Ruth First and Joe Slovo in the War against Apartheid

Ruth First and Joe Slovo in the War against Apartheid

by Alan Wieder, Nadine Gordimer
     
 

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Ruth First and Joe Slovo, husband and wife, were leaders of the war to end apartheid in South Africa. Communists, scholars, parents,
and uncompromising militants, they were the perfect enemies for the white police state. Together they were swept up in the growing resistance to apartheid, and together they experienced repression and exile. Their contributions to the… See more details below

Overview

Ruth First and Joe Slovo, husband and wife, were leaders of the war to end apartheid in South Africa. Communists, scholars, parents,
and uncompromising militants, they were the perfect enemies for the white police state. Together they were swept up in the growing resistance to apartheid, and together they experienced repression and exile. Their contributions to the liberation struggle,
as individuals and as a couple, are undeniable. Ruth agitated tirelessly for the overthrow of apartheid, first in South Africa and then from abroad, and Joe directed much of the armed struggle carried out by the famous Umkhonto we Sizwe. Only one of them,
however, would survive to see the fall of the old regime and the founding of a new, democratic South Africa.
This book, the first extended biography of Ruth First and Joe
Slovo, is a remarkable account of one couple and the revolutionary moment in which they lived. Alan Wieder’s deeply researched work draws on the usual primary and secondary sources but also an extensive oral history that he has collected over many years.
By weaving the documentary record together with personal interviews,
Wieder portrays the complexities and contradictions of this extraordinary couple and their efforts to navigate a time of great tension, upheaval, and revolutionary hope.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Ruth First and Joe Slovo emerge from this book as flesh and blood human beings facing monumentally difficult decisions…This book evokes a vital period which became a focus of myth-making rather than the kind of clear-eyed, honest history Ruth and Joe would each have ultimately have deemed essential.”-Dan O’Meara,Author, Volkskapitalisme, and coauthor, The Struggle for South Africa

“Truly a special achievement—the first book to look at these two important people, their work, and their partnership. It’s a sad and wonderful tale. I loved meeting Ruth and Joe and all of the supporting characters again in its pages. A job well done.”-Glenn Frankel,author, Rivonia’s Children: Three Families and the Cost of Conscience in White South Africa

“Wieder’s book enlarges and enriches our understanding of the lives of First and Slovo, their intense and turbulent relationship, their personalities and impact on others, and their various roles as lawyer, journalist, underground operative, researcher, teacher, author, political and military leader, negotiator and cabinet minister. The evocation of the Johannesburg left during the 1950s—Gillian Slovo called them her parents’ Camelot years—is vivid and well-observed.”-Colin Bundy,Former Principal of Green Templeton College, University of Oxford

“Demonized by apartheid, Joe and Ruth were revolutionary heroes for black South Africans. They were formidable opponents in word and deed. This absorbing account does them justice and illuminates the complexity and richness of their often stormy relationship and extraordinary times.”-Ronnie Kasrils,Anti-apartheid leader and solidarity activist; former Minister of Intelligence in South Africa; auth

“Focusing on the lives of the colorful and contradictory revolutionaries Ruth First and Joe Slovo, Wieder provides detail and context, personality and character to one of the epic struggles of all time. This book is a gripping social history, a love song to the revolution, and a passionate and enlightening portrait of a partnership, a love-affair, and two extraordinary activists who cast their fates with the dreams of people everywhere for justice and freedom.”-Bill Ayers & Bernardine Dohrn

“Alan Wieder has plunged into their past of domestic and political struggle to share their story with the scope, context, and detail that it deserves. And we all will appreciate his commitment and style in critically respecting their contributions and bringing this dynamic duo alive as the complex, loving and caring people they were.”-Danny Schechter,Founder and Director of “South Africa Now”, Director of six films on Nelson Mandela

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781583673577
Publisher:
Monthly Review Press
Publication date:
07/01/2013
Pages:
464
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

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