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Readers of the New York Times know Lelyveld's excellent reporting from South Africa in the 1960s and 1980s. This book is a collection of his insights and experiences from those periods. Aimed at the general reader, it is a su perb introduction to South Africa today and is essential for community librar ies. It parallels James North's recent Freedom Rising ( LJ 5/1/85) but is gen erally better. Lelyveld's access to im portant people is broader, and his writ ing style is more colorful. On the neg ative side, Lelyveld's structure is un clear, and the excellent anecdotes can obscure the point of a chapter. There is no historical introduction but essential history is integrated throughout. While not really optimistic, Lelyveld leaves us with two stories that indicate some hope for a peaceful future. John Grot peter, Political Science Dept., St. Lou is Coll. of (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Returning to South Africa after 14 years, New York Times correspondent Lelyveld discovered that the ``reforms'' that occurred or were said to have taken place actually resulted in less freedom and stricter controls for most blacks. In this empathetic examination of that country's racial policies and their effects both on its people and on himself, he shows that although some blacks have joined the middle class and are not discriminated against by American businesses, all blacks have been deprived of their citizenship and many have been forcibly removed to inhospitable ``tribal homelands'' headed by a privileged few. Although the miscegenation law has been repealed, mixed couples are barred from living in white areas. The major black political organizations are largely ineffective, riddled with government informers, and at times have been manipulated and stage-managed by Communists, Lelyveld charges. Repression has made compromise impossible, he adds, and a revolutionary stance and settlement the only one most politically active blacks can imagine supporting. South Africansand foreignerswho believe in the reform process display ``substantial elements of duplicity, deceit, faulty assumptions and purposeful blindness.'' A book of power and compassion. November (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved