Bring Me My Machine Gun

The Battle for the Soul of South Africa, from Mandela to Zuma

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781586487386

USD: $29  /  CAD: $37

ON SALE: April 14th 2009

Genre: Nonfiction / History / Africa / South / Republic Of South Africa


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Award-winning journalist Alec Russell was in South Africa to witness the fall of apartheid and the remarkable reconciliation of Nelson Mandela’s rule; and returned in 2007-2008 to see Mandela’s successor, Thabo Mbeki, fritter away the country’s reputation. South Africa is now perched on a precipice, as it prepares to elect Jacob Zuma as president — signaling a potential slide back to the bad old days of post-colonial African leadership, and disaster for a country that was once the beacon of the continent.

Drawing on his long relationships with all the key senior figures including Mandela, Mbeki, Desmond Tutu, and Zuma, and a host of South Africans he has known over the years — including former activists turned billionaires and reactionary Boers — Alec Russell’s Bring Me My Machine Gun is a beautifully told and expertly researched account of South Africa’s great tragedy: the tragedy of hope unfulfilled.

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Reader Reviews


Peter Godwin, author of When a Crocodile Eats the Sun
“A vivid portrait of post-apartheid South Africa, briskly depicting the dramas of a young nation and the telling threats to its future.”

Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2009
Financial Times world news editor Russell offers a cogent study of the political perils ensnaring South Africa since the fall of apartheid…. An important dispatch from a journalist in the trenches.”

Booklist, review 4/15
“In open, journalistic style, Russell looks in depth and detail at the stalled dream of peace and reconciliation…. This is exciting contemporary history, a must for anyone concerned with what is happening now.”

Gillian Slovo, Financial Times, 4/4
Bring Me My Machine Gun, layered with anecdote, historical background and close scrutiny of recent events, stands as an informative, nuanced, and provocative end-of-era report…. A valuable contribution to the debate about the future of the rainbow nation. Alec Russell has looked at the country with a sympathetic and knowledgeable eye and he leaves his reader with a deep understanding of the challenges to come.”

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