As a leading political journalist and newspaper editor, Hartley had the best seat in the house for the unfolding drama of the new South Africa, as well as privileged access to many key players, including Nelson Mandela himself. Admirably concise but rich in detail, drawing on a wide spectrum of interviews, documents and experiences, Ragged Glory offers a bracingly critical look back at the achievements and the failures of two turbulent decades, during which South Africa took its place at the table of free nations but lost something of its moral authority. On a cold Highveld morning in May 1994, Nelson Mandela took the oath of office to become South Africa's first democratically elected president. A new era had begun. The promise of those heady days of political transition soon gave way to a more sober view on the magnitude of the challenges facing the new government. Under Mandela and his successor, Thabo Mbeki, the country grappled with the restructuring of the state, massive inequality and poverty, rising crime, battles over economic policy, the arms deal, the HIV/AIDS crisis, the BEE era, the cancer of political corruption and the rise of a new and predatory political elite. With the removal of Mbeki, followed by the interregnum of Kgalema Motlanthe, the stage was set for the coming to power of the controversial Jacob Zuma. All of these are key threads in Ray Hartley's rich and complex narrative history of the democratic era.