The Trials of Richard Goldstone

Daniel Terris. Rutgers Univ, $37.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-813-59996-0
Historian Terris recounts the remarkable career of MacArthur Fellow Richard Goldstone, a South African judge, in this admiring biography. Goldstone’s lifelong battle for human rights began in his home country, where, in various roles, he challenged basic tenets of apartheid and helped to facilitate the country’s successful transition to democracy as head of the Commission of Inquiry Regarding the Prevention of Public Violence and Intimidation. From 1994–1996, he served as chief prosecutor of two U.N. international tribunals on war crimes in (respectively) the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Afterwards, he took up his seat on South Africa’s Constitutional Court while participating in international investigations of Nazis in Argentina, NATO’s actions in Kosovo, and the Iraq Oil for Food Program. In 2009, he led an investigation of Israeli conduct in the Gaza Strip that issued a report critical of Israel’s actions; Terris focuses perhaps too much attention on the firestorm of criticism Goldstone then received from fellow South African Jews, including Zionists’ plan to protest Goldstone’s grandson’s bar mitzvah. Terris does an excellent job contextualizing Goldstone’s investigations, accessibly laying out the history of the relevant conflicts, including apartheid, in a rich and nuanced fashion. This appreciative biography will inform readers about both its main subject and important currents in 20th-century world history. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/14/2019
Release date: 12/01/2018
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