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A Rainbow in the Night: The Tumultuous Birth of South Africa
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A Rainbow in the Night: The Tumultuous Birth of South Africa

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  316 ratings  ·  53 reviews
Hailed by reviewers throughout Europe, this international bestseller will now appear in English, revealing the tragic and yet heroic story of South Africa, as told by the New York Times best-selling author of The City of Joy.
MP3 CD, 1 page
Published November 1st 2009 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published January 1st 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 622)
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Elliot Ratzman
This is an accessible history of South Africa written by a well-known French journalist. The history is more complex than I thought. I found myself sympathetic to the Dutch traders and farmers in the 17th and 18th centuries sought their fortune—and a quasi-religious calling—to settle what seemed to be a largely unpopulated region of southern Africa. After centuries of harrowing battles with Zulus, the British, other Dutchmen and natural disasters, these “Afrikaner” country bumpkins trek around t ...more
I don't know how to explain this book in a word. To be honest, I didn't know what to feel when I was reading this book. I can't believe this really happened in our history. This just seemed so surreal to me and I didn't want to believe this. Moreover, there were people that wanted to change this world to become better. There was Nelson Mandela. He didn't give up to find freedom for the people in South Africa. Even if he was put in jail, he stayed positive. I looked at myself, and I realised that ...more
Sajith Kumar
There was a time when I chanced upon the Indian passport of one of my uncles lying on the table. I was a student then and I opened the little black book with curiosity. There was an epistle from the President of India appealing to persons anywhere in the world to extend wholehearted help and cooperation to my uncle whose photo was pasted on the facing side. On the next page however, a curiosity awaited me. A seal in indelible blue ink proclaimed that the passport is valid for travel to any count ...more
This book gave an engaging overview of the history of South Africa. I had only read two textbook paragraphs on the country before reading this book and found it to be a very readable introduction to a terrible chapter of our world's history. Quite a depressing read that ends on a good note.

For someone unfamiliar with the country's history, the author left many questions unanswered. In the modern portion of the book, M. Lapierre covers the political activity of the country, and then shares vigne
A "hit the high points" overview of South African history with particular focus on apartheid & Nelson Mandela. The scope of the book is limited... but it was still riveting to read.

I would be interested in hearing another perspective on the role of the Protestant church and Reformed theology in both the development & dismantling of apartheid... the author has a bit of an ax to grind when it comes to the Christian faith.
Mr. Lapierre relates the history of South Africa from 1652 when Dutchman Jan van Riebeeck lands in the Cape to plant lettuce to 1994 when Nelson Mandela becomes South Africa’s first black president. There are great hardships and great triumphs described and the perseverance of the African people is remarkable and commendable. Mr. Lapierre states in his bibliography that he “wanted to recount, as accurately as possible, a fabulous human epic” which I find he does very well. I admit that I didn’t ...more
It pains me slightly to give this book four stars, because while parts of it are amazing, and all of it tells an amazing story, too much of it tells an amazing story in overwrought, hand-wringing fashion.

The main problem with it is that it begins as a fairly objective, fairly reasonable and very well-told history of South African history pre-World War II (which is when the racism that would become Apartheid was not formalized). It then turns about halfway through into a hagiography of the poor.
While growing up, Apartheid and Nelson Mandela were very common subjects that were part of TV news everyday. Though, I had some idea of what was happening in South Africa, I had no idea about the details till I finished reading this book “A Rainbow in the Night” by Dominique Lapierre recently. I vaguely remember a college debate amongst friends talking about South Africa pulling out of Cricket World Cup if the referendum on Apartheid was not successful in favor of
Non è un romanzo, come credevo quando l’ho acquistato, ma non sono rimasta delusa: il libro racconta la storia del Sudafrica dal ‘600, quando arrivarono i coloni olandesi, ai giorni nostri, con la fine dell’apartheid. Tutti abbiamo vissuto da lontano questa tragedia, ma personalmente ne sapevo molto poco: le testimonianze terribili raccolte da Lapierre aprono gli occhi sulla crudeltà a cui può arrivare l’uomo quando si crede superiore ai suoi simili, con l'approvazione di Dio, per giunta!
Maria Paiz

