Contrary to expectation, neither of these two books from prominent members of South Africa's writerly community concerns the craft of fiction or even things literary; they tend much more to social and political commentary. Paton's book is actually a continuation of Towards the Mountain ( LJ 9/15/80), but it is less mystical/global than the earlier book. Although classed as a biography, it does not reveal much about Paton's interior psychology or literary tastes; what one gets is his life set against the backdrop of events in South African history with which he was intimately involved as a world literary figure and social activist. His dissent is always emphatically stated. Gordimer's book, in contrast, is a collection of essays. The writing is sharper, the vocabulary heavier, the allusion thicker, but the theme similar: racial prejudice is abhorrent, especially when governmentally sanctioned, and it is the writer's responsibility to speak the truth. She deals a bit more with writers' concernsparticularly with literature as a revolutionary form, censorship matters, etc.and also provides more color, landscapes, images. But the core of the book is again social history and dissent from ``official'' South African norms. Paton's book is recommended for its straightforward, uncompromising account, Gordimer's for its combative shrewdness; both belong in all academic and larger public libraries.Robert E. Brown, Onondaga Cty. P.L., Syracuse, N.Y.