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Max du Preez has one hell of a story to tell. In his career as a renegade reporter, he’s survived three dismissals, seven libel suits, thirteen criminal cases, four aeroplane crashes, a bombing, two assassination attempts and was a regular on right-wing hit lists. He was in Soweto on 16 June 1976, witnessed the debauched parties of apartheid cabinet ministers, and stepped over dead bodies in a bombed Angolan village. He looked into apartheid killer Dirk Coetzee’s eyes and published his story of police death squads, and when he visited Vlakplaas himself, he was lucky to get out alive. Max is best known as founder and editor of the Afrikaans newspaper Vrye Weekblad, and for his weekly television report on the Truth Commission and the programme Special Assignment. His story takes you on a remarkable journey, from the contradictions of history to the triumphs and troubles of the present, from the halls of parliament to the desert of Namibia, from burning townships to the headquarters of covert operations. You’ll meet generals and guerrillas, presidents and hit men. And its all reported with the straight-shooting, uncompromising, outspoken frankness that has won him admiration and got him into trouble with the new government as well as the old. Pale Native is a story filled with drama, about the risks of investigative journalism in the front line. It’s controversial, because Max, as always, is not afraid to expose what others want hidden from view. It’s insightful, giving a fascinating analysis of southern African politics from a skilled reporter who has seen it first hand.

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Pale Native
Average rating
4 / 5
Great book by a great journalist
November 1st, 2013
He can be cantankerous, haughty, polarising, narcissistic - often playing the devils advocates. Famous for sparing no sacred cows and laying down venom with his sharp pen. But above it all it has to be said the man is journalists par excellence who has contributed through his own narrative to the story that is South Africa. It is painful to read about the past of this fractured country but through it all the author manages to paint a often vivid picture of the last 30 odd years or so. This book should be required reading to all those who don't know what the other sides perspective looks like, no matter which side you are standing on.
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