What some readers have written after reading "Aliwal"
"This book brought back some interesting memories of visits to the town of Aliwal North both as a child and as an adult. As a child I visited the old Bergman store many times and I was reminded of this as I read this fascinating piece of personal history. I commend this book to others seeking to know more about their forebears, Adam Yamey's research into his relative is a great piece of detective work and the story is well told here".
" A very interesting read about a part of the world I knew very little about, especially it's history (but now I do!). Well paced and written, made all the more intriguing because of its factual background. Hope there's more forthcoming from this author! "
" I am Jewish, born in Africa. My paternal great grandparents were in the pioneer column that went from Cape to Rhodesia and my maternal grandparents were born in Germany. The stories, sketches, photographs and anecdotes I was told as a child, passed down through the generations come to life in this book which charts the excitement of a young Jewish Bavarian man setting out to make his fortune in Southern Africa. There are so many parallels between my grand and great grandparents' stories and those related in this book.
The trials of getting travel documents to cross continents, and overseas travel in the mid 1980's are given sufficient detail to keep the story moving without getting bogged down in detail.
The author paints a vivid picture of the hardy, competitive but exciting life experienced by these early pioneers who had fantastic opportunities if they were prepared to put in the committment and hard effort.
There is a very human element to this book describing the lengths those people would go to, from getting companionship from the local native population, to returning to the home country to find a wife.
The story is cleverly woven around the actual lives the author's ancestral relatives, mentioning the actual friends whose relatives subsequently contributed the stories related in this book.
I was sceptical when I started reading this book fearing that it would be another one of those big hero hunter stories about Africa. I was soon engrossed and by the end, felt I was part of the experience.."
"The book filled in many gaps in the tales told to me by older generations and added the brush strokes that helped me visualize the scenes and make them credible.
Certainly a keeper for me.
My only criticism is of the very poor level of editing.(maybe only in the kindle edition) but this book deserves better.
I hope the author has more work in the pipeline.Looking forward to it."
"I felt that the characters in this book were very representative of the period and of their ethnic background. Heinrich, the Jewish central character, is an actual person. So when I discuss him in this book, I am talking about the portrayal of the fictional character, not the real Heinrich Bergmann. Heinrich wasn't an ordinary individual because he was responsible for some significant achievements. Yet I found his outlook to be typical given his background even though his actions were not typical.
There was an important Portuguese character in Aliwal. I was a bit surprised to find him in South Africa during this period. I had understood that the first major wave of Portuguese immigration to South Africa was in the 20th century. Yet I did find a web page dealing with early Portuguese settlers in South Africa at http://southafricanresearcher.blogspot.co.uk/2010/04/early-portuguese-settlers-in-south.html
The book was well-plotted. It was a story line that kept me reading. My main problem was that I wanted to see more depth in the characterization. The characters were plausible, but not indelible."
"I really enjoyed it. Maybe also because it is the first book I have ever read which deals with the subject of Jewish settlers in South Africa.
It is well written and reads easily thanks both to the pleasant linearity of the plot and the large use of dialogues.
The reader is soon captivated by the adventurous story of its hero and at the end wonders how such a smart and successful man might have so easily become the victim of some mean swindlers and fall therefore from the highest peaks of prosperity and reputation to the desperate situation which drove him to suicide."
NB: Some of the reviews printed above have already been published on amazon.com.
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