At the heart of this megabook from South-African-born Mostert (Supership, 1974) is the moving story of the tragic clash between races—black and white—and cultures—British, Boer, and African— in a place that for a brief, transcendent moment was a model to the world of racial tolerance and democracy. Beginning with the Portuguese search for a route around the Cape to India, Mostert traces the history of what was to become the Cape Province when South Africa united in 1910. When, in 1652, the Dutch East India Company established a small settlement at the Cape to provide fresh water and provisions for passing ships, it had no intention of founding a colony, let alone a country. But the settlers, who were soon to become the only white tribe of Africa, the Afrikaners, began almost immediately to foray into the interior in search of more land for their cattle. By the mid-18th century, they had advanced far enough up the eastern seaboard to meet the Xhosa, one of the great black tribes of southern Africa. This meeting of two cattle-owning but otherwise immensely different peoples became the crucible for many of the policies and attitudes that shaped the future South Africa. Mostert chronicles in detail the good intentions gone wrong, the ignorance and incompetence, the deeds and misdeeds that followed. Nine wars were fought before peace prevailed in the early 19th century. By that time, all races were entitled to full civil rights and enjoyed a franchise open to all male property-owners, black and white. It was a time of brief hope, extinguished with such tragic consequences in 1910. Despite the daunting length—and weight—and some inevitable repetitiveness, a perceptive and sympathetic portrait of a seminal period in South Africa's history—and one of special interest as Nelson Mandela, a Xhosa prince by birth, begins to take his rightful place in the new South Africa. (Thirty-two pages of photographs; four maps—not seen.)
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)