Related to: 'Jo McMillan's Official Website'

Teach Yourself

Volcanoes, Earthquakes and Tsunamis: A Complete Introduction: Teach Yourself

David Rothery
Authors:
David Rothery

Written by Dr David Rothery, a volcanologist, geologist, planetary scientist and Professor of Planetary Geosciences at the Open University, Volcanoes, Earthquakes and Tsunamis: A Complete Introduction is designed to give you everything you need to succeed, all in one place. It covers the key areas that students are expected to be confident in, outlining the basics in clear English and providing added-value features like a glossary of essential terms and even examples of questions you might be asked in your seminar or exam.The book uses a structure chosen to cover the essentials of most university courses, with an introduction on how the Earth moves, followed by separate sections on volcanoes (including eruptions, types of volcano, volcanic hazards, volcanoes and climate, monitoring volcanoes, predicting eruptions and living with volcanoes), earthquakes (including faults, measurement, seismic monitoring, prediction, prevention and preparedness) and tsunamis.

Hodder & Stoughton

Not in God's Name

Jonathan Sacks
Authors:
Jonathan Sacks

Despite predictions of continuing secularisation, the twenty-first century has witnessed a surge of religious extremism and violence in the name of God.In this powerful and timely book, Jonathan Sacks explores the roots of violence and its relationship to religion, focusing on the historic tensions between the three Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.Drawing on arguments from evolutionary psychology, game theory, history, philosophy, ethics and theology, Sacks shows how a tendency to violence can subvert even the most compassionate of religions. Through a close reading of key biblical texts at the heart of the Abrahamic faiths, Sacks then challenges those who claim that religion is intrinsically a cause of violence, and argues that theology must become part of the solution if it is not to remain at the heart of the problem.This book is a rebuke to all those who kill in the name of the God of life, wage war in the name of the God of peace, hate in the name of the God of love, and practise cruelty in the name of the God of compassion.For the sake of humanity and the free world, the time has come for people of all faiths and none to stand together and declare: Not In God's Name.

Two Roads

Church of Marvels

Leslie Parry
Authors:
Leslie Parry

'A SKILLFUL TRIUMPH' Jessie Burton, bestselling author of The Miniaturist - 'IRRESISTIBLE' Emma Donoghue, bestselling author of RoomNew York, 1895. It's late on a warm city night when Sylvan Threadgill, a young night soiler who cleans out the privies behind the tenement houses, pulls a terrible secret out from the filthy hollows: an abandoned newborn baby. An orphan himself, Sylvan was raised by a kindly Italian family and can't bring himself to leave the baby in the slop. He tucks her into his chest, resolving to find out where she belongs. Odile Church is the girl-on-the-wheel, a second-fiddle act in a show that has long since lost its magic. Odile and her sister Belle were raised in the curtained halls of their mother's spectacular Coney Island sideshow: The Church of Marvels. Belle was always the star-the sword swallower-light, nimble, a true human marvel. But now the sideshow has burnt to the ground, their mother dead in the ashes, and Belle has escaped to the city. Alphie wakes up groggy and confused in Blackwell's Lunatic Asylum. The last thing she remembers is a dark stain on the floor, her mother-in-law screaming. She had once walked the streets as an escort and a penny-Rembrandt, cleaning up men after their drunken brawls. Now she is married; a lady in a reputable home. She is sure that her imprisonment is a ruse by her husband's vile mother. But then a young woman is committed alongside her, and when she coughs up a pair of scissors from the depths of her agile throat, Alphie knows she harbors a dangerous secret that will alter the course of both of their lives... On a single night, these strangers' lives will become irrevocably entwined, as secrets come to light and outsiders struggle for acceptance. From the Coney Island seashore to the tenement-studded streets of the Lower East Side, a spectacular sideshow to a desolate asylum, Leslie Parry makes turn-of-the-century New York feel alive, vivid, and magical in this luminous debut. In prose as magnetic and lucid as it is detailed, she offers a richly atmospheric vision of the past marked by astonishing feats of narrative that will leave you breathless.

