Grip­ping reads for the week­end

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - BOOKS -

Death and Taxes How SARS Made Hit­men, Drug Deal­ers & Tax Dodgers Pay Their Dues By Jo­hann van Log­geren­berg Jonathan Ball

As the say­ing goes, noth­ing in life is cer­tain, ex­cept death and taxes. Since the dawn of democ­racy, it’s some­thing South African crim­i­nals and tax evaders have learnt the hard way – from ruth­less king pins in the rhino horn smug­gling busi­ness to druglo­rds to the hit­man who shot Brett Keb­ble.

Van Log­geren­berg is a former tax in­ves­ti­ga­tor and un­cov­ered many such cases for Sars, so few are bet­ter po­si­tioned to write this in­sider’s view which of­fers a riv­et­ing read. Find out more about Dave King, Barry Tan­nen­baum, the ponzi scheme, Julius Malema and Ja­cob Zuma.

In these in­ves­ti­ga­tions the tax au­thor­ity worked closely with the po­lice, the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Au­thor­ity and the Direc­torate of Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions. How­ever, after a few years Sars be­came the vic­tim of its own suc­cess. In telling the sto­ries of how tax evaders were caught,

Van Log­geren­berg also shows how the power strug­gle be­tween dif­fer­ent state departments and the phe­nom­e­non of state cap­ture in re­cent years started crip­pling Sars.

My Coun­try, My Life By Ehud Barak St Martin’s Press

Ehud Barak is re­garded as one of Is­rael’s most in­flu­en­tial sol­dier-states­men. He served as prime min­is­ter from

1999 to 2001 and this is his mem­oir.

He tells his story from his com­ing of age as a sol­dier in the army to his de­vel­op­ment as a mil­i­tary man and as a states­man.

In 2000 Barak was the most dec­o­rated sol­dier in Is­rael’s his­tory and off the bat­tle­field he set him­self a chal­lenge as daunt­ing as any he would have faced there; to forge peace in the Mid­dle East. Sadly it’s still an elu­sive dream for both Pales­tini­ans and Is­raelis.

Barak’s life was in­ter­twined with that of Is­rael. He was born on a kib­butz, be­came com­man­der of Is­rael’s elite spe­cial forces, then army chief of staff and, ul­ti­mately, head of state.

This is a no-holds-barred story of his coun­try’s first seven decades, its suc­cesses, but also its set­backs and mis­judg­ments.

He sounds a pow­er­ful warn­ing: Is­rael is at a cross­roads, threat­ened by events be­yond its borders and by di­vi­sions within. The two-state so­lu­tion is more ur­gent than ever, not just for the Pales­tini­ans, but for the ex­is­ten­tial in­ter­ests of Is­rael it­self.

Dear Mrs Bird By AJ Pearce Pi­cador

In Lon­don, 1941, Em­me­line Lake and her best friend Bunty try to be pos­i­tive de­spite the Luft­waffe mak­ing life dif­fi­cult. Emmy dreams of be­com­ing a lady war cor­re­spon­dent.

She spots a job ad­vert in the news­pa­per and seizes her chance. It’s a rather un­for­tu­nate mis­un­der­stand­ing as Emmy finds her­self typ­ing let­ters for the for­mi­da­ble Hen­ri­etta Bird, the renowned agony aunt of Wo­man’s Friend mag­a­zine.

Mrs Bird has made it clear that let­ters con­tain­ing any form of un­pleas­ant­ness must be ditched. But as Emmy reads the un­told sto­ries from the ladies out there of those who may have gone too far with the wrong man, or can’t bear to let their chil­dren be evac­u­ated, she de­cides to se­cretly write back.

The book is en­dear­ingly funny and poignant and a de­light to read – as a love let­ter to the en­dur­ing power of friend­ship, the kind­ness of strangers and the courage of or­di­nary peo­ple in ex­tra­or­di­nary times. – Orielle Berry

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.