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Steeped in Blood: The Life and Times of a Forensic Scientist Paperback – May 7, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Struik (March 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1868729222
  • ISBN-13: 978-1868729227
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,594,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dr David Klatzow is an internationally recognised forensic scientist. He is an expert in the field of pyroforensics and an authority on blood alcohol. Before branching out into the world of forensic science, he was a lecturer of biochemistry at the University of Durban-Westville and medical biochemistry at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Simon Burrow on December 1, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
To thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.'
- William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I, scene iii, lines 78-80

Legendary forensic scientist Dr David Klatzow bookmarks his new book Steeped in Blood with this quote from Hamlet. Klatzow has spent his life searching for the truth - often at a risk to his own life and to his own reputation.
Written without descending into a legal tome of dull prose, Klatzow and his fellow scribe, Sylvia Walker, take the reader through a fascinating dissertation on many of the landmark forensic investigations with which he has been involved.
Klatzow takes the reader through several high profile cases and, probably, the one which has the most appeal beyond the legal fraternity is the South African Helderberg 747 crash in 1987. Drawing on evidence and with some quite exceptional forensic work, he uncovers the massive cover up by the apartheid Government. It makes for absorbing reading.
No stone is unturned in the quest for the truth and insights on such other high-profile cases such as the Kebble affair, numerous apartheid atrocities and, more recently, the van der Vyver case keep the reader turning page after page.
The author relates numerous examples of how conflicts of fact had to be resolved during the cases that he was involved in and that in most of them, his opinions were accepted by the judges presiding. Klatzow's command of the English language is well known and he uses this skill throughout the book and in describing his numerous court appearances.
In his foreword, Advocate George Bizos SC of the Legal Resources Centre and noted defence lawyer states, "No trial lawyer, senior investigating officer or potential expert witness can afford to ignore this book."
To this we should add, anyone who believes in the truth.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dan Cutrer on April 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
A good read, the Boers who ran South Africa believed they were in a fight for survival, that justified everything they did.

Some jarring improbabilities: the South African flight was flying for hours with dead passengers, a large chunk of the front right burned off. The top leadership of South Africa told the pilot to crash into the Indian Ocean. He did, knowing it was suicide.

It gets worse. The pilot was directed to ditch in an area "where the ocean is 45 sea miles deep". A sea mile, nautical mile, is 6080 feet.

And a nuclear bomb South Africa got from North Korea that sank when the 747 crashed in October 1987 caused the Boxing Day disaster in 2004; it took 23 years for the corrosion to eat the wiring and short it out. North Korea's first bomb was in October, 2006. It's extremely unlikely Kim had the atom secret for almost 20 years before he used it.

A good read, when there's questionable text like this, makes you wonder how much else is fudged.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lynn on January 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting aspects of Forensic Science in South Africa, both past and present.
However the egotism and arrogance of the writer is unfortunate as this creates bias in the reading of the book. After a while, I was quite tempted to just put the book down and move to something else.
This is a case of the writer being bigger than the book and in Klatzow's case, he most certainly is not.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By yvonne on May 10, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Steeped in blood caught my interest because I can recall so many of the incidents.
However some of the conclusions reached about the Helderberg spoiled everything for me and I cannot help feeling
duped by the author.
To say that the vast majority of white people were ignorant and believed everything the government of the day spoon fed us
is mostly true. We were bombarded by a medium (television) and this was used as a total onslaught.
When a government comes to fall it is easy to point out their faults. Not all white people went to university and not all white people moved in circles where they got access to pertinent information.
Beware of passing judgement.
The present government has been given the task of running the country democratically but they are guilty of payback with interest and that is a sad state of affairs as everything positive has been negated.
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Does not give an in depth description of his investigation and findings and seems to use same reasons for a number of cases. The book seems to be centred and focused on political events and the failure of the then government polical policy, that is not what forensics is about surely, unless he want to write undercover about the issues then and use forencics as the route.
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The factual basis rather enhances the simple and straightforward style. Well worth a read. A basic familiarity with South African headlines will make it well worth while.
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By B. du Plessis on September 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The truth will set you free! Great read, let's hope the present govt does not repeat the atrocities of the past...
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Format: Kindle Edition
Although the cases in themself were surely interesting to be involved in and surely the writer did some good work, the book comes across as a subjective account of the writer and all his personal battles with the state and individuals. The cases being high profile are given an interesting angle. I was hoping to find more insight in the science behind forensic work. I cannot agree with Bizos in his foreword that this work is a "must read" for forensic scholars and lawyers.
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