Ohio University Press · Swallow Press ·

Forty Lost Years
The Apartheid State and the Politics of the National Party, 1948 to 1994

By Dan O'Meara

Forty Lost Years is a penetrating analysis of the rise and demise of the National Party’s long and violent rule in South Africa. Building on the author’s earlier study of Afrikaner nationalism (Volkskapitalisme), this pioneering new work is the first attempt to explain the ongoing conflicts inside the National Party in the context of the broader political struggles in and around the apartheid state.

This book offers unique insight into the bleakest period in South African politics—the years from D. F. Malan’s surprise victory in the 1948 election to the concession of power by F. W. de Klerk and South Africa’s first democratic election in 1994. This is more than just compelling history. Dan O’Meara questions how the past both shapes the present and limits the future. He argues that for us to gauge what kind of change is possible in the new South Africa, we need to understand the politics of the apartheid era.

Exhaustively researched and fully illustrated with contemporary photographs and cartoons, Forty Lost Years is a multifaceted and subtle analysis of many aspects of South African politics since World War II. The author delves into the nature and functioning of the apartheid economy, the political role of big business and foreign governments, military strategy, the evolution of Afrikaner literature, and the NP’s changing relationship with the Afrikaner Broederbond. Underlying his complex and readable narrative is a concern both with the modes of explaining change and the dynamics of the transition process.

Born and raised in South Africa, Dan O’Meara holds degrees from the universities of the Witwatersrand and Sussex. He is the author of the highly acclaimed Volkskapitalisme, and coauthor of The Struggle for South Africa as well as The Kingdom of Swaziland. He has taught at universities in South Africa, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Canada. Currently on the faculty of the political science department at l’Université du Québec à Montréal, he is the cofounder and director of the Canadian Research Consortium on Southern Africa.   More info →

Order a print copy

Cover of Forty Lost Years

Share    Facebook icon  Email icon


This book is not available for desk, examination, or review copy requests.

Permission to reprint
Permission to photocopy or include in a course pack via Copyright Clearance Center

Downloads & Links



Related Titles

Cover of 'Constructive Engagement?'

Constructive Engagement?
Chester Crocker & American Policy in South Africa, Namibia & Angola, 1981–1988
By J. E. Davies

The notion of engagement represents an indispensable tool in a foreign policy practitioner’s armory. The idea of constructive engagement is forwarded by governments as a method whereby pressure can be brought to bear on countries to improve their record on human rights, while diplomatic and economic contracts can be maintained. But does this approach succeed?

African History · International Studies · History | Modern | 20th Century · Angola · Namibia · South Africa · African Studies

Cover of 'Workers, War and the Origins of Apartheid'

Workers, War and the Origins of Apartheid
Labour and Politics in South Africa, 1939-48
By Peter Alexander

This book provides a significant revision of South African labor history and makes an important contribution to the debate about apartheid’s genesis. Using a range of untapped sources, it shows that there was far more strike action during World War II than has been officially acknowledged. A new working class, sometimes organized into multiracial unions, won improved wages and softened racial prejudice among white workers.Contradicting

African History · Labor History · Apartheid · South Africa · African Studies

Cover of 'Working Papers in Southern African Studies'

Working Papers in Southern African Studies
Vol. 3
By D. C. Hindson

THE STATE AND AGRICULTURAL LABOUR Zanzibar after Slavery Fred CooperFROM REFUGE TO RESISTANCE Botshabelo, Mafolofolo and Johannes Dinkwanyane: Missionaries and Converts under the Authority of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek, 1860-1876.

African Studies · Political Science