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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 15 February 2003
Even though this is not a particularly long book, I found it took me longer to read it than is normal for a book of this size. The history of South Africa is presented in a very dry manner, not conducive to entertaining reading. Although it does what is says on the cover - tells the country's history - it does not grab the readers interest and as a consequence I forgot most of what I'd read in it soon after finishing it. I learned much more about South Africa from the sections devoted to it in Pakenham's The Scramble For Africa.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 8 December 2004
I wanted to learn more about the history of South Africa and this book seemed just the ticket, especially as the blurbs on the cover said it had a good literary style. Perhaps I was expecting too much from a mere 296 pages (excl. indices etc.), but I was really disappointed by it. The book reads like a long list of Government Acts, with some statistics thrown in for good measure. There is practically no reference to the 'human' aspect of SA's history. It seems that the writer is trying so hard not to be judgemental that all emotion has been stripped from the content.
If you like your history books to be like schoolbooks you should have a field day, otherwise I'd steer clear.
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on 2 April 2013
This is a good starter for an all round history of SA. Not enough details in some parts but gives you a good basis. If you want more detail then you would need a more specific book
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on 1 June 2015
very good, up to date account, critical history full of interesting facts. Somewhat dry to read but very worth while
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 21 April 1999
Thompson's "History" is very comprehensive for a book that is relatively short in length. His account of African and settler life before white hegemony gives readers fresh perspectives on 20th century issues. However, once Thompson finally addresses apartheid he totally neglects to address intraracial issues that make black South Africa the volitile place it is. Instead, Thompson oversimplifies all of the issues facing South Africa by making them 'white vs. black.' Regardless, Thompson's book is a good reference for early South African history.
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on 26 October 2014
extremely interesting
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 June 2009
For anyone with a general interest in history or an interest in South Africa as a place, this book provides a fascinating insight. Reads like a story.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 18 June 1999
This is a moving and thrilling text about the history of South Africa. The author focuses on a combination of forces and historical realities that helped to shape modern South Africa.
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