The History of South Africa
2nd Edition
by Roger B. Beck
November 2013, 301pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-1-61069-526-8
$70, £54, 61€, A96
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-527-5
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Apartheid still affects South African society, even nearly 20 years after its abolishment.

South Africa's history stretches back to the beginnings of human existence. This book provides an overview to South Africa's multiple millennia of history, covering its long and often troubled past to its current status in the 21st century.

A newly revised and thoroughly updated version of a popular Greenwood publication, The History of South Africa: Second Edition provides readers with readable, accessible information on the nation’s prehistory, early history and colonial past, its unfortunate apartheid era, as well as new coverage of South Africa’s more recent events in the 20th and 21st centuries. This work presents unique, extended coverage of South Africa’s prehistory, beginning 3.5 million years ago and incorporating information gleaned from the most recent archaeological finds. The text reflects the most current historiography on African settlement and life before the arrival of Europeans, accurately describes the colonial era as a period of European hegemony and intense African resistance, and discusses in great detail the apartheid years and the events leading up to majority rule in 1994. This second edition also includes an updated timeline, new biographical sketches of notable people, and supplies recent print and electronic resources in the bibliography.


  • Provides an easily accessible and highly readable general introduction to the history of South Africa that includes extensive coverage of its prehistory and early history
  • Supplies a detailed examination of the last years of apartheid and the events leading up to majority rule in 1994
  • Includes an extensive discussion of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and its effect on the country
Roger B. Beck, PhD, is distinguished professor of African and world history at Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL. He is coauthor of the college world history text, A History of World Societies, and a high school text, World History: Patterns of Interaction. Beck also translated The Migrant Farmer in the History of the Cape Colony, 1657–1842 by P. J. Van der Merwe. Beck received his doctorate from Indiana University, Bloomington.


"A well-written introduction to the history of South Africa, this volume is a good basic resource for any library looking to fill a gap in this area."—Booklist, February 26, 2014

"Overall, the text is well written, easy to follow, and a good place to start for readers who have no prior knowledge of South African history. This work is recommended for most libraries, but especially high school, college, and public libraries."—ARBA, January 1, 2014

The Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations

Every school and public library should update its resources with these engagingly written and succinct narrative histories of the world’s nations covering prehistoric times through today. Based on the most recent scholarship, each history provides a chronological narrative examining the political, cultural, philosophical, and religious continuities in the featured nation’s long, rich history in an exploration of how its people came to be who they are today. Each volume includes a chronological narrative history, a timeline of events, biographical sketches of key figures, a glossary, and a bibliographic essay.
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