In 1948 Alan Paton awoke the world to the conditions of life for non-whites In South Africa in a book which was to have the same monumental impact on the cause of liberalism in this century. The theme Alan Paton addressed in Cry, My Beloved Country, which was quickly to become an international bestseller and was later dramatised and filmed, was the plight of a tribal people caught up in the life of an industrial world. He told the story of a Zulu country parson who went to rescue his sister and son from the moral and spiritual dangers of Johannesburg's native locations in a manner so eloquent and affecting no humane or right-thinking person could ever regard the social and political conditions of Paton's homeland in the same way again. Born at Pietermaritzburg, Natal, in 1903, Paton attended Natal University College, and, after teaching for some years, was appointed Principal of Diepkloof Reformery in the Transvaal - work which was to provide a vital factor in this novel. All reformatories had recently been taken over by the Department of Education and, in his arrival at Diepkloof, Paton set out to transform a prison into a school and to substitute the education of citizens for the mere punishment of criminals. Into an institution of barbed wire, guards and sullen obedience to authority he introduced a system of graduated freedom - with dramatically successful results. In 1947 Paton went on a tour of prisons and reformatories in Britain, on the Continent and North America and it was while on his travels that he began writing Cry, The Beloved Country. Alan Paton had long been a working member of Toc H, and on the death of his great friend, Jan Hofmeyr, the champion in the South African government of the just treatment of non-whites, and Vice-President of Toc H, the mantle fell upon Paton who became its Hon. Commissioner. He inspired one of its greatest ventures, a tuberculosis settlement at Bothas Hill in Natal. In 1953, Paton's second novel, Too Late the Phalarope, was published. The same year he devoted himself to the newly-formed Liberal Party, of which he subsequently became president. The Party was finally outlawed by the South African government's Prohibition of Political Interference Bill and disbanded in May 1968. In 1960, Alan Paton's passport was confiscated on his return from New York where he had been presented with the annual Freedom Award and was not returned to him until ten years later.
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In the city of Johannesburg a father seeks his delinquent son. His search takes him through a labyrinth of murder, prostitution, racial hatred and, ultimately, reconciliation.Review:
"A beautiful novel, rich, firm and moving-its writing is so fresh, its projection of character so immediate and full, its events so compelling and its understanding so compassionate, that to read the book is to share intimately, even to the point of catharsis, in the grave human experience treated." ( New York Times)
"The greatest novel to emerge out of the tragedy of South Africa and one of the best novels of our time" ( The New Republic)
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Book Description PENGUIN, 1958. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0140012745