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


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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: 7.8 x 5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #583,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 21, 2001
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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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ilene P. Cohen on September 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has great relevance for the case of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Indeed, Lelyveld even references Israel in the book, which was published in 1985.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kimbo on December 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
Bought this book for my girl friend who recently went to south Africa on a mission trip. it was her Christmas gift, but since its a few weeks away i decided to read the book for myself. The text does get a little dry and long winded at times, but overall i think its a well written book and gives an Excellent Account of Apartheid. I'm satisfied with the buy and i know aince she is a reader she will enjoy the book and think its special since it has something to do with things she is interested in.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dhunno on September 9, 2011
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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5 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Newton Ooi on July 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
I like reading works by Nobel Prize winning authors, and works that won the Pulitzer Prise. They usually are very good. But this one was a disappointment. The aim of this book was to portray life in South Africa under apartheid, for both blacks and whites, rural and urban. It accomplishes this, but after ~350 pages of extremely dense and boring text. I had read other books on South Africa and apartheid prior to reading this one, and found this to be the most boring. The text is incredibly long-winded, and dry at times. This is probably why the book is out of print. There are too many instances when the author interjects the text with his own reflections and opinions.

I would not recommend this book to someone who has no prior knowledge of apartheid. The book's method of explaining the institution is quite roundabout. I also would not recommend this book to someone who already knows about South Africa apartheid, and wants to know more. The book is more like an extended diary of a journalist in the land than a formal treatise or history text.
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