The Mirror at Midnight by Adam Hochschild (Harper Collins, £4.99)
Gavin Steele MOST South Africans, the author points out in the preface, still live in one of two worlds: shady verandas and cricket fields, or dirt streets and despair.
Those two worlds are fleshed out with snatches of historical narrative from the great set pieces of Afrikaner history. with personal reminiscences, and with thoughtful political analysis into a hook which attempts to capture the soul of a country on the brink of irrevocable change.
Some will see in this author just another white liberal who fell in love with South Africa as a child writing reams of earnest journalese.
But Hochschild an American journalist who first went to the country in the 1960s fought at the side of anti-apartheid activists and saw friends gunned down by the security forces.
A crisp and intelligent epilogue brings the book up to date, casting a cynical eye over President FW De Klerk's reforms.