This is arguably the most important book on South Africa to be published since the end of Apartheid. Written by a former ANC activist and member of Parliament, it charts the nation's rapid descent from the universally admired non-racial democracy led by Nelson Mandela to an increasingly repressive kleptocracy under Thabo Mbeki.
The author earned the soubriquet "the ANC's Mr Clean" for his determination to root out graft and corruption in Government, particularly in his role as member of Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa), where he led the fight to investigate corruption surrounding the massive armaments deal of the late 1990s. Costing more than 10% of annual GDP and concluded at a time when South African had no observable enemies, internal or external, but was faced with enormous social problems -- the HIV/AIDS pandemic, high rate of unemployment, widespread poverty, inadequate health and sanitation services, failing education system -- the deal for unneeded submarines and advanced jet aircraft etc. provided rich pickings for many in Government and, as the ruling party, the ANC itself.
As more evidence of wrongdoing was uncovered, the ANC swung into action, eventually removing Feinstein from office and blocking a substantive investigation. The list of those Feinstein names as either benefiting personally from the deal, or helping to cover it up, is long and represents the top echelon of South Africa's power elite, among them Mbeki himself, Jacob Zuma, Alex Erwin, Frene Ginwala, Don Gumede, Pallo Jordan, Mosiuoa Lekota, Trevor Manuel, Joe Modise, Essop Pahad, Naledi Pandor, the Shaik brothers, Steve Tshwete and Tony Yengeni.
More than this, the book documents the retreat from a democracy in which Parliament had oversight of the activities of the executive, to where it is now little more than a toothless forum in which genuine debate is strongly discouraged.
Such is the situation in South Africa today that, sadly, Feinstein no longer lives in the country of his birth. He and his family now live in London, where he writes, lectures and consults on public policy issues.