John Murray

Honeydew

Edith Pearlman
Authors:
Edith Pearlman

'Prepare to be dazzled. Edith Pearlman's latest, elating work confirms her place as one of the great modern short-story writers' Sunday Times'A genius of the short story' Guardian'A moreish treat from a master of the form' New Statesman'This majestic new collection is cause for celebration' Scotsman'A fortifying pleasure to read' Financial Times'One of the most essential short-story visionaries of our time' New York TimesOver the last few decades, Edith Pearlman has staked her claim as one of the great short-story writers.The stories in Honeydew are unmistakably by Pearlman; whole lives in ten pages. They are minutely observant of people, of their foibles and failings, but also of their moments of kindness and truth. Whether the characters are Somalian women who've suffered circumcision, a special child with pentachromatic vision or a staid professor of Latin unsettled by a random invitation to lecture on the mystery of life and death, Pearlman knows each of them intimately and reveals them with generosity.

Hodder & Stoughton

Sleeping Late on Judgement Day

Tad Williams
Authors:
Tad Williams

Bobby Dollar thinks he's seen it all - after all, he's been to Hell and back again. Literally.But he has another think coming. Sleeping Late on Judgement Day will find Bobby back in his adopted hometown of San Judas, California, trying to stay out of trouble... and failing. His love life is still a mess, there are one too many people who have it out for him, and drowning his sorrows in a nice glass of whisky won't keep the demons at bay forever.Bobby's going to have to pull himself together and make a few tough decisions before time runs out. The problem is, time could run out at any moment. In the final Bobby Dollar novel in Tad Williams' groundbreaking epic fantasy trilogy, fallen angel Bobby Dollar will finally be force to confront the one problem he can't talk his way out of: his own.(P)2014 Hodder & Stoughton

Hodder & Stoughton

You Can Begin Again

Joyce Meyer
Authors:
Joyce Meyer

It's never too late for grace. Look closely enough and you'll see that theme all through the Bible. Page after page, story after story--God delights in turning tragic endings into new beginnings. The barren give birth, doubters become deliverers, and harlots are recast as heroes. In every biblical fresh start, we are reminded that with God, new beginnings aren't the exception; they're the rule.Using a blend of inspiring stories, Scriptural principles, and straight-talk, in You Can Begin Again, Joyce Meyer powerfully demonstrates that God isn't done with you yet. If you're stuck in a rut, disappointed by an outcome, hurting from a wound, failing in an endeavour, struggling in a relationship, or unsure about the future . . . don't give up. Don't give up on yourself, and don't give up on the God who loves you. If you thought it was too late, it's not. With God you can begin again.

Chambers

The Chambers Thesaurus, 4th Edition

Chambers
Authors:
Chambers

In this book:'The Chambers Thesaurus is a veritable treasure-trove, including the greatest selection of alternative words and phrases available in an A to Z format. Modern vocabulary sits alongside archaic, and technical terms, formal language and slang are all covered.'This new, fourth edition contains 200 updated entries including the latest words entering the language. They reflect a range of social and technological changes: - From the digital world comes the growth of 'citizen journalism', the menace of the 'cyberbully' and the tricky rules of 'netiquette'. - The green agenda is explored through the evolution of recycling - 'precycle' and 'upcycle' - as well as the inclusion of 'organic' and 'e-waste'.- From the economic recession comes 'agflation', 'NEET', 'cash-strapped' and the increasingly popular 'daycation'.The Word Lover's Gallimaufry, a brand new 48-page section of curious and intriguing word lists, offers practical advice for anyone wanting to write, present or speak creatively. It also reflects the quirkiness and ever-evolving nature of English. Discover a range of fascinating and useful synonyms and expressions for our modern world:- Get the words to impress at an interview - 'champion' and 'skillset'.- Learn how to avoid annoying clichés - 'ultimately' not 'at the end of the day'.- Discover how to sound like a foodie or a fashionista - 'slow food' and 'fast fashion'.- Examine the rise of coffee culture - 'dead eye', 'flat white' and 'skinny'.- Understand modern phobias like 'email bankruptcy' and 'infomania'. - Explore the rise of Blinglish - 'bruv' and 'safe'.An ideal companion to The Chambers Dictionary, all lovers of language and its intricate evolution will find this new edition both compelling and indispensable

