It's hard to imagine that someone can write a fairly long, factually dense history of South Africa in such an engaging, page-turning way. Considering that the subject matter is about as heavyweight as it gets, Malan's deft writing style carries you along effortlessly and the going never gets tough - well, not in a literary sense, although the tales he tells certainly pack a visceral punch. It's the kind of book where I found myself reading bits out loud to anyone who would listen - it's jam-packed full of stories, facts and figures that are simply shocking and stunning. And for those of us who stood on the sidelines at tutted at the existence and subsequent demise of the repelent apartheid system, it makes uneasy reading. Certainly,it's a book that's had me researching more closely certain aspects of the history of South Africa. The way the Biko and Mandela factions waged war on one another was particularly interesting and something I knew nothing about. I would without doubt have given this fantastic book a maximum 5 stars but for the fact that I felt it loses its way a bit just before the end, where we find Malan philosophising just a little too much - his words carry more impact when they hit you right between the eyes.