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Helen Suzman: Bright Star in a Dark Chamber - The Biography Hardcover – 21 Jan 2014


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 223 pages
  • Publisher: Biteback Publishing; 1st edition (21 Jan. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849546673
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849546676
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 407,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Helen Suzman was sharp, incisive, principled and loads of fun. So is this biography. --John Carlin, author of Invictus

Robin Renwick was British Ambassador in the 1980s, and writes lucidly and carefully as both friend and historian, taking us through the years of tightening apartheid and its educational, social and domestic repressions. It covers Sharpeville, Soweto, Robben Island and the atrocities and injustices which Suzman fought... as a character she emerges superbly. --Libby Purves, The Times

[T]he truest of liberals... this crisp, lucid account is persuasive in presenting her as the doughtiest of fighters for human rights anywhere and one of the finest parliamentarians. --The Economist

Robin Renwick's biography brims with anecdotes. In an era of overlong biographies, it shares her fondness for clarity, concision and humour. It is also exquisitely timed... and relevant today. --Alec Russell, FT

The new insights that Robin Renwick brings to the extraordinary life and achievements of the late Helen Suzman will help to ensure that this exceptional South African and universally acknowledged human rights campaigner is accorded her rightful place in history. --John Battersby, former editor of the Sunday Independent

Wonderfully readable story of someone I think of every day. --Helen Zille, Premier of the Western Cape

Lord Renwick has done us all a great service. --FW de Klerk

A wonderful book. --Peter Bruce, Financial Mail

Timely, easy to read, elegant biography of the redoubtable Helen Suzman. --Business Day

This well told story of Lord Renwick's old friend, revered by a whole generation of Robben Islanders, is also the history of the rise and fall of apartheid... brilliant use of vignettes and anecdotes. --City Press

A fascinating insight into the life of a truly great South African... Former British Ambassador to South Africa Robin Renwick has penned a book rich with examples of her humour and political brilliance. --The South African

A story of sheer political grit, courage and conviction, proving that even in the darkest hour there remain people loyal to their principles. --South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe

Brilliantly written portrait of an inspiring figure. --Mamphela Ramphele

An admirable and affectionate portrait of a remarkable woman. --David Welsh, author of The Rise and Fall of Apartheid

A remarkable biography about a memorable woman. As British ambassador to South Africa, Lord Robin Renwick established a lasting friendship with Helen Suzman. Hence the excellence of this biography: the clarity of language, grasp and depth of issues, the human touch that pervades every chapter, and the deceptively easy readability. Coming at a time when liberalism has again come to the forefront of the national debate, it could not have appeared at a better moment. --Stanley Uys, veteran South African journalist and political commentator

Lord Renwick has done us all a great service. --FW de Klerk

A wonderful book. --Peter Bruce, Financial Mail

Timely, easy to read, elegant biography of the redoubtable Helen Suzman. --Business Day

This well told story of Lord Renwick's old friend, revered by a whole generation of Robben Islanders, is also the history of the rise and fall of apartheid... brilliant use of vignettes and anecdotes. --City Press

A fascinating insight into the life of a truly great South African... Former British Ambassador to South Africa Robin Renwick has penned a book rich with examples of her humour and political brilliance. --The South African

A story of sheer political grit, courage and conviction, proving that even in the darkest hour there remain people loyal to their principles. --South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe

Brilliantly written portrait of an inspiring figure. --Mamphela Ramphele

An admirable and affectionate portrait of a remarkable woman. --David Welsh, author of The Rise and Fall of Apartheid

A remarkable biography about a memorable woman. As British ambassador to South Africa, Lord Robin Renwick established a lasting friendship with Helen Suzman. Hence the excellence of this biography: the clarity of language, grasp and depth of issues, the human touch that pervades every chapter, and the deceptively easy readability. Coming at a time when liberalism has again come to the forefront of the national debate, it could not have appeared at a better moment. --Stanley Uys, veteran South African journalist and political commentator

About the Author

Robin Renwick, Baron Renwick of Clifton, is a crossbench peer in the House of Lords. During a long and illustrious diplomatic career he has been British Ambassador to South Africa and to the United States. His book, A Journey with Margaret Thatcher, was published by Biteback in 2013 to great critical acclaim.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CathyR on 10 April 2014
Format: Hardcover
A long journey to site today gave me the chance to tear through this slim but stunning book.
Rather than attempting to be a definitive biography, this is a volume-long 'love letter' written by her dear friend, Sir Robin Renwick, who was British ambassador at the time of South Africa's transition to democracy. It's an immensely readable book that ricochets the reader between competing emotions: guffaws of laughter at Helen's razon sharp wit, despair at the appalling state of the nation - particularly during over her desperately lonely 13 years as a sole opposition MP - and awe at the tenacity of this extraordinarily spunky terrier of a woman.
Seen through her friend's eyes, what shines through are her fierce intelligence and utter refusal to compromise on her principles, her elegance and sparkle, her devastating combination of sharp insight, painstaking research and biting sarcasm which she used to embarrass and expose the evils of Grand Apartheid in the media and parliament.
I'd have given my eye teeth to spend even five minutes with this extraordinary woman, and this is a fitting tribute to her amazing (and increasingly underappreciated) legacy.
Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
She was always a heroine of mine so I am biased. This is a really good read, especially for thos e who wish to know the full story of South Africa during the Apartheid years. Loved it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
She struggled too 8 Mar. 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I grew up being taught that she was wrong, now we know how right she was. Excellent read and insight into her struggle
A timely reminder of dark days 12 April 2014
By Milton Lutrin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book was written in a total and open factual manner. As a life long opponent of Apartheid it was a reminder of the brave and lone fight that inspired us all. Frightening though is now the similarities between the Nationalists and the now A N C
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