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Jonathan Ball

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Five local non-fiction eBooks to read in January

Heartbreaker: Christiaan Barnard and the first heart transplant
James-Brent Styan

In this new biography of Chris Barnard we not only learn about the life of South Africa’s most famous surgeon, from his Beaufort West childhood through his studies locally and abroad to his prominent marriages – and divorces – but James Styan also examines the impact of the historic heart transplant on Barnard’s personal life and South African society at large, where apartheid legislation often made the difficulties of medicine even more convoluted.

The role of black medical staff like Hamilton Naki is explored, as is the intense rivalry that arose between other famous heart surgeons and Barnard. How did Barnard manage to beat them all in this race of life and death? How much did his famous charisma have to do with it all?

And in the light of his later years, his subsequent successes and considerable failures, what is Barnard’s legacy today? Styan covers it all in this fascinating new account of a real heartbreaker.

Hartebreker – Christiaan Barnard en die eerste hartoorplanting
James-Brent Styan

Dié nuwe biografie oor Suid-Afrika se beroemdste hartsjirurg vertel nie net van Barnard se kinderjare in Beaufort-Wes, sy prominente huwelike (en egskeidings) en flambojante lewe nie. James Styan ondersoek ook die impak van die historiese eerste hartoorplanting op Barnard se persoonlik lewe en op die Suid-Afrikaanse gemeenskap in die algemeen, waar apartheidswetgewing dikwels die probleme van geneeskunde nog ingewikkelder gemaak het.

Die rol van swart mediese personeel soos Hamilton Naki word bespreek, sowel as die intense wedywering wat tussen ander beroemde hartsjirurge en Barnard ontstaan het.

Hoe het Barnard dit reggekry om hulle almal in dié resies om lewe en dood te wen? Hoeveel het sy welbekende sjarme daarmee te doen gehad? En wat is Barnard se nalatenskap vandag, in die lig van sy latere suksesse en aansienlike mislukkings? Styan dek dit alles in dié fassinerende nuwe blik op Chris Barnard wat uitgegee is om saam te val met die 50ste herdenking van die eerste hartoorplanting.

In the Heart of the Whore: The Story of Apartheid’s Death Squads
Jacques Pauw

The ongoing assassinations of anti-apartheid activists led to rumours that some kind of third force must be responsible. The South African government flatly denied any involvement. All investigations of the matter were met with stony silence.

The first crack in the wall came with the publication by the Vrye Weekblad newspaper of the extraordinary story of Dirk Coetzee, former Security Branch Captain. His tale of murder, kidnapping, bombing and poisoning provided corroboration of the shocking confessions made by Almond Nofemela on death row. Slowly the dark secret started unravelling under the probing of determined journalists.

In the Heart of the Whore introduces the reader to the secret underworld of the death squads. It explains when and why they were created, who ran them, what methods they employed, who the victims and perpetrators were.

Jacques Pauw was more closely involved with the subject than any other person outside the police and armed forces. In this groundbreaking work he looks at the devastating effect of the secret war on the opponents of apartheid as well as the corrosive effects on the people who committed these crimes.

Into the Heart of Darkness: Confessions of Apartheid’s Assassins
Jacques Pauw

Jacques Pauw has been an investigative journalist for more than three decades. Before the phenomenal success of The President’s Keepers, he spent years tracking down apartheid death squads. Into the Heart of Darkness, first released in 1997, was the result of this work.

Despite official denials and cover-ups, the rumours of apartheid’s death squads have now been proved to be all too real. Hundreds of anti-apartheid activists were killed and thousands tortured by a group of bizarre assassins, the foot soldiers of apartheid’s secret war.

Jacques Pauw has been more closely involved with apartheid’s killers than any other journalist. For more than seven years, he has hunted them down and become a witness to their secret and forbidden world.

Into the Heart of Darkness will take you on a journey into the minds and lives of the men who went out to kill and kill again. What caused these souls to become so dark and guided them to so much evil?

A Short History of Mozambique
Malyn Newitt

This comprehensive history traces the evolution of modern Mozambique, from its early modern origins in the Indian Ocean trading system and the Portuguese maritime empire to the fifteen-year civil war that followed independence and its continued after effects.

Though peace was achieved in 1992 through international mediation, Mozambique’s remarkable recovery has shown signs of stalling. Malyn Newitt explores the historical roots of Mozambican disunity and hampered development, beginning with the divisive effects of the slave trade, the drawing of colonial frontiers in the 1890s and the lasting particularities of the provinces.

Following the nationalist guerrillas’ victory against the Portuguese in 1975, these regional divisions resurfaced in a civil war pitting the south against the north and centre. The settlement of the early 1990s is now under threat from a revived insurgency, and the ghosts of the past remain.

This book seeks to distil this complex history, and to understand why, twenty-five years after the Peace Accord, Mozambicans still remain among the poorest people in the world.

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