Hodder Paperbacks

Hot Blooded

Lisa Jackson
Authors:
Lisa Jackson

SHE HAS FORGOTTEN THE KILLER ... BUT THE KILLER WILL NEVER FORGET HERA gripping psychological thriller, from Number One bestselling author Lisa Jackson, for readers of Nora Roberts and Karen Rose.A prostitute lies strangled in a seedy French Quarter hotel. Popular late-night radio host Dr. Samantha Leeds receives a threatening phone call. Who would think to link the two? But when the ominous caller persists, along with a mysterious female claiming to be a woman from her past - a woman who's been dead for years - she turns to the police for help. Detective Rick Bentz is convinced that a serial killer is prowling the streets. New Orleans is beginning to be afraid ...

Chambers

Chambers Word Lover's Crossword Dictionary Set

Chambers
Authors:
Chambers
Hodder & Stoughton

Lost Souls

Lisa Jackson
Authors:
Lisa Jackson

EVIL STALKS NEW ORELANS ...A chilling psychological thriller from New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jackson. A must-read for fans of Nora Roberts and Karin Slaughter.The girls who disappeared were all 'lost souls', but Kristi Bentz - who has survived a serial killer twice - senses there's something that links them. She enrols at her old college, following the steps of the troubled girls. But All Saints University has changed. There are whispers of a secret society on campus whose members wear vials of blood around their necks. To find the truth, Kristi joins their inner circle ... but is she the hunter now, or the prey?

Hodder Paperbacks

Almost Dead

Lisa Jackson
Authors:
Lisa Jackson

Cissy Cahill's world is unravelling fast. One by one, her family are dying. Cissy's right to be afraid but not for the reasons she thinks. The truth is much more terrifying.Hidden in the shadows of the Cahill familys twisted past is a shocking secret a secret that will only be satisfied by blood. And Cissy must uncover the deadly truth before its too late for herself and her innocent baby son.

David Rothery

David Rothery is a volcanologist, geologist, planetary scientist and Professor of Planetary Geosciences at the Open University.

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Leslie Charteris's The Saint Steps In

