When asked for a book that would explain apartheid, I turned to Peter. He replied, in his usual way, with the fact that no one book could hold it all. But here's a list:
1. MY TRAITOR'S HEART - Rian Malan - - a personal and highly charged journey - http://amzn.to/1q1byDQ
2. THE MIND OF SOUTH AFRICA - Allister Sparks ( http://amzn.to/1Tu8ubo ). Left-wing, but comprehensive and reasonably balanced. See also his sequels, TOMORROW IS ANOTHER COUNTRY ( http://amzn.to/1q1bRhZ
), the story of the transition period (through which I lived - he
captures the flavor well) and BEYOND THE MIRACLE: INSIDE THE NEW SOUTH
AFRICA ( http://amzn.to/23qlkg5 ), which IMHO is less good, but studies the first post-apartheid period.
3. COUNTRY OF MY SKULL by Antjie Krog ( http://amzn.to/23qlUKA
) - the account of the first two years of the Truth &
Reconciliation Commission. Shows in stark, horrifying detail what
apartheid was like for most blacks. Searing. I was personally involved
with some of those who went through some of these things. It can still
make me weep.
4. KAFFIR BOY by Mark Mathabane ( http://amzn.to/1TnuQea ) - a black child growing up under apartheid. Published in 1986, eight years before the end of apartheid.
5. THE LAST TREK by F. W. de Klerk ( http://amzn.to/1Tnvbxw ) - the last white president describes his life and how he helped end apartheid.
6. LONG WALK TO FREEDOM by Nelson Mandela ( http://amzn.to/1VKC6qQ
) - the sanitized personal account of how he turned from terrorism to
statesmanship, and partnered with F. W. de Klerk (see 5 above) to end
apartheid. He and de Klerk shared the Nobel Peace Prize for their
Those are only a few out of many possible suggestions. 1, 3 and 4 will
give a raw, unvarnished portrayal - essential, IMHO, to grasp the
reality of apartheid. 2, 5 and 6 will give a more factual, balanced
approach from three different perspectives.