House of Bondage by Ernest Cole With Thomas Flaherty. Introduction by Joseph Lelyveld

House of Bondage by Ernest Cole With Thomas Flaherty. Introduction by Joseph Lelyveld

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New York : Random House, 1967. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. 187 pages ; B/W photographs ; 31 cm. In very good condition with original $10 dust jacket. Bookshop rubber stamp on front endpaper. Binding is firm. Pages are free of markings.


This is one of those rare hooks that can change the way we think by revealing a truth of which we were unaware. The House of Bondage is the dwelling-place of the black people of South Africa, whose bitter life is one of the tragedies of our century. Ernest Cole has lived the tragedy as an inmate of the House for most of his twenty-seven years. A remarkably gifted photographer and an eloquent spokesman, he has recently exiled himself to expose the harsh realities of his homeland today. From his unique vantage point, Cole sees every aspect of South Africa's degradation with a searching eye and a passionate heart.

Ernest Cole, son of a tailor and a washerwoman, was horn near Pretoria in 1940. He took his first pictures at 15 with a borrowed camera, left school two years later to earn money for a correspondence course in photography. By a hold and clever maneuver he got himself classified as colored, rather than black, an important distinction in South Africa. By persistence and luck he managed to get staff jobs and free-lance assignments from newspapers and magazines.

By 1960, when the idea of House of Bondage took root, he had the experience, mature talent, and freedom of movement to achieve it. He left South Africa in 1966, bringing out thousands of pictures to document his unique and terrible view of South Africa's underside—what Reporter Joseph Lelyveld calls (<one of the least-known countries in the world."

Joseph Lelyveld became a friend of Ernest Cole while reporting from South Africa for the New York Times. His introduction gives a valuable perspective on both the man and the conditions he depicts. Lelyveld was born in Cincinnati and is a graduate of Harvard. He was forced out of South Africa in 1966, when the Government refused to renew his alien resident's permit. He currently covers India and Pakistan for the Times.

Thomas Flaherty, an associate editor of LIFE, wrote the story of Ernest Cole for that magazine, and has collaborated in the development of his text for House of Bondage.

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