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To quote the title of Nelson Mandela's 1994 autobiography, it has been a long walk to freedom. The history of South Africa, one of the oldest inhabited places on earth, is also the story of one of the newest nations, made and remade over the last century. This compellingly written history of South Africa, from prehistoric times through 1999, is the only up-to-date history of the nation. Beginning with an overview of the modern nation, this narrative history traces South Africa from prehistory through the European invasions, the settlement by Dutch, the imposition of British rule, the many internecine wars for control of the nation, the institution of apartheid, and, finally, freedom for all South Africans in 1994 and the Mandela years 1994-1999.
Twin themes of colonial rule and racism intertwine over the course of the last three hundred and fifty years. Beck, a specialist in the history of South Africa, illuminates the conflicts, personalities, and tragedies of South African history over this period, culminating in the end of apartheid in 1994, the release from prison of Nelson Mandela, and his formation of a new government. Brief sketches of key people in the history of South Africa, a glossary of terms, maps, and a bibliographic essay of suggested reading complete the work. Every library should update its resources on South Africa with this engagingly written and authoritative history.