A Just Defiance | Granta

  • Published: 05/04/2012
  • ISBN: 9781846272875
  • 129x20mm
  • 320 pages

A Just Defiance

Peter Harris

1987, Pretoria. Four young black men have just been arrested for a horrific string of political murders. There’s no doubt that they’re guilty of everything they’re accused of – and more. But in a society riven by brutal repression and racial tensions, are they assassins or freedom fighters? Peter Harris is the lawyer called upon to defend them and, as he constructs his case to save them from the death penalty, he comes to understand the violence they encountered growing up in the townships and the chain of events that led them to join the ANC, undergo training at Zuma’s camps in Angola, and return to their homeland to execute some of the apartheid regime’s most notorious figures. Harris intercuts the story of their trial with flashbacks to the squad’s operations and a deadly counterplot to reveal a campaign carried out with ruthless efficiency.

This is not only THE most powerful book I have ever read out of South(ern) Africa, but one of the most powerfully affecting books I have ever read, ever. This book needs to be read by everyone who ever hopes to understand SA. An urgent, brilliant, vital piece of work

Alexandra Fuller, author of DON’T LET’S GO TO THE DOGS TONIGHT

Fantastic, a great book, every bit as compelling as a John Grisham or a Scott Turow.

Richard Susskind, 'Start the Week

Brilliant ... What separates A Just Defiance from other stories of the apartheid era is that the author brings a humanity to the conflict both through his own growing attachment to, and understanding of, the four young men who sacrificed everything for "the struggle", and through his own vivid, wry and humane portraits of the characters on both sides of the political divide ... This is non-fiction, but it reads like a John Grisham novel ... A Just Defiance is crying out to be made into as gripping a film as it is a compelling read

Graham Boynton, Daily Telegraph

The Author

Peter Harris was born in Durban. After practising law for many years in South Africa, he was seconded to the National Peace Accord in the early 1990s, after which he headed the Monitoring Directorate of the Independent Electoral Commission for the 1994 election. Since then he has acted as a UN consultant in numerous countries and currently heads a large management consultancy in South Africa. This is his first book.

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