meaningful and inspirational.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2001

    An eye-opener

    This book makes racial tensions in the American South seem quite mild. Malan's accounts of South Africa made my stomach turn, but this book was so interesting that I could barely put it down. This is a must-read for anyone who wants to broaden their view of the world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2001

    Read an excerpt, any excerpt, then read the book

    6 Stars. When I read this I'd heard nothing of this book, or author, so maybe we're starting from the same place, hey? But reading this was the most startling, soul searching, eye-opening, profound, beautiful, completely shattering experience. I will never love a book like this one. I won't say more, just read it. The last pages of this book are the most beautiful I have ever read. There's something startling about this man's honesty and clarity of perception.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2000

    A study of my own heart.

    Mr. Malan delves honestly into the horror and beauty of South Africa by way of his own heart. He does not leave one centimeter of his own intentions, history, or self unsearched. As an American living in Africa, I felt so connected to this book, and it caused me to look at my own deamons. Thank you, Mr. Malan This book is not easy to read, in fact is disturbing at times. But in it's honesty is grace, and in deed, a beginning of an answer to the fear we all have.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews

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