It’s difficult to pinpoint when and why, precisely, this complex biography captivates and enchants.Ostensibly, the subject is Jules Browde, a legal luminary who studied with Nelson Mandela, served with distinction in the North African and European theatres during World War 2, forged comradeship with many leading lights of the struggle against apartheid and became one of the country’s early human rights advocates. These were the big things in his life; he lived to the age of 97, and was a witness – and an esteemed contributor – to tumultuous decades in SA’s history.But it was his private persona, and in particular the part of him that defined him as a raconteur (“Look here, that reminds me of a story”), that seeded this book.“These stories should be written down,” his family agrees firmly, definitively, when Jules is in his 80s. Grandson Daniel, who has inherited Jules’s extraordinarily observant eye for the detail that enriches a tale, is given the task – a privilege as well as a bu...

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