Peter Robinson's introduction for

‘Sanctity does have its rewards.’ Whenever I think of the Saint, I can’t help but remember those magical Saturday mornings of my adolescence. In the early sixties, one of the highlights of my week was a Saturday morning visit to Stringers Book Exchange, in the bustling Kirkgate Market in Leeds. I would wander down the aisles listening to the stall holders shouting out their sales pitches for housewares and bolts of cloth, assailed on all sides by the smells of slightly rotten fruit and vegetables, perhaps stopping to pick up the latest Record Song Book or Melody Maker at the news stand, then I would wander on past the glistening slabs of marbled red meat displayed on the butchers’ stalls, and finally get to Stringers, where box after box of paperback books lay spread out on the trestle tables. The system was simple: Whatever you bought, you could bring back when you had finished it and get half the price you paid for it against a new purchase. Even back then, I liked to hang on to most of the books I bought, so I don’t think I took full advantage of the exchange feature. I was usually on the lookout for anything exciting – horror stories, spy stories, science fiction and crime thrillers, mostly. One of my favourites was the Saint. My eagle eye was always scanning the stacks for the stick figure with the halo, and I’m quite certain that The Saint Steps In was among one of the many Leslie Charteris books I bought there and didn’t take back to exchange. For me, the Saint beats his countless competitors – the Toff, the Baron, Sexton Blake, Bulldog Drummond et al –hands down, and he has remained one of the most enduring and best loved figures in popular culture. I wish I still had my tattered old Saint paperback collection today, but after so many years and so many moves, covering two continents, it’s a wonder I have anything left from those days at all. But now, after so many years out of print, when they were available only in obscure omnibus editions, and practically impossible to find at even the most accommodating of second-handbook shops, it’s good to have the whole series coming back in handsome and accessible paperback editions. At last, the Saint receives his due. Many people will remember the TV series, starring Roger Moore, which aired from 1962 to 1969. Good as the series was, and terrific as Sir Roger was in the title role, which fit him far more comfortably than did James Bond, there remains a huge difference between the TV Saint and the character in the books. Though most of the early black and white episodes were based on Charteris’ stories, they were adapted by a number of different screen writers and, as happens in the world of TV, often ended up being changed beyond recognition. The later, colour episodes were almost all based on original scripts, and though the Saint remained elegantly roguish and debonair throughout, he lacked some of the rougher and more foolhardy edges his character demonstrated in the books. The Saint in the books is much more violent, for example. In The Saint Steps In, Simon Templar is quite happy to keep on beating a man to a pulp, and perhaps even to pour boiling water and nitric acid over his feet, to get information, but we are given to believe that he only does that to people he knows would do the same to him! And he swears like a trooper. Charteris never gives us the actual words, of course, but his description of the string of expletives Templar unleashes when he loses a suspect is unmistakable. There was definitely a whiff of the London underworld about Simon Templar when he first emerged in the late 1920s, along with that ‘faint hint of mockery behind his clear blue eyes,’ and it stays with him throughout the series, despite the veneer of civilisation and the expensive tastes. Though he is on the side of the law, he isn’t above bending it to suit his own particular sense of justice, and while he might have played Robin Hood on occasion, his lifestyle is certainly lavish, to say the least! Though television may capture some of the witty banter of Charteris’ dialogue, it cannot reproduce the energy and playfulness of his use of language in general. He clearly loved words, loved puns, alliteration and metaphors, and his books are peppered with them. A lunch at the Grand Central Station Oyster Bar, for example, becomes, ‘He was driven by pangs of purely prosaic hunger to the Oyster Bar, where he took his time over the massacre of several inoffensive molluscs.’ As teenagers, we used to repeat these phrases to one another, and they never failed to provoke howls of laughter. Leslie Charteris moved to the USA in 1932. His first book to be set there was The Saint in New York (1935), which was followed by a number of European adventures before he returned to the USA for The Saint in Miami (1940), then The Saint Goes West (1942), which immediately precedes The Saint Steps In, which finds him moving between Washington DC, New York and Stamford, Connecticut. The book was originally serialised in Liberty Magazine in 1942, and published in volume form a year later by Hodder in the UK. The plot, such as it is, wouldn’t be out of place in an Alfred Hitchcock movie: North by Northwest, for example. A beautiful but straitlaced and enigmatic young woman called Madeline Gray comes to ask for Simon Templar’s help when she receives a threatening note. It appears that her father has invented a form of synthetic rubber that would be useful for the war effort – not to mention immensely profitable to whoever possesses it after the war – and she wants to make sure it ends up in the right hands. The formula becomes what Hitchcock called the ‘McGuffin,’ the highly sought after documents or plans that set the events of the plot in motion. Everybody wants them, but we don’t always know why, or even what they are. Soon, Templar gets a threatening note too, and then there is a scuffle in the street when it appears that someone is trying to abduct Madeline. When Templar and Madeline get to Stamford, they find that her father is missing, and then the plot thickens . . . In contrast to Madeline Gray, we also meet the rather less wholesome Andrea Quennel, who has ‘the build and beauty and colouring that Wagner was probably dreaming of before the divas took over.’ Charteris clearly enjoyed writing his descriptions of Andrea, especially her clothes, and this is where he gets to show off his love of metaphor to best advantage. ‘She wore a soft creamy sweater that clung like suds to every curve of her upper sculpture, and her lips were full and inviting.’ Charteris also has an eye for the nuances. Later in the book, Andrea wears a kind of dress that ‘would get by anywhere between a ballroom and a boudoir and still always have a faint air of belonging somewhere else.’ Throughout the book, Andrea offers the Saint anything he wants, and Madeline withholds herself. By the time of the events recounted in The Saint Steps In (1943), Simon Templar is ruing the fact that he is now far more widely known than he used to be. This he blames on the war. Instead of donning a military uniform in order to serve the Allies against the Axis powers, he has so far worked mostly behind the scenes, and has had to forge working relationships with government departments and security agencies he would once have shied away from. His new-found fame doesn’t seem to do him much harm, although he laments being ‘almost legal,’ as he still manages to carry on much as he likes. The only difference is that now he does it with the cooperation of the authorities. In The Saint Steps In, he even works with the F.B.I. How ironic Inspector Teal would find that! The presence of the war permeates The Saint Steps In, even from a distance, holding it together and providing some of its more serious moments, as when Templar contrasts the peace and beauty of New England with the distant horrors of war, the slaughter going on in Europe and the Far East. As he puts it, with characteristic understatement, ‘all that the paranoia of an unsuccessful house-painter was trying to destroy.’ Templar also becomes quite eloquent in an argument towards the end of the book, when he argues that most Americans only perceive the war as a distant event that doesn’t impinge too much on their daily lives because they haven’t felt its effects at first hand, as London did in the blitz. One wonders here where Charteris’ voice ends and Templar’s begins. Like most of the Saint stories, The Saint Steps In is a novel of adventure, mixing mystery and suspense with a fair amount of action and snappy dialogue in the vein of Raymond Chandler, whose The Lady in the Lake came out the same year. Also around the same time, RKO Pictures had more or less plagiarised the Saint for the movies and rechristened him the Falcon, with George Sanders (an ex-movie Saint) in the title role. Oddly enough, the third Falcon film, The Falcon Takes Over (1942), was based on Chandler’s Farewell, My Lovely – so, in a strange way, the Saint became Philip Marlowe, however briefly! Unlike Marlowe, though, Simon Templar doesn’t have the dubious respectability of a private detective’s licence; he does, however, have the same sense of himself as an adventurer, a sort of knight errant, as a man who, in Chandler’s words, is ‘a man of honor, by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it . . . The best man in his world and a good enough man for any world.’ He is, after all, the Saint.

