THE SEEDS OF DISASTER by John Laurence

THE SEEDS OF DISASTER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A study of South African propaganda in the '60's. Its British author spent ten years there and held a high position in advertising. The first part of the book describes the consolidation of apartheid, the introduction of police-state measures during the past twenty years of Nationalist rule, and the image-boosting efforts prompted by the Sharpeville massacre of 1952. Laurence then examines both domestic indoctrination and propaganda for foreign consumption. He uses the emphatically racist, anti-""humanistic"" content of the former to unmask the benevolent pretensions of the latter, which he also overturns on independent, factual grounds, shattering statistical half-truths and nullifying bromidic claims in an impressively documented indictment. The last sections comment upon apartheid in sport; history as rewritten by the Afrikaaner elite; possible future developments; and a comparative anatomy of South African and Nazi policies. Laurence is repetitive and shrill--but his points bear reiteration. He is vague about the influence of foreign investors on overseas propaganda, but generally sound on economic matters. His criticisms are promiscuous: none are invalid, but their premises are sometimes inconsistent. Yet the book has far more bite and substance than oblique strictures like Douglas Brown's Against the World (p. 297), and its point-by-point rebuttals are exceptionally valuable.

Pub Date: Sept. 6th, 1968
Publisher: Taplinger