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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant read, 24 Aug 2007
By 
F. Davidson (Hampshire, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The World That Was Ours (Paperback)
'The world that was ours' is a fascinating read for anyone interested in South African history. It conveys how frighteningly gradual the process was which turned South Africa into one of the most repressive regimes of the 20th century, and the effect this had on South Africans' everyday lives. Bernstein narrates her struggle to keep control on her life at home with her children amongst the trials of unannounced police raids, government surveillance and her husband being imprisoned under the 90-day legislation. Her strength and determination to continue to fight against the horrors of apartheid are inspirational and make an engrossing and captivating read.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as a thriller, 24 Aug 2009
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A brilliant read and, although it's very different from other Persephone books, in my opinion it's absolutely the best one on their list.
The Rivonia trial of 1963/64 was the apartheid regime's attempt to break the leadership of the ANC; Hilda Bernstein's (white, Jewish) husband stood trial alongside Nelson Mandela and, although Bernstein was acquitted, Mandela and all the other defendants were sentenced to life imprisonment.
But what makes this book such a compelling read is the way Mrs Bernstein describes how the political struggle impacts on ordinary family life which must carry on even as her husband faces a possible death sentence; and the stress of living under constant surveillance. When she and her husband finally make the decision to flee the country, they have to leave the younger children in the care of a big sister. They escape through their garden as Special Branch police arrive at their door and even then Hilda Bernstein is trying to put on a final load of family washing! The tension of their illegal flight to Botswana is unbearable.
Impossible to put down and utterly gripping.
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The World That Was Ours
The World That Was Ours by Hilda Bernstein (Paperback - 22 Jun 2004)
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