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A Rainbow in the Night: The Tumultuous Birth of South Africaby Dominique. Trans. By Kathryn Spink. Lapierre
Synopses & Reviews
In 1652 a small group of Dutch farmers landed on the southernmost tip of Africa. Sent by the powerful Dutch India Company, their mission was simply to grow vegetables and supply ships rounding the cape. The colonists, however, were convinced by their strict Calvinist faith that they were among Gods Elect,” chosen to rule over the continent. Their saga—bloody, ferocious, and fervent—would culminate three centuries later in one of the greatest tragedies of history: the establishment of a racist regime in which a white minority would subjugate and victimize millions of blacks. Called apartheid, it was a poisonous system that would only end with the liberation from prison of one of the moral giants of our time, Nelson Mandela.
A Rainbow in the Night is Dominique Lapierres epic account of South Africas tragic history and the heroic men and women—famous and obscure, white and black, European and African—who have, with their blood and tears, brought to life the country that is today known as the Rainbow Nation.
"Author and philanthropist Lapierre (A Thousand Suns, The City of Joy) offers a harrowing overview of South African history, from Jan Van Riebeeck's first Dutch farming settlement to the presidential election of Nelson Mandela, including the founding of The Orange Free State and the Transvaal, the Boer war, the rise and fall of Apartheid, and more. Beginning with the arrival of Europeons in the late 17th century, Lapierre charts their subsequent Great Trek into the veld, their conviction that God had ordained them to found a new nation; and the martial clashes with Zulus that cemented their belief in white supremacy. Lapierre also recalls the heroes who triumphed over Apartheid: Helen Lieberman, who risked her life to establish health services and education in black ghettos; Christiaan Barnard, the surgeon who dared implant a 'colored heart' in a white patient; and the residents of integrated neighborhoods like District Six, 'an oasis of tolerance.' Lapierre's biases and some suspect framing ('in a few rare instances, I have taken some liberty with the chronology') can render him untrustworthy: for instance, does 'white oppression' really account for the Zulus' massacre of 60 unarmed, outnumbered Boers? Ultimately, this dramatic read, based on 'extensive personal research,' is absorbing but agenda-driven history. 60 b&w photos." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book News Annotation:
French journalist and humanitarian Lapierre has authored and co-authored several New York Times bestsellers, including Is Paris Burning?, O Jerusalem, Freedom at Midnight, and The City of Joy. In his latest text, he provides a fascinating account of the human element in the history of South Africa, from the first Dutch settlers in the mid 1600s to the election of Nelson Mandela in 1994. The text is based on extensive personal research and contains much information that has not been previously published. Originally published in French as Un arc-en-ciel dans la nuit in 2008; English translation provided by British translator, Kathryn Spink. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
"A Rainbow in the Night" is Lapierre's epic account of South Africa's tragic history and the heroic men and women--famous and obscure, white and black--who have, with their blood and tears, brought to life the country that is today known as the Rainbow Nation.
About the Author
World-renowned humanitarian and international bestselling author of The City of Joy and coauthor of Is Paris Burning? and O Jerusalem, Dominique Lapierres books have been read by more than ten million people around the world. He lives in France.
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History and Social Science » Africa » General