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Loosing the Bonds

Loosing the Bonds is popular, narrative history at its best: a consuming, dramatically told David and Goliath story about the moral power of justice triumphing over powerful forces of oppression.

Apartheid-the brutal enforcement of racial segregation by South Africa's white government--became official policy in post-World War II South Africa, coinciding with the rise of the civil-rights movement in the United States. From the Kennedy administration on, Washington spoke against apartheid but, pressured by American corporations making big profits in South Africa and the geopolitics of the cold war, did little to foster change. Anti-apartheid activists turned their attention instead to South Africa's Achilles heel: its economy. Soon institutional America-churches, foundations, union and government pension funds-joined activists and college students in pressuring American business to get out of South Africa. Their efforts built to a climax in the 1980s, when South Africa became the burning issue of the day, the United States imposed punitive sanctions, and the apartheid regime collapsed.

Robert Kinloch Massie re-creates the passions and struggles of these years, deftly showing how American and South African politics, money and personalities were intertwined in these years. Populated with real-life heroes and villains, bursting with colorful incident, Loosing the Bonds is an inspiring chronicle of one of the most important struggles of our lifetime.
Robert Kinloch Massie, an ordained Episcopal minister and longtime liberal activist, offers the most complete account of how anti-apartheid crusaders in the United States waged economic war on South Africa through a strategy of divestment and sanctions. Loosing the Bonds doesn't lack for detail and may in fact be too long. But Massie nicely combines historical analysis with his insider's account of the movement, and the parallels he draws between the United States and South Africa are often intriguing. An inspiring story of grassroots pressure sparking political change, this book is good tonic for pessimists who don't think individual actions can make a difference.

(as of 12/31/1999 8:00 PM EST - details)

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