Jonathan Pegg
Literary Agency

A History Of South Africa

Frank Welsh
Throughout its turbulent history, South Africa has frequently been the focus of worldwide attention – usually hostile. Yet prejudice and ignorance about the country are widespread. The evolution of the present-day ‘Rainbow Nation’ has taken place under conditions of sometimes extreme pressure. Since long before the arrival of the first European settlers in the seventeenth century, the country has been home to a complex and uneasily co-existing blend of races and cultures, and successive waves of immigrants have added to the already volatile mixture. Despite the euphoria which greeted the dismantling of the apartheid system and the election as President of Nelson Mandela in April 1994, South Africa’s history, racial mix and recent political upheavals suggest it will not easily free itself from the legacy of its tumultuous past. Newly revised and updated, Frank Welsh’s vividly written, even-handed and authoritative history casts new light on many of South Africa’s most cherished myths. Like his A History of Hong Kong, it will surely come to be regarded as definitive.

UK Publisher: HarperCollins / Hardcover 2000
US Publisher: Kodansha / Hardcover 1999
Length: 624 pages


'A remarkable feat of scholarship, fairness and readability, full of lively detail with a freshness of style which brings new life to the narrative.’
Anthony Sampson

‘A masterly synthesis of past and present scholarship historical storytelling in the grand narrative tradition’ Mail & Guardian ‘Sweeping, exhaustive and masterly.’
Scotland on Sunday

‘Excellent… a balanced account of a very complex story.’
Stephen Fleming, Irish Independent

‘Vital to an understanding of modern South Africa.’
Publishers Weekly

‘His assessments are judicious, his opinions fair. Welsh maintains a clear narrative thread through this hugely complex story.’
Stephen Taylor, New York Times Book Review

“From the 17th-century Dutch decision to exploit slave labor to the terrible history of the diamond mines and crueler aspects of Apartheid, this opinionated history is an excellent guide to understanding the country.”
Longitude Books

“Frank Welsh's large and magisterial history of South Africa brings out the underlying pattern of the country's development: a complex and uneasy co-existence of races and cultures stretching back over 500 years to which European immigration in the 17th century merely added a new and explosive element; and a country in which change has always been rapid, often violent and frequently stressful. This makes it likely, the author suggests, that the future of South Africa in the post-apartheid era will be no less violent than in its tumultuous past.'
Kirkus UK

Click on book cover below for more information

Frank Welsh  Four Nations

Frank Welsh Great Southern Land

Frank Welsh Other Titles