Bring Me My Machine Gun: The Battle for the Soul of South Africa, from Mandela to Zuma

3.83 avg rating
( 76 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9781586487386: Bring Me My Machine Gun: The Battle for the Soul of South Africa, from Mandela to Zuma

Award-winning journalist Alec Russell was in South Africa to witness the fall of apartheid and the remarkable reconciliation of Nelson Mandela's rule; and returned in 2007-2008 to see Mandela's successor, Thabo Mbeki, fritter away the country's reputation. South Africa is now perched on a precipice, as it prepares to elect Jacob Zuma as president—signaling a potential slide back to the bad old days of post-colonial African leadership, and disaster for a country that was once the beacon of the continent.

Drawing on his long relationships with all the key senior figures including Mandela, Mbeki, Desmond Tutu, and Zuma, and a host of South Africans he has known over the years—including former activists turned billionaires and reactionary Boers—Alec Russell's Bring Me My Machine Gun is a beautifully told and expertly researched account of South Africa's great tragedy: the tragedy of hope unfulfilled.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Alec Russell is World News Editor at the Financial Times, and formerly their Johannesburg bureau chief. He previously covered the wars in the former Yugoslavia and Africa for the Daily Telegraph and was its foreign editor from 2001–2003. From 2003–2006 he was based in Washington, D.C., and covered the Bush administration. He is the author of two books and lives in London.

From The Washington Post:

From The Washington Post's Book World/washingtonpost.com Reviewed by Douglas Foster Ever since 1994, when blacks were allowed to vote in a national election in South Africa for the first time, the country has served as a kind of Rorschach test for outside observers. It is either an exceptional land where a "miracle" took place because of the "magic" of Nelson Mandela's leadership, or a dystopia of AIDS, violent crime and xenophobia. The drawback in tagging someone else's country as inspiration for singing either "Kumbaya" or a pessimistic dirge is neglecting the real people -- full of deferred hopes and partly realized dreams -- who live there. Alec Russell's sweeping, up-to-date account, based on two extended stints in South Africa, seeks to make sense of the contradictions. The world news editor at the Financial Times, Russell offers an acute look at the remarkable period when apartheid unraveled and a new political system under the African National Congress (ANC) took shape. Based on his reporting from 1990 to 1994 and another 18-month stay beginning in 2007, Russell reconstructs 15 years in the life of this emerging, still-fragile democracy. In the process, he goes a long way toward explaining how the country drifted from the reconciliatory rhetoric of Nelson Mandela through the cooler realism of Thabo Mbeki to the rank populism of Jacob Zuma. Zuma stepped up as the next president of the republic in early May. (His favorite struggle song, "Awuleth' Umshini Wami," literally "Bring Me My Machine Gun," provides Russell's title.) Russell had remarkable access to many elite players (Mbeki enjoyed reading his newspaper), but he doesn't fall prey to the temptation to make this an insider's account. He traveled widely, and he successfully depicts the effects of large political and economic forces on ordinary people. The voices of policymakers and thinkers thread through the narrative, but so do his far-flung interviews with miners, rural schoolteachers, white and black farmers, traditional rural leaders and upwardly mobile black professionals. His grasp of economics in developing countries, particularly the effects of apartheid-era patterns of land ownership and wealth, anchor the story. The political liberation achieved in South Africa in 1994 hasn't led to an equivalent breakthrough in material security for the mostly poor, mostly black supporters of the ANC. This key failure set the stage for the toppling of Mbeki and the rise of Zuma. Blacks had been largely shut out of the economy under the extreme form of racial segregation known as apartheid, and Mbeki's effort to disentangle color and class yielded only mixed results. Russell grasps the enormousness of the task. He writes: "That is the principal hope for South Africa: that the poison of apartheid can be steadily diluted as the years pass and that, after a period of dutiful arms-length cooperation, future generations can somehow grow up free of the prejudices that have so long divided the country." With Zuma's presidency, the country enters a critical period in its progress toward realizing the nonracial, nonsexist, egalitarian society Mandela once envisioned. But, in an uncharacteristic lapse, Russell fails to give Zuma his due. He portrays the country's fourth black president largely as an unprincipled stick figure. Zuma may be partly to blame because, as I discovered myself, he often dodges interviews and is a master of the opaque answer. Whatever the cause, the portrait that emerges weakens Russell's analysis of one of the country's key politicians. Zuma comes across as a rather genial but vapid character, even though he was a liberation hero, served as chief of intelligence of the ANC, worked in tandem with Mbeki for several decades, fought back successfully against criminal charges of corruption and rape, and went on to vanquish his onetime friend, a masterfully brainy inside player, in a head-to-head contest for control of the ANC. Russell tags Zuma as "an authentic African leader," whatever that is (Leopold Senghor of Senegal? Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria? King Mswati III of Swaziland?), and he slips into cartoonish prose. "He appears more comfortable sitting with clansmen in his home village in rural Zululand, telling stories and passing around a vat of sorghum beer, than discussing policy," Russell writes, even though Zuma famously never drinks and can rattle on at the slightest provocation and at great length about the minutiae of the ANC's poverty-alleviation plans and "collective leadership." "Bring Me My Machine Gun" is nonetheless a compelling, bracing chronicle of the 15-year campaign to make the promise of 1994 a reality. Now the country heads into its defining moment post-transition and post-Mbeki amid a global recession that will test emerging democracies such as this one. Since South Africa has the largest economy on the continent and serves as an intellectual and cultural powerhouse in Africa, Russell's timely book makes vividly clear that many hopes, both for political freedom and social justice, still hang in the balance.
Copyright 2009, The Washington Post. All Rights Reserved.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Russell, Alec
Published by PublicAffairs (2009)
ISBN 10: 1586487388 ISBN 13: 9781586487386
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Sklubooks, LLC
(Clermont, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description PublicAffairs, 2009. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 000-633: Hardcover with dustjacket. A Beautiful, BRAND NEW, unread copy. No defects. No remainder marks. Outstanding Gift Quality. Bookseller Inventory # 39222

