TRY, THE BELOVED COUNTRY

A JOURNALIST WRITES A BEHIND-THE-SCENES ACCOUNT OF HOW THE VICTIMS AND PROPONENTS OF APARTHEID CREATED A NEW LAND

Few journalists get to make the history they write about. When Nelson Mandela was rehearsing for his only debate with President F.W. de Klerk before South Africa's elections last year, he called on Allister Sparks to pose as his Afrikaner antagonist. That selection may seem curious, but South Africa has long been a place where liberal English-speaking journalists like Sparks believed their job was not simply to record the struggle against apartheid but participate in it as well.

Allister Sparks is South Africa's Walter Lippmann: knowing, patrician and a mite holier than thou. Like Lippmann, he is both chronicler and confidant...

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