A narrative critique of the less than-exemplary role played by the West in southern Africa over the past 100 years or so. By focusing on the region rather than a single country, Minter (a contributing editor of Africa News) sheds considerable light on the complex factors that for many years have effectively aligned the US and UK with repressive white-minority regimes in South Africa. British colonial policy, he shows, had much to do with making South Africa an industrial power, one able to dominate neighboring states and to claim a special (i.e., exempt) status as an ally of European values and civilization. Throughout the 1960's and 1970's, Minter recounts, Pretoria was able to resist mounting pressure for black-majority rule with the tacit support of Washington and Whitehall. Indeed, despite the rising tide of nationalism that swept through the Belgian Congo, British Rhodesia, Portuguese Angola and Mozambique, and other sub. Sahara lands, South Africa successfully resisted substantive reform--and prospered. Western capital was, of course, a big help. as was the resolve of North American and European multinationals to protect their stakes in southern Africa's mineral wealth. Minter makes no effort to predict outcomes ""as apartheid makes its violent exit. . ."" Nor, for that matter, does he dwell on the demonstrable disappointments of black rule in the region. What he does do is offer timely connective perspectives, with a decidedly liberal bias, on the genesis of a human drama with geopolitical and moral implications.