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Chapter One

TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, by John le Carré

Read the first chapter of John le Carré's acclaimed TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, now a major film.

Chapter One

COME SUNDAY, by Isla Morley

Read the first chapter of Isla Morley's COME SUNDAY.

Chapter One: The Old Long Since

RULES OF CIVILITY, by Amor Towles

Read the first chapter of Amor Towles' RULES OF CIVILITY.

My South Africa

Deon Meyer on the new South Africa

If books are windows on the world,1 crime fiction mostly provides a view of the underbelly and back alleys of cities and countries. This is my only genuine regret writing as an author in this genre. Because the real South Africa, the one that I love so passionately, is very different from the narrow and dim view my books probably allow. It is also quite unlike the one you see in those pessimistic fifteen second television news reports in the UK, Europe or Australia. So let me try and set the record straight. My country is breathtakingly beautiful – from the lush, sub-tropical east coast of Kwazulu-Natal, to the serene semi-desert stretching along the Atlantic in the west (which blooms in inde- scribable colour and splendour in Spring). In between, there’s the magnificence of the Lowveld, the Bushveld, the Highveld, the towering Drakensberg mountains, the aching vastness of the Karoo and the dense silence of the Knysna forests . . . Diversity is everywhere. In the climate (mostly perfect sunshine and balmy weather, but we have extremes too, summer highs of more than 50°C in Upington, and winter lows of -15°C in Sutherland – both in the same Northern Cape province), and in the cities (Durban is an intoxicating fusion of Zulu, Indian and British colonial cultures, Cape Town is a heady mix of Malay, Dutch-Afrikaans and Xhosa, Johannesburg is . . . well, modern African-cosmopolitan, utterly unique, and always exciting). The biodiversity of South Africa is truly astonishing. “With a land surface area of 1.2 million square kilometres representing just 1% of the earth’s total land surface, South Africa boasts six biospheres, and contains almost 10% of the world’s total known bird, fish and plant species, and over 6% of the world’s mammal and reptile species.”2 Of course we are also world-famous for our huge collection of wildlife regions and game parks – both public and private – encompassing every possible landscape from deserts to forests, mountains to coast, teeming with wildlife species, including Africa’s Big Five: Leopard, Lion, Buffalo, Elephant and Rhinoceros.3 But most of all, the diversity is in the people who constitute the Rainbow Nation. Our black ethnic groups include the Zulu, Xhosa, Basotho, Bapedi, Venda, Tswana, Tsonga, Swazi and Ndebele.The so-called ‘coloured’ (no, it’s not a derogatory term over here) population is mainly concentrated in the Western Cape region, and come from a combination of ethnic backgrounds including Malay, White, Khoi, San, and Griqua. White South Africans are descendants of Dutch, German, French Huguenots, English and other European and Jewish settlers. And our Indian population came to South Africa as indentured labourers to work in the sugar plantations in the British colony of Natal in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The population of more than fifty million people is made up of African (40.2 million, or 79.5%),White (4.6 million, or 9.0%), Coloured (4.5 million, or 9.0%), and Indian/Asian (1.3 million, or 2.5%). And, having travelled most of the world, I can confidently say, you won’t find friendlier, more hospitable and accommodating people anywhere, irrespective of their race, culture, language or creed. We have nine provinces (Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu- Natal, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, Limpopo, North West, Free State, and Western Cape) and eleven official languages: Afrikaans (13%), English (8%), isiNdebele (1.6%), isiXhosa (18%), isiZulu (24%), Sesotho sa Leboa (9%), Sesotho (8%), Setswana (8%), siSwati (3%),Tshivenda (2%), and Xitsonga (4%).4 Throw all of this together in a democracy not quite twenty years old (a tempestuous teenager, if ever there was one), and you get an effervescent, energetic, dynamic, and often a little chaotic, melting pot – of cultures, people, views, politics, opinions, and circumstance. After the tragedy and oppression of Apartheid, we are still very much coming to terms with – and are sometimes a little overwhelmed by – all the facets of the freedom-diamond. Which means that we argue incessantly, shout, point fingers, blame, accuse, denounce, complain, and criticize, mostly loudly and publicly, like all enthusiastic democrats should. But when our beloved Bafana-Bafana (the national football team), Springboks (our twice World Cup-winning rugby team) or Proteas (the cricket guys) walk onto the field, we stand united, shoulder to shoulder. And mostly, in our day-to-day-lives, we get along rather well. We increasingly study and work and live and love and socialise together, in great harmony. Of course, we have our problems. Poverty is the major one. “There is a consensus amongst most economic and political analysts that approximately 40% of South Africans are living in poverty – with the poorest 15% in a desperate struggle to survive.” However, we are making steady progress. The percentage of the South African population with access to clean drinking water has increased from 62% in 1994, to 93% in 2011. Access to electricity has increased from 34% in 1994, to 84% in 2011.5 In 2010, 13.5 million South Africans benefited from access to social grants, 8.5 million of whom were children, 3.5 million pensioners and 1.5 million people with disabilities. In 1994, only 2.5 million people had access to