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Every Secret Thing: My Family, My Country (1997)

de Gillian Slovo

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1182177,759 (3.75)9
A passionate witness to the colossal upheaval that has transformed her native South Africa, Gillian Slovo has written a memoir that is far more than a story of her own life. For she is the daughter of Joe Slovo and Ruth First, South Africa's pioneering anti-apartheid white activists, a daughter who always had to come second to political commitment. Whilst recalling the extraordinary events which surrounded her family's persecution and exile, and reconstructing the truth of her parents' relationship and her own turbulent childhood, Gillian Slovo has also created an astonishing portrait of a courageous mother and a father of integrity and stoicism.… (més)
  1. 00
    Rivonia's Children: Three Families and the Cost of Conscience in White South Africa de Glenn Frankel (bergs47)
  2. 00
    Long Way Home de AnnMarie Wolpe (bergs47)
  3. 00
    117 Days de Ruth First (Tinwara)
    Tinwara: Ruth First is Gillian Slovo's mother. 117 days is an autobiographical account of her days spent in jail. It is interesting to compare the mother's and the daughter's experience of this period.
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Gillian Slovo is one of three daughters of Joe Slovo and Ruth First- ANC revolutionaries/terrorists/guerrilla fighters/intellectuals/anti-apartheid campaigners/politicians/parents. And it is that complex! The girls necessarily take second place to activities that the parents engage in for the sake of justice and the greater good. The author of this family memoir struggles to come to terms with her place and needs in a situation where the needs of others are greater and of a life and death nature. As is so often the case, there is no absolute resolution, but as the story of their combined lives unfolds we get the feeling that Gillian has at least come to have peace about the actions of her heroic and largely absent parents.

This account gives a lot of information about the rise and actions of the ANC, who went from terrorists to the ruling political party after the release of Nelson Mandela from prison. I would have liked more political stuff near the end when it was coming clear that the ANC being in charge was able to affect little change in economic situation for black South Africans. But I think that at that time, there was just so much jubilation that apartheid had ended and that formerly exiled ANC members were now in positions of power, that the possibility of change was enough. Highly recommended. ( )
  LovingLit | Nov 14, 2014 |
This was an intriguing book, the characters superbly portrayed. A very balanced picture of the author's parents who were both entirely absorbed with their political engagements and struggles, to the extent that they ignored their three daughters. ( )
  TigsW | Nov 29, 2009 |
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A passionate witness to the colossal upheaval that has transformed her native South Africa, Gillian Slovo has written a memoir that is far more than a story of her own life. For she is the daughter of Joe Slovo and Ruth First, South Africa's pioneering anti-apartheid white activists, a daughter who always had to come second to political commitment. Whilst recalling the extraordinary events which surrounded her family's persecution and exile, and reconstructing the truth of her parents' relationship and her own turbulent childhood, Gillian Slovo has also created an astonishing portrait of a courageous mother and a father of integrity and stoicism.

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