THE SWORD AND THE PEN:  Six decades on the political frontier

Book Review


Author                Allister Sparks

Publisher            Jonathan Ball Publishers

ISBN                   978-86842-559-4

Reviewer             Dr Dawn Gould






The author has written a work that covers his long years as a journalist and editor.

As one slowly begins to read from the time he started his working life at the age of 17 until the book ends, one is very aware of the exceptional man he had been, a determined man and a very courageous individual who brought to the public’s attention the appalling behavior of the previous apartheid government.  The late South African President Nelson Mandela wrote of him as…” one of South Africa’s eminent journalists and whose outspoken views have served the cause of democracy in this country magnificently.”

He was not only a journalist but also an historian. To keep the past and the future world of journalism in proportion it is suggested that this Sparks’ last book, be used as source material. He certainly made every effort to report, to learn to make use of all opportunities to reveal political corruption. His research is in depth and carefully considered

After being sacked by management as editor of the Rand Daily Mail, he became a correspondent for British, American and European newspapers as to what was happening in South Africa. A position for which he was well trained.  During this period he wrote The Mind of South Africa, Tomorrow is another Country, Beyond the Miracle. Also a biography (with Mpho Tutu) of  Archbishop  Desmond Tutu.

This is a book from which one can learn a great deal of the country’s past.