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Happy Sad Land
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HAPPY SAD LAND (1994) - Reviews

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'His travelogue offers a unique snapshot of South Africa when apartheid was in its death throes ... an engaging read'

'the verbatim record speaks more eloquently than any commentary by a visiting journalist ... his cameos are drawn with a wit which leavens the depressing bigotry .... this travel book is a frothy jaunt, a sort of neo-colonial road movie ... funny in parts and a good read for anybody wanting to gain an insight into a colourful society on a colourful continent'

'Happy Sad Land is an ambitious project: an attempt to combine a classic travel book with an oral political history'

'Some whites refer to the approaching elections as 'The End'. McCrum prefers to regard it as the end of a nightmare ... his book is well worth reading'
(Gerald Kaufman in the MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS)

'Non-fiction book of the month ... the images you take away from this book are not solely ones of violence, but also of hope'

'well-crafted, amusing and admirably well-paced'

'Happy Sad Land is above all an honest book - grinding no axes, over-dramatising no incidents, concealing no dreariness'
(Dervla Murphy in the TLS)

'this remarkable travel book ... succeeds poignantly in painting a closely observed picture of a country in transition'

'McCrum succeeds in portraying the complex range of views and personalities that lie behind the simplicity of the news stories. His Africa is given a sharp political edge while retaining in his affectionate portrait of Botswana a mysterious otherness'

'Happy Sad Land' was read in six parts on Radio Four's 'Book at Bedtime' by Richard E. Grant.
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