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Publisher's Summary

In 1652 a small group of Dutch farmers landed on the southernmost tip of Africa. Sent by the powerful Dutch India Company, their mission was simply to grow vegetables and supply ships rounding the cape. The colonists, however, were convinced by their strict Calvinist faith that they were among God's "Elect", chosen to rule over the continent.

Their saga - bloody, ferocious, and fervent - would culminate three centuries later in one of the greatest tragedies of history: the establishment of a racist regime in which a white minority would subjugate and victimize millions of blacks. Called apartheid, it was a poisonous system that would only end with the liberation from prison of one of the moral giants of our time, Nelson Mandela.

A Rainbow in the Night is Dominique Lapierre's epic account of South Africa's tragic history and the heroic men and women - famous and obscure, white and black, European and African - who have, with their blood and tears, brought to life the country that is today known as the Rainbow Nation.

©2008 Dominique Lapierre; English translation 2009 by Dominique Lapierre; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Dominique Lapierre raises the curtain on the history of South Africa. Three and a half centuries...a sublime epic full of terrible dramas." (Le Point magazine, France)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • A
  • Summerville, SC, United States
  • 06-05-10

Must read (listen)

Excellent audio quality. Superb narration. This book is a gripping account of the history of S. Africa culminating in the election of Nelson Mandela. Lapierre always does a great job of bringing history to life.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • ARM
  • Colorado Springs, CO, US
  • 07-30-15

what a history lesson!

What is apartheid anyway? Yes, I was that ignorant! Throughout my life there was regular reference to it and Nelson Mandela on the news but that was in Africa, what did I care? Then I saw a brief portrait of him in my favorite "true story fairy tale" Invictus and I fell in love with this hero but oh was there yet a lot to learn!
It wasn't until I chanced on two of Bryce Courtenay's books: " The Power of One " and "Tandia" that I realized how little I knew and it became urgent to learn what apartheid and the History of South Africa was about so I researched S.A. history books. I wanted not too brief to really learn anything or one too long that I'd lose interest. La Pierre's book was perfect. it's hard to call a book that tells such a sad story 'fabulous'. It's well researched, beautifully put together and so well narrated by Rudnicki. I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to know about S.A. It had to be emotionally difficult to write and even more so to narrate. My hats off to you gentleman. I wept, I laughed and several times had to stop listening for days at a time because I'd be so emotionally impacted that I could not sleep and my heart was so heavy with shame; shame that I could belong to a race of people capable of such savagery; not just for a day or a season but for over 340 YEARS!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Informative, gripping, incredible

Absolutely loved this audiobook. After listening to Mandela's autobiography, I was curious to know more and so wanted a concise overview of the history of South Africa from the beginning. This book was 110% what I was looking for. Reads like a novel. Can't recommend it enough.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • McCoffee
  • Pretoria, South Africa
  • 10-04-13

History of South Africa--what's more interesting?

South Africa's history is endlessly interesting and I can read book after book. Lapierre's writing, or the translation, is not very lively, and the Rudnicki's baritone narration is dry too. The history rushes through the early years and the Zulu and Boer Wars, spending a bit more time in the 20th century. I've listened to it about 3 times, so even though my rating isn't high, I like it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A fantastic title

As a South African living in Canada - with no prior knowledge of the history of South Africa - having left at a young age, I found this book mind opening. It allowed me to reflect on many moments from my past and see them through a new lens. This is the best and ideal way to get the foundational knowledge of South Africa's history. It reads like poetry as opposed to a boring textbook. You learn about historical figures as if they were characters in a dramatic novel, as opposed to dates and summaries. I highly recommend this title.

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Remarkable story stretching across 4 centuries

I was spellbound by the sweep of history making it possible to better understand this enigmatic country and its starkly different factions. I was apalled at the role of organized religion in apartheid and elevated by association with the strength and perseverance and then humanity of Nelson Mandela, a hero for our times.

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An absolutely supurbly written book

If you could sum up A Rainbow in the Night in three words, what would they be?

Fair<br/>Meticulous<br/>Insightful

Who was your favorite character and why?

The author for his thorough analysis of historical events and both their causes and effects.

Which character – as performed by Stefan Rudnicki – was your favorite?

N/A

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

"As History itself recorded it"

Any additional comments?

Anyone and everyone, including, or perhaps especially, racists from different groups with an interest in this amazing country's incredible history, needs to read this book. The details and insight are amazing.

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Overview of history intertwined with stories

Tells the tumultuous story of South Africa respectfully and clearly, with enough details to keep it lively and engaging. Great preparation for visit to this extraordinary place.