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Among those interested in recent South African history and society Head to Head deserves a wide readership. It is a rare insider’s look at business enterprise and financial dealing in Southern Africa during the apartheid and early post-apartheid periods by a major and irrepressible player. As such it is a tale of many deals and failed deals, of old factories bought cheaply and made profitable, of SA Rands bought and sold with enormous profits, and of retribution in the form of jail time in an English prison. There are 31 chapters each focused on a major deal or series of deals, each told with wit and cynical insight. This is a memoir, not a footnoted history, with the result that one is often left wishing for even more information. Precise dates are some times lacking. But there are plenty of pungent details. There are hundreds of personal and corporate names mentioned, but no index. There are numerous informative photos. Oliver Hill has had a lifetime of risk and reward, with plenty of both.
As a Chemical Engineer I found the book riveting, Oliver Hill took on the establishment Fertilizer Companies and had many successes. Unfortunately too small to finish the battle he had to succumb to pressure and finally bowed out. Not a book for your general reading public but certainly a niche account of what can be done with determination and the will to win.