The age of identity politics has ushered a strange medley of ghosts into our lives. They’re strange, because they sit so uncomfortably together, at once positively affirming that difference is a good thing, while somehow trampling over the idea of "shared humanity" in a worryingly divisive way.

Marianne Thamm enters this prickly haunted era, banging her own identity drum with panache while imbuing her memoir-of-sorts with a benevolent warmth that recalls what now feels like an outmoded idea: inclusivity.

A journalist, Thamm has done and seen much more than your average opinion punter and knows a great many people. But, pared down to its essence, this rather awkwardly titled book is the story of a father and a daughter.

In telling it, Thamm sidesteps cliché and writes a book that is at once too specific in identity detail to have universal appeal, yet transcends the narrow confines of identity. This is a very particular SA story that will have a wide and appreciative audience.

HITLER, VERWOERD, MANDELA AND ME: A Memoir of Sorts
Marianne Thamm
Tafelberg

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