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South Africa (Countries of the World (Gareth Stevens)) Library Binding – January 1, 2002
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From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8-A serviceable if uninspired title. The first half of the book is an overview, with short sections devoted to geography, history, government, and lifestyle. For the most part it is clearly written, but extracts from the latter half of the book placed in the margins are a distraction. The second part has more detailed information on a variety of subjects, including Ndebele artwork, Nelson Mandela, and the southern right whale. Some subjects are dealt with so briefly as to be uninformative. For example, the history of South Africa before the arrival of settlers from Europe is dispatched within four sentences, notwithstanding a number of significant recent archaeological discoveries. Only white male artists are mentioned in the section on art. Occasional inaccuracies include the mischaracterization of the United Nations mandate on South West Africa (now Namibia), as a "grant" of the land to South Africa, and, more seriously, the idea that apartheid existed in 1914 and was merely continued by the Nationalist government of 1948. Some names are misspelled, such as "Athold" for the playwright Athol Fugard, and "Dulla" for then Minister of Justice Dullah Omar. Illustrations are bright and clear, although one questions the inclusion of two photographs of Paul Simon. Still, this is a useful update to Ettagale Blauer's South Africa (Children's, 1998) and Ike Rosmarin's South Africa (Marshall Cavendish, 1996), and accessible to a slightly younger audience than those titles.
Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.