9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 22 November 2003
Although this deals with the South African Truth & Reconciliation Commission and contains harrowing personal testimonies of suffering, it is a surprisingly uplifting book. The author, an Afrikaner woman journalist and poet, writes with such sensitivity, intelligence and integrity about her country’s agony and the ways it is reflected in herself. While one is made all too aware of the capacity for evil in ordinary people, stories of courage, steadfastness and devotion to others (not least from Desmond Tutu) are inspiring. It is interesting to compare this experience with that of post-war Germany or the experiences of the Congolese (told vividly in Adam Hochschild: King Leopold’s Ghost) which have never been resolved.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 3 December 2005
It was only when I read 'Country of my Skull' that I truly understood South Africa and reading it whilst living there made the experience of reading Krog's work all the more powerful. Krog writes using a fluid mixture of journalism, direct testimony from the TRC (which Krog interweaves like poetic verse) and some fiction. The book is much more than a historical documentation of the atrocities of apartheid and one gets a real sense of Krog herself exploring her own complicity and guilt.
'Country of my Skull' grapples with the meaning of truth, guilt, reconciliation and forgiveness and does so in a way that will resonate with anyone who wishes to consider these things in relation to their own personal life and social context.
As soon as you start reading this book - you won't put it down and you'll always remember it!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 18 May 2001
This book is both revelatory and unsurprising... It takes the reader on an incredible journey through the eyes of one whose life bore little resemblance to those it describes. The writer exposes her own emotional history in order to give the reader some context within which to place this book. She writes in a cathartic and journalistic style which seems to mirror the way in which the testimonies to the Truth and Reconciliation were reported by victims and survivors. This is an outstanding, startling, frightening, moving and motivational book. Antje Krog brings into the public domain that which compassion fatigue, guilt and shame have hidden.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 January 2001
Reading this book was like being at the hearings but with the bonus of having Krog explaining how and why things were happening. As a journalist her ability to understand what is really happening amidst all of the delays and burocracy takes the reader into the coutrooms. I don't know whether she intends to make you angry at the flaws in the TRC about the enormous requests for forgiveness for such terrible acts, especially when they come from people clearly part of the procedure to appease their own guilt rather than to make a full submission. The capacity to forgive is often beyond me. At the latter part of the book her explanations of the TRC within South African society also serves to clarify many other topical issues related to justice. Her admiration for Bishop Tutu will be shared by all who read this book.
on 13 May 2011
This account of the Truth and Reconciliation hearings, and thus South Africa's recent past, brings tears to the eyes in places and at times, I had to close the book to try and absorb the magnitude of the information being relayed by victims and perpetrators. Running alongside these testimonies are the wise and forever positive words of Tutu, but also the author's own poetic and philosophical exploration of the issues raised. The latter were a bit of a sticking point for me; her story seemed quite disjointed and obscure, sometimes completely confusing. But that aside, I was gripped and it's a hard-hitting account.
on 20 August 2009
If your foriegn to South Africa, but interested in it's history, especially recent, then you'll find this book fasinating as I did. Superbly complied, with the odd deviation of tangents which confuse you sometimes. Sometimes very sad, but an eye opening chapter into the history of the country who's history has changed so dramatically in recents decades. A must read
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 February 2010
history always has important lesson for us to learn from,whether we cease the moment that is entirely another matter,just after euphoria of post apartheid,south africa had to go thru tear jerking experience of `truth and reconciliation`
to some it was unwelcomed,after reading `country of my skull` i realise,south africa as a nation needed to heal,from atrocities inflicted by apartheid.
both side of war,white and black can always claim,just war or doing my duties,in both cases lives were lost and that robbed some of fathers,mothers and some even their sanity.as i read the book,since i watched part of televised `truth and reconciliation on the tv`,at times i was reduced to tears.not at political level
but at personal one ,i felt pain,some relatives went thru listening to the testimonies of perpetrators,and shed a tear reading about victims
although this book is sort of reporting not easy at times,but it is well planned,and easy to follow, i salute Antjie Krog,for reporting without prejudise and opening our eyes,yet be moved herself,some writers tries to detach,we need bit of feeling