Partner to History

The U.S. Role in South Africa's Transition to Democracy
May 2002
384 Pages
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A remarkable book about a remarkable time, Partner to History reveals the role played by U.S. diplomacy in South Africa's surprisingly successful transition from apartheid to democracy. Princeton Lyman, the U.S. ambassador during the transition, makes clear that America didn't "own" the transition process-the South Africans did. But U.S. involvement was active and intense. And it made a difference.

Lyman tells an enthralling story of how Washington policymakers and the American embassy used U.S. influence, economic assistance, and political support to help end apartheid without sparking civil war. The book offers candid assessments both of U.S. policy deliberations and of the leading players in the unfolding, unpredictable drama. It takes us behind the diplomatic scenes as well as onto the public stage, as American diplomats strove to facilitate dialogue, encourage reconciliation, and dissuade potential spoilers.

Princeton N. Lyman

Ambassador Princeton Lyman was the Institute’s advisor emeritus. He served as a senior advisor at USIP from 2013 to July 2018, when he stepped down from his day-to-day role and became the Institute’s first advisor emeritus.

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