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The second printing of Shakespeare as Political Thinker gives hope to those interested in relearning ancient wisdom and pays tribute to its inspiration, Shakespeare's Politics (Allan Bloom).
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Bloom's story is set in the fictional town of Nelstroom, S. Africa. We are introduced to two main characters, Du Toit, the location manager and Mabaso; a black man who has come from Johannesburg with the hopes of easing the hardships of life in the location. Du Toit begins his job with the best of intentions, trying to make life better while still enforcing the laws of apartheid. He will eventually, of course, give in to the higher ups. Mabaso is an educated man. He makes the people of the location aware of how they suffer. And we all know education is a powerful thing. The people who stand behind these two men will clash and begin to rebel against each other. This is a book you know will not have a happy ending from the first page.
Since I can't find the words from my own experiences to describe the total unfairness and confusion of apartheid, I would like to take a quote from the book, which stuck with me from the point I read it until I finished and long after that. "Facts are twisted, illusions fostered, truth destroyed to prove that the perverted is normal, the sordid noble, the brutal beautiful, the guilty innocent, the coward a hero, disaster a victory-and the reverse of all these things."(Pgs 277-278). Harry Bloom was imprisoned for writing this book, that alone is testament to its truth. Despite its heavy subject, it is a great, fast paced read. And a book that will stick with you for a lifetime.
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