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Coming to Terms: South Africa's Search for Truth Paperback – August 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 404 pages
  • Publisher: Perseus Books Group (August 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903985099
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903985090
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,000,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

South Africa's ambitious process of excavating the violence committed by the forces of apartheid, as well as by its opponents, was conducted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which offered amnesty only to those willing to confess their crimes and be subject to cross-examination. The TRC, headed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, inspired Afrikaner journalist Antje Krog's fascinatingly feverish witness, Country of My Skull (Forecasts, Jan. 11). By contrast, Meredith (Nelson Mandela) takes a surprisingly subdued approach, eschewing first-person narrative in a dispassionate journalistic account that draws heavily on transcripts of testimony. While Meredith's account lacks the dramatic immediacy of Krog's, this book offers narratives that need to be recounted: the confessions of heinous killers who served the state, the confrontation between torturer and victim, the statements by black radicals who considered all whites targets. But beyond individual testimony, Meredith aims at larger points: amnesty, he concludes, frustrated many victims and the public at large; political leaders like F.W. de Klerk shirked moral responsibility; and the African National Congress--liberation movement turned ruler--sought its own exoneration rather than truth. Meredith observes that reconciliation was not achieved; still, he concludes, the TRC "uncovered far more about South Africa's violent past than had been thought possible." In her foreword, Rosenberg (The Haunted Land) shows herself more optimistic than Meredith, declaring the TRC "a huge achievement," and in her lengthy afterword she backs up that claim by placing the TRC in the context of other new democracies' attempts to reckon with the past. (Jan.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Drawing on his years as a journalist in South Africa, Meredith (Nelson Mandela: A Biography) here analyzes the post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)--the governmental body whose task was to unearth the truth about South Africa's dark and violent past, particularly the gross violations of human rights that took place from 1960 to 1994. (Pulitzer Prize winner Rosenberg adds a global overview explaining how various countries in Latin American and Eastern Europe as well as South Africa have addressed past political repression.) The book is a well-written if depressing account of perpetrators, atrocious crimes, and victims. "The depth of the depravity was breathtaking" recalled Archbishop Desmond Tutu, chair of the TRC. There are no endnotes or resource listings, but as the first book to deal with the work and moral issues raised by the TRC, it deserves a close examination by scholars interested in South Africa or Human Rights.
-Edward G. McCormack, Univ. of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Lib., Long Beach
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rachyl Ramirez on March 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book started out as just a piece for my research paper on South African Aparthied, but it soon turned into one of my favorites! It disturbed me a bit to hear about some of the autrocities, but I attribute that to a good description by the author and good research. It was an excellent source for my paper, and I enjoyed reading it as well. I don't recommend it for everyone because it drones in some parts, but it is a good read for those interested in Apartheid, learning more about Sout Africa, and the traveller.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Martin Meredith's COMING TO TERMS is a well constructed description of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa and forces nations to look at themselves and consider the fact that their actions of today will linger on forever.
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