social grants, the majority of whom were pensioners. And since 1994, 435 houses have been built every day for the poor.6 And you might have heard about our other challenge – South Africa has a bit of a reputation when it comes to crime. I am most definitely going out on a limb here, but having studied the statistics, and looked at the (often unfair) comparisons over the past five years, I honestly believe we don’t quite deserve it. “. . . in relation to the overall risk of victimisation, South Africans are not much more likely to become victims of crime than people in other parts of the world,” Anthony Altbeker recently wrote in a carefully considered and exhaustively researched contribution to the marvellous Opinion Pieces by South African Thought Leaders.7 To put the matter into further perspective: In the two years leading up to the FIFA World Cup held in South Africa in 2010, almost every British, French and German journalist who interviewed me, asked the same question, more or less: “How big a slaughter is it going to be for fans attending the games?” Some were downright accusatory: “How dare you host this magnificent event in such a hazardous country?” A British tabloid even predicted a ‘machete race war’ waiting for visitors.8 And how many soccer fans died during the tournament? None.9 Furthermore, the attendees who were affected by crime-related incidents represented a very meagre 0.009% of the fans. That is far, far less than, for instance, the crime rate in Wales. When World Cup tourists were asked if they would consider visiting South Africa again, 96% said ‘yes’. As a matter of fact, if you are a tourist from the Northern Hemisphere visiting my beautiful country, your chances of becoming a victim of violent crime is less than 0.67%.10 (Compare this to the fact that “the 2011 British Behaviour Abroad Report published by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) noted that the death rate (including murder and natural causes) of Britons in Thailand was forty-one per 100,000 tourists and for those visiting Germany was twenty-four. Tourists from the UK are far safer visiting South Africa”11 – with just 14.6 per 100,000.12) South Africa’s murder rate dropped by 6.5% in 2010-2011, attempted murder by 12.2%, robbery with aggravating circumstances was down by 12%, and house robberies by 10%.13 Our police services are slowly but surely turning the tide. We struggle with inadequate service delivery, our politicians don’t always live up to our expectations, and our unemployment rate is too high. But our economy is robust, and easily out-performs first-world countries like Greece (no surprise there), Italy, and Spain. South African Tax Revenue has increased from R100 billion in 1994 to R640 billion in 2010. Our debt to GDP ratio is 32% (USA 100%, Japan 200%, UK 90%). (The World Bank recommends a ratio of 60%.) And we are ranked first out of 142 countries in respect of regulation of security exchanges by the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2011/12.14 According to the Open Budget Index, South Africa has the most transparent budget in the world. We are the only African country that is a member of the G20. In the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Survey of Democratic Freedom, South Africa ranks 31st out of 184 countries. And according to the Global Competitiveness Report 2010/11, South Africa has the 34th most efficient government out of the 139 countries ranked.15 The number of tourists visiting South Africa has grown from 3.9 million in 1994 to 11.3 million in 2010. South Africa is ranked among the top five countries in the world in respect of tourism growth (growing at three times the global average).16 I could go on. South Africa’s learner-to-teacher ratio improved from 1:50 in 1994 to 1:31 in 2010. According to the Global Competitiveness Report 2011/12, South Africa is ranked 13th out of 142 countries for its quality of management schools. 61% of South African primary school children and 30% of high school children receive free meals as part of the school feeding scheme.17 But none of these facts and figures, as inspiring as they are, will reveal the real reason why I am so unwaveringly optimistic about my country’s future. It is one of the major reasons for the peaceful transition miracle of 1994, it is something woven into the texture of everyday South African life, hidden from the fleeting eyes of foreign journalists on a flying visit, mostly talking only to important folks: The goodwill of ordinary people. Every day, in cities, towns, and tiny villages, small acts of kindness happen between human beings. Individuals who extend a helping hand across racial, cultural, political and linguistic divides, who extend friendship and kindness and empathy. I have been witnessing this for more than forty years, and I absolutely believe it is this goodwill that will carry us through, no matter how challenging the future may be. 1 “Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. They are engines of change, windows on the world, lighthouses erected in the sea of time.” - Barbara W. Tuchman, American popular historian and author, 1912-1989. 2 http://www.bcb.uwc.ac.za/envfacts/facts/biosa.htm 3 http://www.sa-venues.com/game_lodges_nationwide_south_afr.htm
 4 http://www.safrica.info/about/facts.htm (percentages rounded off)
 5 http://www.sagoodnews.co.za/fast_facts_and_quick_stats/index.html
 6 Ibid. 7 Penguin, 2011. p. 47.
 8 http://www.dailystar.co.uk/posts/view/129402/WORLD-CUP-MACHETE- THREAT/
 9 http://www.truecrimexpo.co.za/
 10 http://www.info.gov.za/issues/crime/crime_aprsept_ppt.pdf
 11 http://www.issafrica.org/iss_today.php?ID=1394
 12 Ibid.
 13 http://www.sagoodnews.co.za/crime/crime_statistics_show_drop_in_ murder_rate.html
 14 http://www.sagoodnews.co.za/fast_facts_and_quick_stats/index.html 15 Ibid.
 16 Ibid. 17 Ibid.