Although this shares a title with Alan Paton's 1972 book, it's a wholly new look at a ""country where you hoped on Monday but despaired on Tuesday,"" up-to-date enough to include the election of de Klerk's new government. Paton offers detailed treatment of South Africa's physical and political features, major settlements, and the complex web of racial and tribal groups. His historical survey is more general, although numerous side essays allow him to focus on issues, political parties, and resistance organizations. He frequently quotes South African poets and writers, and appends lists of relevant literature, records, musicians, and film. Though this Paton's style is less personal than the earlier one's, and though he voices his opinions less vigorously than Tessendorf in Along the Road to Soweto (1989), his point of view is clear: ""independence"" appears in quotes when referring to the Homelands, and he compares the South African government to that of the Nazis. And, while Paton deplores South Africa's political and social turmoil, he lyrically expresses his deep affection for its physical beauty. An important geographical and cultural resource. Bibliography; index; illus, with photos.