Playing the Enemy – Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation – John Carlin

PlayingtheEnemyThe story of how Nelson Mandela became a free man and then united South Africa with the help of rugby.

The story is fascinating, a real-life fairy tale. South Africa was on the brink of civil war but in large part through the efforts of Mandela, disaster was averted, and even turned into triumph. Perhaps this book goes too far in sanctifying Mandela, but by all accounts he was the true statesman depicted. In fact, verbatim quotes from interviews with the main characters lend veracity to the story itself. On a side note, the author’s structure was often somewhat less than smooth, with run-on sentences of ambiguous meaning.

The second half of this book was the basis for the movie Invictus, a favorite of mine.

4Rosbochs

Stupid White Men… and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation – Michael Moore

Written by the director of Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11, it is a very funny series of essays pretending to be a complete book. If you don’t feel much sympathy for President George W. Bush (denominated “son-of-a-Bush” in this book) and the American political/societal system in general, you will probably enjoy this. It takes some tragically fun true facts about America and just plain tells it the way it is. I found myself nodding a lot, and being sad a lot. Despite the humorous language, the subject matter is deadly serious. America is in bad shape, tells us Michael Moore.

The book has a big left-wing bias, but it is thought-provoking and a fun read. Satire becomes Mr. Moore.