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The Bang-Bang Club: Snapshots from a Hidden War
 
 

The Bang-Bang Club: Snapshots from a Hidden War [Kindle Edition]

Greg Marinovich , Joao Silva , Archbishop Desmond Tutu
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Amazon.co.uk Review

Ask any foreign editor on a national paper what part of the job gives them the most grief, and you'll almost certainly be told, "the foreign correspondents". Almost without exception, the reporters who bring back the best stories from war zones are neurotic, dysfunctional, paranoid and almost impossible to deal with. And if The Bang-Bang Club is anything to go by, you can include war photographers in the same category. The Bang-Bang Club was the name given to four South African photo-journalists, Greg Marinovich, Joao Silva, Ken Oosterbroek and Kevin Carter, who made a name for themselves going into the townships to capture first-hand the violence that erupted in South Africa between ANC supporters and the predominantly Zulu Inkhata party after the release of Nelson Mandela and prior to the first democratic elections. As a guide to the different factions and as a record of brutality, the book cannot be faulted. The British media predictably only ever reported the more sensational atrocities, and The Bang-Bang Club is a potent reminder of the ever-present violence and hatred that have dominated South African life since the early 1990s. Where the authors are on shakier ground is in the analysis of their own condition. Marinovich writes of the "addiction to adrenaline" in his pursuit of the story, and we do get to hear the downside of the booze, drugs and failed relationships that were a by-product of this addiction. But though Marinovich admits to questioning his motivation in getting up close and personal to the violence, he rather lets himself and the others off the hook with the notion that everything is justified by the importance of the story. This is as maybe, but another interesting line of enquiry might have been to ask whether the photographers' sublimated their own violent urges through their work. In other words, they let the death squads act out their feelings, while still retaining a moral high ground. The Bang-Bang Club exacted a high price of membership; Oosterbroek was killed by a stray bullet, Carter committed suicide and Marinovich was badly wounded and it's certainly not a club I would have been keen to join myself. But whatever you might think of the authors' psychiatric condition, you have to give them credit for exposing the stories that other journalists refused to touch. As The Bang-Bang Club might have said, "It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it." --John Crace

Amazon Review

Ask any foreign editor on a national paper what part of the job gives them the most grief, and you'll almost certainly be told, "the foreign correspondents". Almost without exception, the reporters who bring back the best stories from war zones are neurotic, dysfunctional, paranoid and almost impossible to deal with. And if The Bang-Bang Club is anything to go by, you can include war photographers in the same category. The Bang-Bang Club was the name given to four South African photo-journalists, Greg Marinovich, Joao Silva, Ken Oosterbroek and Kevin Carter, who made a name for themselves going into the townships to capture first-hand the violence that erupted in South Africa between ANC supporters and the predominantly Zulu Inkhata party after the release of Nelson Mandela and prior to the first democratic elections. As a guide to the different factions and as a record of brutality, the book cannot be faulted. The British media predictably only ever reported the more sensational atrocities, and The Bang-Bang Club is a potent reminder of the ever-present violence and hatred that have dominated South African life since the early 1990s. Where the authors are on shakier ground is in the analysis of their own condition. Marinovich writes of the "addiction to adrenaline" in his pursuit of the story, and we do get to hear the downside of the booze, drugs and failed relationships that were a by-product of this addiction. But though Marinovich admits to questioning his motivation in getting up close and personal to the violence, he rather lets himself and the others off the hook with the notion that everything is justified by the importance of the story. This is as maybe, but another interesting line of enquiry might have been to ask whether the photographers' sublimated their own violent urges through their work. In other words, they let the death squads act out their feelings, while still retaining a moral high ground. The Bang-Bang Club exacted a high price of membership; Oosterbroek was killed by a stray bullet, Carter committed suicide and Marinovich was badly wounded and it's certainly not a club I would have been keen to join myself. But whatever you might think of the authors' psychiatric condition, you have to give them credit for exposing the stories that other journalists refused to touch. As The Bang-Bang Club might have said, "It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it." --John Crace

