Gripping reads for the weekend
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