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White Tribe Dreaming: Apartheid's Bitter Roots as Witnessed by Eight Generations of an Afrikaner Family Hardcover – 30 Jun 1988


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Viking; New edition edition (30 Jun 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670817945
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670817948
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 14.7 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,418,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
This is a history, of the Afrikaner people told from a personal angle but with an honest perspective. There is no attempt to justify or excuse what they did. He sets out their struggles and aspirations and is honest about what they did. I found it fascinating as we always hear about the history of South Africa from an English perspective which is biased to the view that the English they were the force of morality and restraint upon their more racist Afrikaans compatriots. The book shows the hypocrisy of this as the English, often capitalists with roots and connections back home, took much of the benefit, and often took it home, while the Afrikaners were poorer, mostly farmers, and had no ties to their motherland.

I have seen this book criticised as an apology for apartheid. That must be from people who read it with an agenda. The book deserves praise for its honesty and for helping us to appreciate the achievement of a South Africa that is united despite its terrible history while the Israelis and Palestinians are still killing each other and the Irish are still warring with words and marches.

Another good book about the Afrikaner perspective on apartheid is My Traitor's Heart by Rian Malan but if you only want to read one I would recommend this.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Helen Carty on 23 Sep 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Intereesting book and well written but is a bit dated. Still it provides a good histroical account of settling of South Africa through the history of one family
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Key To Understanding Apartheid 23 Mar 2001
By Wallace Kantai - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
While sometimes this book plods along with obscure family histories (which, admittedly, is part of its purpose), it remains one of the best attempts at explaining the psychology of the Afrikaner people.
Like most Africans, I had, for a long time, a knee-jerk negative reaction to the Afrikaner people and all they stood for. However, this is the book that first opened my eyes to why the Afrikaners behaved they way they did, and why they may have believed that apartheid, universally abhorrent as it was, was necessary.
Please read it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
White Tribe Mirror 1 April 2003
By Pierre de Villiers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As a distant relative of the author my primary reason for purchasing the book was to research family history which is covered in snippets throughout the book. I got more than I bargained for! As a South African I do not believe that ANY justification can ever be attempted for the criminal apartheid system. I do not believe the author attempts this. The book simply mirrors the actions and mindsets of a squabbling tribe - warts and all - to reflect another angle and enhance the world's understanding of how a 'chosen people' can come to believe they have a 'divine right' of superiority over others. There are valuable insights here that apply to squabbling communities and nations in the global village of 2003. South Africa did NOT remain an apartheid state - that is the point so many others do not get. The White Tribe - still with warts and all - helped build what is now a proud democracy. I would love to see a sequel to 'White Tribe' to gain an insight into the current mindsets of the tribe.
Well written, engaging look into Afrikaner history.... 25 Jun 2014
By A customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although a defensive shift in tone toward the end makes it seem like the author is trying to justify apartheid, "White Tribe Dreaming" is not written to be for or against apartheid. Rather, "White Tribe Dreaming" is a book written to explain how apartheid came to be. Tracing the Afrikaner's history from settlement at the Cape, it chronicles the founding of race relations on slavery and a master-servant relationship. Through the never ending journey inland and contact with the Zulus and Xhosa, Marq de Villiers show both how the tribe alternately shaped and was shaped by history. He also shows how apartheid was not merely the creation of one people, but that the British Empire and its decisions played a role. By the time of the book's writing in the 80's, the white tribe knew that apartheid was wrong, but needed a safe way to surrender power without it triggering reprisals. Avoiding simplistic demonization or canonization of any particular characters and asking important questions, Marq de Villiers makes you to see the dilemma through Afrikaner eyes and gives his tribe a human face.
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
An Apology in Disguise 15 April 2002
By S. K Koitaba - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The book is nothing more than an apology of Apartheid. Despite the authors attempts at justifying apartheid, he sometimes goes to great lengths in trying to explain its existence to the out side world. He also protrays Afrikaaners as people who did not understand the world reaction to their blatant form of nazism, apartheid. It does not help that he potrays the latter as very ethoncentric, curniving and racist individuals.
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