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2936 KB
  • Print Length: 294 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0465044131
  • Publisher: Basic Books; First Trade Paper Edition edition (5 Aug 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009SAV458
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
The Bang Bang Club is the story of four young South African photographers who developed an uncanny skill and reputation for coverage of the bloody events that marked the country's transition from apartheid to majority rule. It is an exciting, gripping, 'heart in the mouth' read.
The book has two tracks; the development of the four men from varied and, in some cases, dysfunctional backgrounds, to prominence in their chosen profession. Along the way, they were drawn to each other because of their skills, their drive and ambition. Sometimes they worked together, but always their was a sense of competition, as evidenced by the frustration Jaoa Silva experienced at missing the shot that won Kevin Carter a Pullitzer prize - a vulture sitting in the Namibian bush, watching and waiting for a very young boy to die. Together they tried to come to terms with the enormity of the events that they were covering and also their role as chroniclers. Carter's drug problem and suicide came about because of an inability to deal with the emotional stresses.
On another level, the Bang Bang Club provides an explanation of how the country came to be at war with itself between 1990 and 1994, and the role of the incumbent white regime (trying to spread dissension); the ANC (negotiating with the government) and the Inkatha movement, representing the Zulu tribe and the country's transient hostel labour force. Marinovich's antipathy to the system of white rule is clearly expressed, but it does not get in the way of an objective narration or recording of events.
The book is also quite disturbing, leaving the reader to deal with a number of uncomfortable thoughts.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bang-Bang Club about people not war 21 Jun 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I found 'The Bang-Bang Club' a very powerful and moving book. It gives a personal and honest view of a difficult period in all the authors’ life with the backdrop of a chaotic and disturbing period in world history. The book is jointly written by two photographers but follows the life’s of four photographers mainly constricting on there joint time in South Africa. I started the book thinking that they were heroes, the pictures that they took were horrifying and they rest they life’s to let the world see what was happening. The book adds depth to this view, it turns the heroes into real people with there own problems. It show how they coupled with death on a daily basis, they thought they were invincible. This changes when a stray bullet shoots one of the group. They then have to try and deal with there own problems, in there own way, some manage some do not. The fact that the amazing photos were not taken by ‘heroes’ but real people makes their photos more powerful not less. I found the book fascinating not only for adding an other view to the conflict in South Africa but also giving me insight into what these amazing people go though. A must read for anyone who wants to try and under people better (that I hope is everyone!)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! 20 Aug 2002
By cerise
Format:Hardcover
This is undoubtably the best read, its honesty and real life actions ans accounts captivated me! Having grown up in Africa i have never come accross a book which has told the whole or real truth of events.
It keeps you engrossed throughout every page and helps people really widen their knowledge of circumstances occuring around the world.
A fantastic account from two surviving friends in a job which...well some one has to do to allow for the world to keep in touch with reality.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You don't want to, but you have to... 4 July 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I felt guilty reading this amazing book. Guilty that I was a voyeur into this seemingly heartless and capitalistic business of war and its capture onto b&w film for the business of glory and resale. I didn't want to like the photographers, but lord knows I did, and that also makes me feel guilty. I feel shocked, violated, and conspiratorial.I feel like that vulture. This is a riveting book, one which draws you in and puts your eye to that camera. We have to question the whole business of 'war reporting' but we all do jobs that are to the detriment of our perceived morals. I feel sorry for Kevin Carter especially, though he's possibly the least likeable character in this book. The most honest, arguably, but the most unlikeable. I have a thousand feelings about this, about my life, and about the world. I'm glad I read this and became a part of it.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is a truly great book, revealing, heart rending, occasionally horrifying but genuinely written. This tells the tale of a small group of photographers who made their names photographing the street battles that broke out in the townships of Johannesburg. It also gives insights into the complex politics that grasped South Arica during the time after Mandela's release. I couldn't put it down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant 28 Dec 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Having spent time in the South African army during the run up to the elections and having spent time in the Locations, reading this book was like reliving that time of my life all over again.This is brilliant.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb insightful book 5 Jan 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This a moving gripping book, documenting four local based 'war' photographers lives through the South Africa's troubled transition from apartheid to democratic governance. A book of rare depth and insight, for readers wanting to understand a little more of what we viewed through the news media and possibly even viewed their pictures first time round. This book documents incredible individuals what they went through, what it meant for them, even when what they did caused misrepresentations to come out of what was really going on.
This book cracks the door on what went on and why in this most troubled of world troubled spots and what perhaps are even going on in a number of places today.
I could go on about who should read this book and the list would be very long (media types, photographers, sociologists, aid workers, governments who wish to do the right thing, people interested in South Africa to name but a few), but most of all this book should be read by people I've met who go on about what a great place South Africa is or was, yes, they are generally white and distinctly middle class, I recommend it to you, I hope it opens your eyes.
Not a book to read to feel happy about life, but an absolutely essential avid read. Like Fergal Keene says on the front of the book, 'I cannot recommend it highly enough'.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bang-Bang Club: Snapshots from a Hidden War
The book on which the film is based (film reviewed elsewhere). Events after Mandela's release and the murderous conflict that nearly led into civil war. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Inva
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes you think
Why to photojournalist do what they do? This book will help you understand why. Gritty and compelling, this book is not an easy read, but it gives the reader an insight as to why... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Dazza
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Read
If you are interested in what makes press photographers tic, this is the book for you.

This is not only about the photographers but the social climate at the break down... Read more
Published 7 months ago by cameron McMurdo
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book
Marinovich and Silva describe not only events that took place in South Africa between 1990 and 1994 but as well the huge impact it has on their lives. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Aleks
4.0 out of 5 stars True accounts
Did some services in the townships and hated everything about them.Not a good place for anybody bloody nightmare even during the day!!!
Published 10 months ago by Victor Haarhoff
3.0 out of 5 stars A good book
This is a good book but is one only for people interested in the lives of the photographers in the club. Some parts are very harrowing but interesting. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Paul Hodson - Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read
I was very young during this period so only vaguely remember some of the details.

This book gives an amazing perspective from some of the journalists right in the midst... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Sam L
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Insight
This book provides a fascinating insight into the world of journalistic photography.
I bought the kindle edition which meant that referring to the glossary was problematic ,... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Bogstandard
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just about photographers...
This is a superb account of the photographers who risked their lives to tell the story of the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa between 1990 and 1994. Read more
Published 18 months ago by J. Reeves
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
If you liked the film, you will find this book different (obviously), but so rewarding! Well written, interesting story. Read more
Published 18 months ago by akusanmiz
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