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Move Your Shadow: South Africa, Black and White Paperback – October 7, 1986

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lelyveld, who was a New York Times correspondent in South Africa, examines that country's racial policies and their devastating effects in this Pulitzer Prizewinning account. He maintains that South Africans and foreigners who believe in the reform process display "substantial elements of duplicity,deceit, faulty assumptions and purposeful blindness." PW called this"a book of power and compassion."
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Readers of the New York Times know Lelyveld's excellent reporting from South Africa in the 1960s and 1980s. This book is a collection of his insights and experiences from those periods. Aimed at the general reader, it is a su perb introduction to South Africa today and is essential for community librar ies. It parallels James North's recent Freedom Rising ( LJ 5/1/85) but is gen erally better. Lelyveld's access to im portant people is broader, and his writ ing style is more colorful. On the neg ative side, Lelyveld's structure is un clear, and the excellent anecdotes can obscure the point of a chapter. There is no historical introduction but essential history is integrated throughout. While not really optimistic, Lelyveld leaves us with two stories that indicate some hope for a peaceful future. John Grot peter, Political Science Dept., St. Lou is Coll. of
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 390 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Published in Penguin Books 1986 edition (October 7, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140093265
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140093261
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,652,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"Move Your Shadow" is one of the very best journalistic/popular accounts ever written on South Africa, or any other part of the continent for that matter. I was momentarily shocked to learn that this moving and insightful book is now out of print, until I recalled how ruthlessly the bottom line increasingly determines publishing these days. Lelyveld was a NY Times reporter in South Africa in the early 1980s, thoroughly exploring the most important issues throughout that bitterly divided country. Few works convey so well the routine indignity and daily horror imposed on black South Africans by the white-supremacist regime from 1948 up to the 1994 elections achieving majority rule. Perhaps the best chapter is on the long-distance bus rides required of migrant workers forced to live far from their jobs, by laws mandating residence in impoverished rural "homelands" (read: dumping grounds for unwanted "surplus" population).

The major omission in this book is the relative lack of coverage of the political resistance to apartheid. Though it gets a 5-star rating to highlight its merits, the missing political dimension means that "Move Your Shadow" probably deserves 4 1/2 stars. While Lelyveld's insight and compassion make this a superior account, one must turn elsewhere for fuller treatment of the African National Congress, Pan-Africanist Congress and other less formal movements. For a similar journalistic account also encompassing politics, read William Finnegan, "Crossing the Line." There's also Tom Lodge, "Black Politics in South Africa Since 1945," Stephen Davis, "Apartheid's Rebels," and Allister Sparks' exciting if overdramatized "Tomorrow Is Another Country." But for the best understanding, one must read what BLACK South Africans have written, including Mamphela Ramphele, "A Bed Called Home" and Elsa Joubert, "Poppie Nongena" among many others.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book with only a sketchy idea of what apartheid was. To me apartheid was like a version of the caste system based on race. But this book reveals otherwise - it is worse. Being a black in South Africa in those days must have been unbearable. The author's style is similar to V.S. Naipaul's - that of reporting on a country through engaging with the locals. Only Naipaul is in a different league when control over the English language is concerened. But that does not diminish the value of this book. It is an excellent read. I only wish the author had written a sequel to this book after the end of apartheid.
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By bh on January 28, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well satisfied with the purchase. Thank you.
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