Intriguing read on a journalist: Part II

2013-12-11 00:00

MY most intriguing read of the year was Artur DomosÅ‚awski’s Ryszard KapuÅ›ciÅ„ski, a biography of the renowned Polish journalist.

Much of his reportage was fictionalised, just as he invented aspects of his own life. And yet his writing remains a valuable commentary on decolonisation, power and revolution; and his interpretation of globalisation as a new form of feudalism is particularly relevant.

Richard Calland’s The Zuma Years is an outstanding analysis of the growth of right-wing and populist politics in South Africa, and the waning influence of progressive thought.

Changes within the judiciary he uses as a litmus test for the future. Identifying many admirable individuals in positions of influence, he also sounds a major warning about middle-class assumptions in relation to our “precarious society”.

On the lighter side, John le Carré was back with a vengeance with A Delicate Truth, in which he transferred his Cold War spy-novel skills to the contemporary world of outsourced security and political corruption. His ability to command atmosphere and pose moral questions through his characters remains undiminished. But the edge of his early novels is missing, perhaps because media coverage of modern times leaves less to the imagination.

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