Jan Smuts: Unafraid of Greatness

Unafraid of Greatness is a re-examination of the life and thought of South African statesman, politician and solider Jan Smuts.
Steyn, Richard
In stock
€19.95 *

Title: Jan Smuts
Subtitle: Unafraid of Greatness
Author: Richard Steyn
Genre: Biography
Publisher: Jonathan Ball Publishers
Cape Town, South Africa 2015
ISBN 9781868424184 / ISBN 978-1-86842-418-4
Softcover, 15 x 23 cm, 278 pages, numerous b/w photos and imgages


Jan Christian Smuts was soldier, statesman and intellectual, one of South Africa’s greatest leaders. Yet little is said about him today even as we appear to live in a leadership vacuum. It is intended to remind a contemporary readership of the remarkable achievements of this impressive soldier-statesman. The author argues that there is a need to bring Smuts back into the present, that Smuts’ legacy still has much to instruct. He draws several parallels between Smuts and President Thabo Mbeki, both intellectuals much lionised abroad and yet often distrusted at home. This book is a highly readable account of Smuts’ life. It also examines a number of overarching themes: his relationships with women, spiritual life, intellectual life and his role as advisor to world leaders. Politics and international affairs receive the lion’s share, but Smuts’ unique contributions to other fields are not neglected. Unafraid of Greatness does not shy away from the contradictions of its subject. Jan Smuts was one of the architects of the United Nations, and a great champion of human rights, yet he could not see the need to reform the condition of the African majority in his own country.