What does it take to deceive those closest to you? How do you lead a double life and not lose yourself? Is there ever a point of return? Jonathan Ancer explores these questions in the tales of SA’s spies: from the navy superspy on the Russian payroll to the party girl who fell in love with Cuba and the idealistic students used and abused in apartheid’s intelligence war.
Ancer gets under the skin of what it takes to betray those closest to you – and what it is means to be betrayed.
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Tue, 3 Dec 2019 | Review by: JonAnc6809
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Tue, 10 Dec 2019 | Review by: Breakaway R
The brutal reality of opposing apartheid.
During the 1970s and 80s, I was so busy being a farmer’s wife, and a working mother to two young children, one being disabled that my interest in politics and abhorrence of apartheid had to be put on the back burner. I’d try to catch up by reading newspapers and Time magazine. I knew that my sister was a very active Black Sash member and that some of my nephews and nieces were actively doing whatever they could to change the draconian laws, but what they were doing was kept very much behind closed doors and never discussed in front of either me or my racist (now ex) husband. Having read this book, I can finally understand why no one could be trusted if you were involved in the underground movement – it was often the ones you were closest to who might unwittingly say something to the wrong person.
Jonathan Ancer is an astonishingly talented author. I found myself completely involved in each spy’s history. The arrogance each one displayed as they crept deeper and deeper into other people’s lives only to then hand them over to the security police to be tortured or even killed. He captures the shock and deep pain of the people that these monsters caused their prey.
I’m so grateful that Jonathan Ancer devoted hours of his time and energy to writing this fascinating but terrifying account of apartheid spies. Once again, I find myself asking how I could have been so blind to what was happening around me. Could I have done more to help? Could I have been more involved in the fight against apartheid? I will never know the answers but can only thank my brave family members who did put their lives on the line and thank all the people who sacrificed everything in order that South Africans of all colour could finally become the rainbow nation.
Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of the book to review.
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