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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read, Sept. 9 2002
By 
Anton Nel (Pretoria, South Africa) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bang Bang Club (Paperback)
This is a disturbing book. After the first three chapters I put it down and only picked it up again two months later. Perhaps I was just emotionally at low ebb the first time, but the brutal honesty of the descriptions in those first chapters got to me. Even though I am a South African and lived through that eventful period, I was unprepared for the honesty of the authors. At the second attempt I finished the book and am glad that I did as it is really well worth the read.
The book describes the experiences of four well-known South African press photographers, at the peak of the political transition period of the country. Of the four, only two survived. Most South Africans as well as international readers interested in photojournalism, will remember the killing of Ken Oosterbroek by a stray bullet while covering an unrest situation in the townships. And the whole world was shocked by the brilliant photograph of a starving Sudanese child with a vulture patiently waiting in the background. Kevin Carter committed suicide not long after winning a Pulitzer Prize for that image. Although the book deals mainly with their work experiences, it also provides insight in the personal lives of photojournalists. It focuses mainly on events in South Africa, especially during those eventful years in the early nineties. However, there are also references to other African countries. A few months before I read this book, I also read Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa by Keith Richburg. This was another excellent and very honest book by a black American journalist who was assigned to the African Desk of the Washington Post. The combination of these two books gives an excellent perspective on the Dark Continent and scares the hell out of you.
I can strongly recommend both these books. It is a must-read for anyone interested in photojournalism and for people interested in the political transition period of SA. People who enjoy biographies will also appreciate the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Horrifyingly Satisfying, Oct. 30 2000
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Not for the weak, The Bang Bang Club takes readers directly to the violence and brutality depicted in the four prize-winning photographs scattered throughout the pages. The writing is down and dirty, like the photographers themselves. But it works because of the subject. Get in click the photo and try not to throw up while you're doing it. Like most Yanks living a cozy life, I didn't know many details about the famous struggles in SA in the early 1990s. And I wouldn't have chosen to read a straight history. But the combination of first-person accounts of tragedy together with terrifically vivid and horrible photos and a gripping tale of danger lurking around every corner makes for an ideal way to learn something about that fascinating and difficult time in world history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, Jan. 18 2002
By 
A Reader "Gus" (New York, New York United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Bang Bang Club (Paperback)
This is an exciting account of South Africa, as observed through the lenses of four "conflict photojournalists", roughly between the time of Mandela's release to South Africa's first non-racial elections. There is a gripping, raw and ultimately, compassionate, quality about the writing, and the photos powerfully convey the horrors that this country went through. Equally enlightening are the insights into conflict photography, and the moral issues that arise by being a witness (and recorder) of human suffering. This book would interest anyone who's ever wondered how conflict photographers get into those crazy situations, the risks they took (sometimes fatal), and the adrenaline-laced thoughts that rush through their minds.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story, Aug. 30 2001
By 
Michael Casey "Michael" (Atlanta, GA United States) - See all my reviews
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Much more than simply a book about photojournalists, The Bang Bang Club tells a haunting tale about several young men growing up in a rapidly changing and often hostile world. The friendships that form and are later ripped apart by bullets and suicide comprise the bulk of this well-told history. That South Africa's most important history is taking place as a background only mkaes it that much more of an interesting and enjoyable read. Yes, there is some violence, but that violence defines the world these photographers live and work in.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brutal - not just the photos but the message as well, Sept. 26 2000
By A Customer
I can't even imagine how hard it was for these guys to write this book. Not only did they lose two of their best friends during the period covered by the book, not only did they have to watch people die in front of them, but they've come to realize that the photographs they were taking did not accomplishing what they hoped - to stop the violence. It's a harrowing but rewarding read, a real page turner.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Tribute to Greg, Joao, Ken & Kevin., Sept. 21 2000
This is my heart. This is my bone. This is my home. This is the horror. And my hope lies in the next generation who look at us with blank stares and respond with the righteous indignation of the young when we try to explain. And I will hand them "The Bang-Bang Club" and hope that they will then understand where we came from.
Gail Evans.
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