Page 51 - PB Cat 1999-2021
P. 51

The World that was Ours
‘This has survived as a South African classic not just because it’s beautifully written,’ wrote Anthony Sampson in the Spectator, ‘but because it conveys the combination of ordinariness and danger which is implicit in any totalitarian state.’ The World that was Ours is about the events leading up to the 1964 Rivonia Trial when Hilda Bernstein’s husband was acquitted but Mandela and the ‘men of Rivonia’ received life sentences. ‘This passionately political memoir,’ observed The Times, ‘is vibrant with the dilemmas of everyday family life, quick-witted
The endpapers show a sample of a mid-1960s fabric designed in South Africa for manufacture in Belfast by Courtauld’s, sometimes known
as the German print.
dialogue, fast-paced adventure and novelistic detail.’ Yet the political back- ground is not dwelt on: it is simply taken for granted that civilised South Africans fought apartheid and the uncivilised propped it up.The main strength of the book is as an outstanding personal memoir; in this respect it bears compar- ison with autobiographies by Nadezhda Mandelstam and Christabel Bielenberg. ‘It reads like a thriller page after page... The loveliest of Hilda Bernstein’s works about the ugliest of her times’ said Albie Sachs in the Independent.
 NO 50
  416pp PERSEPHONE BOOKS ISBN 9781903155400

   49   50   51   52   53