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 11.00
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.50
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Russell, Alec
Published by PublicAffairs (2009)
ISBN 10: 1586487388 ISBN 13: 9781586487386
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Sklubooks, LLC
(Clermont, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description PublicAffairs, 2009. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 000-689: Hardcover with dustjacket. A NEW, unread copy. No defects. No remainder mark. Outstanding Gift Quality. Published 2009 by Public Affairs. First printing. Bookseller Inventory # 39200

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 11.50
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.50
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Russell, Alec
Published by PublicAffairs (2009)
ISBN 10: 1586487388 ISBN 13: 9781586487386
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Sklubooks, LLC
(Clermont, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description PublicAffairs, 2009. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 000-675: Hardcover with dustjacket. 312 pages. A Beautiful, BRAND NEW, unread copy. No defects. No marks. Excellent Gift Quality. Bookseller Inventory # 39224

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 12.00
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.50
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Russell, Alec
Published by Hachette Book Group
ISBN 10: 1586487388 ISBN 13: 9781586487386
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
INDOO
(Avenel, NJ, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Hachette Book Group. Book Condition: New. Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 1586487388

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 13.94
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.50
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Alec Russell
Published by PublicAffairs (2009)
ISBN 10: 1586487388 ISBN 13: 9781586487386
New Hardcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Irish Booksellers
(Rumford, ME, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description PublicAffairs, 2009. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M1586487388

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 19.84
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Russell, Alec
ISBN 10: 1586487388 ISBN 13: 9781586487386
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Pbshop
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description 2009. HRD. Book Condition: New. New Book.Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # IB-9781586487386

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 17.12
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Alec Russell
Published by INGRAM PUBLISHER SERVICES US, United States (2009)
ISBN 10: 1586487388 ISBN 13: 9781586487386
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
Book Depository hard to find
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description INGRAM PUBLISHER SERVICES US, United States, 2009. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Award-winning journalist Alec Russell was in South Africa to witness the fall of apartheid and the remarkable reconciliation of Nelson Mandela s rule; and returned in 2007-2008 to see Mandela s successor, Thabo Mbeki, fritter away the country s reputation. South Africa is now perched on a precipice, as it prepares to elect Jacob Zuma as president--signaling a potential slide back to the bad old days of post-colonial African leadership, and disaster for a country that was once the beacon of the continent. Drawing on his long relationships with all the key senior figures including Mandela, Mbeki, Desmond Tutu, and Zuma, and a host of South Africans he has known over the years--including former activists turned billionaires and reactionary Boers--Alec Russell s Bring Me My Machine Gun is a beautifully told and expertly researched account of South Africa s great tragedy: the tragedy of hope unfulfilled. Bookseller Inventory # BZE9781586487386

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 24.51
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Russell, Alec
Published by PublicAffairs
ISBN 10: 1586487388 ISBN 13: 9781586487386
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Bookhouse COM LLC
(Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description PublicAffairs. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 1586487388. Bookseller Inventory # Z1586487388ZN

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 24.89
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Russell, Alec
Published by PublicAffairs
ISBN 10: 1586487388 ISBN 13: 9781586487386
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Vital Products COM LLC
(Southampton, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description PublicAffairs. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 1586487388. Bookseller Inventory # Z1586487388ZN

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 24.89
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

Russell, Alec
Published by PublicAffairs (2009)
ISBN 10: 1586487388 ISBN 13: 9781586487386
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description PublicAffairs, 2009. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # 1586487388

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 24.69
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 1.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book