In this book, Dominique Lapierre tells the story of South Africa, from Jan van Riebeeck's heading of the first Dutch occupation in 1652, to Nelson Mandela's assumption of power in 1994. Although I knew about apartheid growing up, it was very interesting to learn how a white minority used savage methods to segregate the black majority in their own country, inflamed by Hitler's teachings; and how the fight for freedom was kept alive by courageous men and martyrs, such as Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko
Rishi Garg
I wanted to rank this book higher, and there were chapters of the book that were intense and engaging. After reading "Freedom at Midnight", I thought Mr. Lapierre would focus on the most important players in the freedom struggle. While Helen Lieberman is no doubt full of virtue, truly admirable and an amazing human being, I though the focus on her and the heart transplant surgeon was quite misplaced - a critical race theorist might be disturbed that these admirable white acts were being juxtapos ...more
Sanjay Casula
A thought provoking account of the birthpangs of the South African Nation starting from the Great Trek in Bunghers along Natal , the Anglo-Boer War in which Gandhi participated as a nurse in 1918 Soweto , the Founding of the ANC and the imprisonment in Robben Island subsequent release of Mandiba.
Not exactly in the class of V.S naipaul and other historical novels but serves as a steamed up guide ready reckoner romp to the Rainbow Nation
My only argument with this love fest with south africa is th
A monumental and moving account of the trauma, tumult and treachery accompanying the birth of a noble and non-racial South Africa. From the tyranny of the founder of apartheid Hendrik Verwoerd to the talismanic resolve of Nelson Mandela, the master humanitarian and chronicler Dominique Lapierre, weaves, crafts and knits together an incredible fabric of beauty and enchantment! A breathtaking masterpiece!
Renata Ravanelli
To be honest this book was the most incredible book I've read in the past years. I could feel tears in my face all the time, tears describing how it could be possible, so many years to finish an inhumanity in the current days, that the apartheid was responsible for, is unbelievable this was broken just a few years ago 1994.
This book gave me an incredible overview about South Africa, and how Hitler have changed not just the world in the second war, but created also students to apply your savagery
This was a surprisingly good book. The author built up the process of setting out the development of the apartheid policies in South Africa. He starts with the immigration of the Boers and their development of the South African society. According to the author, the development of apartheid resulted from the white religion. He does tell the story from a slanted point of view, however justified that is, which takes the book out of a truly factual historical recount. I did find it annoying that he ...more
Captivating for the same reason that it can be scattered. Lapierre has a nack for discussing history through narrative, but that leads to some topics taking up far too much space in the book (For example Helen lieberman -- The portion on her is amazingly interesting and could have been its own book. Just not this book) and others not given enough space (the rise and death of Steve Biko to name one example, was covered in a couple pages). Further, some of the Nationalists connections to the Nazi ...more
Grazia Omicini
Trecentquaranta pagine di storia che si lasciano divorare in un giorno e mezzo, tanto è il talento narrativo di Dominique Lapierre. Il racconto della storia del Sudafrica, dallo sbarco dei primissimi coloni olandesi alla elezione di Nelson Mandela a presidente, è reso vivo e coinvolgente dalla narrazione di singoli episodi della vita di tanti altri personaggi, simbolici e significativi per lo sviluppo dell'apartheid e per la lotta contro questa disumana forma politico-ideologico-religiosa. Le fi ...more
Vinay Badri
A quick cross between the detailed Diamonds, Gold & War by Martin Meredith & Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela... The History of SA in around 250 pages... Good for a quick read but for a more detailed history, the other 2 books should be read
Marcia Call
Hmmmm . . . what can I write about this book? I had such high hopes for this book with its beautiful cover and the lyrical nature of the author's name, however, I should have known better when the jacket flap talked about Mr. Lapierre writing the book without references. What could that possibly mean I wonder. It means he researched and wrote a version of the birth of South Africa with no reference to other historians or writers with one notable and welcome exception, Nelson Mandela's autobiogra ...more
I had a hard time getting into the first part of the book, but once we turned to the late 19th century it was a more interesting read. The author admits that certain sections are dramatized in order to keep the story going. It mostly works.
Great book. I didn't know much about the history of South Africa before reading this and learned a ton from it. The book is so well written and touching, it was fascinating to me. Normally I am not a fan of history books, but this book might as well change my mind.
The prose is overwrought and melodramatic, and the narrative is shallow and episodic. But I know more about South Africa than I did when I started. It's a quick read, 240 pages of large type with nothing you have to think too hard about.

Biggest complaints:
- 1651-1948 is covered in just 70 pages
- much of the latter two thirds are taken up with the stories of a white anti-apartheid social worker and the first surgeon to perform a heart transplant
- there is no real analytical consideration of *why
Deon French
As a South African that lived through those times, it is a great story accounting of the history. enjoyable read
Don Mario
La storia del Sud Africa, dai primi insediamenti sulla costa meridionale, per approvvigionare le navi di passaggio, continuando con le migrazioni dei boeri, il terribile conflitto anglo-boero, fino alla caduta dell'apartheid e il governo Mandela.
Lapierre ha l'abilità di rendere viva la storia: si centra su un personaggio, lo rende vivo, e ti fa vivere gli eventi con i suoi occhi. Un vero cronista della storia.
Certo, il problema è che su questi argomenti sono di parte, ma direi che è un libro be
Sreerupa Sanyal mazumdar
Brilliant book, I picked it up out of curiosity so as to see how 'apartheid', the heinous practice was promulgated in South Africa and I was left spellbound. This book is not a true history in the sense, this is not a history book and sometimes chronologies are mixed, by author's own conclusion, it's more a story of the people of South Africa, how the heinous practice affected their lives and how it came to an end. It's a brilliant book that above all shows human spirit to endure innumerable har ...more
Not Lapierre's best in my opinion but so interesting to know the history behind the apartheid.
John Fletcher
A great historical narrative about the birth of South Africa. Amazing how recent the events of the nation's racist movement ended and how Nelson Mandela is a true living legend. The books pace is perfect except for some slow portions through out the narrative with the majority of the focus on the development and effects of apartheid. Great book for anyone who lives history but is not interested in a textbook experience. Ties in the human aspect of history through put the book.
A whirlwind history of South Africa, from the arrival of the first Dutchman in the 1500s, through the horrors of apartheid, up to the election of Nelson Mandela in 1994. It's a short book, so you won't know everything there is to know about South Africa when you finish it, but it's good for picking up the big outlines of the history. I'd consider this a good "starter" history.
Barbara Valotto
Come sempre Lapierre non delude.... Interessante, ben scritto, avvincente come la Storia sa esserla!
Jul 25, 2012 Susy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Luci Prosapio
Recommended to Susy by: Brian Curry
Excellent writing; gives a wonderful understanding of the cultural clashes that has brought South Africa to where it is today. It also provides the reader with an appreciation for how well the South African people have done to move their country toward a true non-racial democracy.
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Dominique Lapierre was born in Châtelaillon-Plage, Charente-Maritime, France. At the age of thirteen, he travelled to America with his father who was a diplomat (Consul General of France). He attended the Jesuit school in New Orleans and became a paper boy for the New Orleans Item. He developed interests in travelling, writing and cars.

He was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civili
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