THE OPENING OF THE APARTHEID MIND

OPTIONS FOR THE NEW SOUTH AFRICA

From Canadian husband-and-wife sociologists Adam (Simon Fraser University, Vancouver) and Moodley (University of British Columbia): a nonpartisan and nuanced look at the ``various competing forces'' now shaping post-apartheid South Africa. Adam and Moodley also coauthored South Africa without Apartheid (1986). Much of the analysis here attempts to address the stereotypes of both left and right that failed to explain the ``miracle'' that led to South Africa's current multiparty negotiations—or to account for the continuing violence. The authors note that neither the revolutionary nor the reformist agenda anticipated that the country would be transformed by these negotiations—negotiations ``that grant all major forces a stake in a historic compromise, by which each party stands to gain more than it would lose by continuing the confrontation.'' The result will probably be an ANC government working with a strong multiracial Nationalist Party to create broad-based policies. But such a compromise, Adam and Moodley warn, may well exacerbate South Africa's increasing divide along economic rather than racial lines as these two urban-based political parties control the spoils. The authors contend that it's this divide between the haves and the have-nots—between the urban areas and the rural—that's basically responsible for the current escalating violence. Tribal identity, they say, isn't as important as economic disparities, enormous unemployment among unskilled migrant workers, and the pervasive feeling among this group that their situation has deteriorated rather than improved with the ending of apartheid. Adam and Moodley analyze the various parties; the Communist agenda; the role of the unions; and the potential for disruption by either the far right or the left. As to the future, they're somewhat sanguine: A Yugoslavia or Lebanon type of scenario seems unlikely if the present cautious cooperation and ``remarkable pragmatic rationalism'' continue. For South Africa watchers: a timely, informative, and thoughtful appraisal.

Pub Date: July 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-520-08199-4

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Univ. of California

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1993

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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