Southern Africa


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Old Treacheries and New Deceits

Stephen Chan

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An important assessment of the current political climate in Africa's most important region and its far-reaching implications

In this timely and essential book, Stephen Chan explores the political landscape of southern Africa, examining how it's poised to change over the next years and what the repercussions are likely to be across the continent. He focuses on three countries in particular: South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Zambia, all of which have remained interconnected since the end of colonial rule and the overthrow of apartheid.

One of the key themes in the book is the relationship between South Africa and Zimbabwe, and Chan sheds new light on the shared intellectual capacities and interests of the two countries' respective presidents, Jacob Zuma and Robert Mugabe. Along the way, the personalities and abilities of key players, such as Morgan Tsvangirai, the prime minister of Zimbabwe, and former South African president Thabo Mbeki, emerge in honest and sometimes surprising detail.

In Southern Africa, Chan draws on three decades of experience to provide the definitive inside guide to this complex region and offer insight on how the near future is likely to be a litmus test not just for this trio of countries but for all of Africa.

Stephen Chan is professor of international relations at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His many publications include Robert Mugabe: A Life of Power and Violence.

“[An] always readable account . . . Chan is fascinated by the personal foibles of the region’s longstanding leaders and has an eye for telling details.”—Nicolas van de Walle, Foreign Affairs

"History and humanity interact vividly in Chan’s easy-to-read brand of academic journalism . . . insightful and incisive."—J. P. Smaldone, Choice

"[A] detailed and morally nuanced study."—Publishers Weekly

”Chan has the novelist’s eye and touch; that is what makes this book so readable. But it is also based on very sound scholarship….This is the work of an Africanist who loves and respects Africa, its people and culture….Chan tells it as it is, with pace, power and persuasion…. [The] best written – book about southern African politics in the last few decades.”—Professor Paul Moorcraft, RUSI Journal

'If there is any book that "explains" the tumultuous recent history of southern Africa, this is surely it: a sweeping overview that is a combination of academic detachment and an insider's account, peppered with first-hand experiences and personal knowledge of many of the region's players. For the best part of his career, Professor Chan has been in the front line, literally as well as metaphorically, of a conflict rooted in race and moulded by imperialism. Its malign legacy lives on; but the analysis and the insights in this riveting account will surely add to the understanding so essential to that legacy's resolution.' - Michael Holman, former Africa editor for the Financial Times

"Pace, power and persuasion. Few academics have done so much in the field, often in the frontline, and yet also have the ability to craft highly readable narrative history. The range of scholarship is very impressive...but it reads as smoothly as a popular novel. I have worked in the field for over 40 years but I learned a great deal - so it will work for students new to the region or veterans who need a lively synthesis of the whole story. Chan has a mastery of his subject as well as a story-teller's verve. The politics and personalities are all there in 3-D technicolour, but Chan also weaves in an evocative literary hinterland, which is often ignored in other books. This is a masterpiece of concise and powerful current history." - Professor Paul Moorcraft, author of Inside the Danger Zones: Travels to Arresting Places

“The tensions of the region are some of the most complex in all Africa and this book brings them to light and makes an important contribution to an understanding of the region’s history.”—North South

“Chan has written a highly readable narrative of the past 30 or so years. He combines strong analysis of what has happened – and why – with some thoughts on how relationships might develop. It is a book that is hard to put down as it is challenging and fascinating. His insights are invaluable, born of his intimate working knowledge of and presence in the region.—Andrew Dodgshon, Tribune
ISBN: 9780300184280
Publication Date: July 24, 2012
320 pages, 6 x 9