Montag, 28. März 2011

Modern Classics in War and Warfare VI

Well, The Bang Bang Club does not exactly qualify as a classic in war or warfare studies. But the book, written by Greg Marinovich and Joao Silva, is a vivid testimony of the final years of the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa and as such makes a fascinating read. Before reading it, I vaguely remembered ethnic tensions between Zulus and ANC-members in the early 1990s, shortly before South Africa was about to elect Nelson Mandela in the first truly democratic elections. But I didn't quite realise that there was some sort of a low-level civil war going on with regular shootings and daily clashes, claiming the lives of hundreds. In fact, only after opening this book did I recall how close the country came to an all out civil war. The Bang Bang Club does not analyse the many faultlines of the various belligerent groups, let alone the motives behind the violence. Instead the authors, photographers themselves, are primarily occupied with describing how they ended up covering the war and at what personal costs. The book's subheading Snapshots from a Hidden War sums it up: This book isn't anything else than exactly that, but it makes for some addictive reading.

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