[Marxism] Anthony Sampson
lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Dec 21 08:23:19 MST 2004
(A fairly decent obit on the late and great journalist, which does not
place enough emphasis on his writings about oil. His book "The Seven
Sisters" is a classic. I include a couple of links below to his recent
articles to give a sense of his understanding of the geopolitics of oil.)
NY Times, December 21, 2004
Anthony Sampson, Anatomist of Political Power, Dies at 78
By MARGALIT FOX
Anthony Sampson, a British investigative journalist who was Nelson
Mandela's authorized biographer, died on Saturday at his home in Wiltshire,
England. He was 78 and also resided in London.
No cause of death was made public, but his wife, Sally, said that Mr.
Sampson had had heart trouble in the past.
The author of more than 20 books on political and social issues, Mr.
Sampson was concerned throughout his career with examining imbalances of
political power, both in Britain and South Africa. He was a weekly
columnist for The Independent of London; his most recent column, published
the day he died, condemned what he saw as the threat to civil liberties
posed by the expanded power of Britain's Home Office since the terrorist
attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Besides the biography of Mr. Mandela, published in 1999, Mr. Sampson was
known for "Anatomy of Britain" (1962), a landmark study of politics, power
and privilege in the postwar years. Periodically updated, the book was
reissued this year as "Who Runs This Place? The Anatomy of Britain in the
Reviewing the Mandela biography in The New York Times Book Review, John
Carlin wrote, "The triumph of 'Mandela' is that it successfully
demythologizes the man without in any way undermining his heroic stature."
Mr. Sampson, who was white, became involved in South African affairs after
serving as the editor of Drum, a Johannesburg magazine for black Africans,
from 1951 to 1955. His first book, "Drum: A Venture Into the New Africa"
(1956), recounted his years there.
He seemed to know everyone. Mr. Sampson once described Nadine Gordimer, the
Nobel Prize-winning novelist, as "my oldest white friend in South Africa."
He also met many of the young luminaries of the African National Congress,
including Steve Biko and Walter Sisulu, keeping in touch with them from
London after the A.N.C. was banned in 1960.
During this period, he also met Mr. Mandela, then a young lawyer for the
African National Congress. After Mr. Mandela's arrest in 1964 on charges of
sabotage, Mr. Sampson covered his trial for The Observer of London.
Sentenced to life in prison, Mr. Mandela was freed in 1990; he was
president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.
In an interview with The Independent yesterday, Mr. Mandela said of Mr.
Sampson: "He cared about Africa in a way that is rare among those from the
developed world, and he never stopped caring. Because of his intimate
involvement, both as observer and sympathizer, with our cause, I had no
hesitation in agreeing to him writing my authorized biography. I knew that
in his hands our cause would be reported justly."
Anthony Terrell Seward Sampson was born on Aug. 3, 1926, in Billingham,
England. After earning an undergraduate degree in English from Oxford, he
was invited to edit Drum, which had recently begun publication. After
returning to England, Mr. Sampson joined the staff of The Observer. He
later edited The Sampson Letter, on politics and finance.
Mr. Sampson is survived by his wife, the former Sally Bentlif, whom he
married in 1965; a sister, Dorothy Meade, of London; a brother, John, of
Manhattan; a daughter, Katherine, of London; a son, Paul, of Dubai; and two
His other books include "Macmillan: A Study in Ambiguity" (1967); "Seven
Sisters: The Great Oil Companies and the World They Made" (1975); "Arms
Bazaar: From Lebanon to Lockheed" (1977); and "Black and Gold" (1987), a
study of international business and black politics in South Africa.
Mr. Sampson, who returned often to South Africa, wrote evocatively of life
in the country's black townships. Writing in The New York Times Magazine in
May 1960, two months after the Sharpeville massacre, he observed:
"The black cities of South Africa are kept separate from the white cities
by all the elaborate devices of apartheid. By day the Africans work in the
same offices, factories or shops as the white men, and jostle in the same
streets; but every night they are separated, and travel in their segregated
trains to their segregated townships.
"To the whites, the lives of their black office boys or chauffeurs seem
unimaginably separate and isolated from their own. . . . But to the urban
Africans, the 'Europeans' are the ones who seem isolated, in their remote
and hidden mansions in the superior suburbs. The Africans no longer feel
themselves reliant on white patrons or promoters for their education and
cultural development; they see themselves as the heirs of Western
civilization, and the 'Europeans' as the impostors."
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