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Anthony Sampson was one of the greatest journalists and writers on contemporary affairs of the 20th century - most famous for his Anatomy of Britain , for his official and magnificent biography of Mandela, and for his life-time commitment to the ending of apartheid in South Africa. In 1951 he went to work in South Africa on Drum magazine, beginning a life-long commitment to a country divided by race. Four years later he was working for the Observer under the legendary David Astor, and there wrote the unique Anatomy of Britain , which changed the mould of political writing for ever.A stream of bestsellers followed on major world topics: big business; the oil trade; the international arms trade; world banking; corporate life; and, important updates to the original Anatomy, culminating in Who Runs this Pace? in 2004. Sampson, however, never missed an opportunity to return to South Africa, which was in many ways his spiritual home. He witnessed the major events that finally led to the end of apartheid and the triumph of Nelson Mandela. Mandela wrote on the death of Anthony Sampson in December 2004: 'he was in many ways so English and in many ways so African - he never stopped caring about Africa', a fitting and apt epitaph for one of the great investigative journalists of his generation.
Anthony Sampson was the author of twenty bestselling books, including Drum; Anatomy of Britain, The Sovereign State of ITT, The Seven Sisters, The Arms Bazaar, The Money Lenders, Drum, The Scholar Gypsy and Mandela. He was editor of Drum in South Africa, on the staff of the Observer in its heyday, a member of the North-South Brandt Commission and an active supporter of the SDP. In 1965 he married Sally, with whom he edited The Oxford Book of Ages, and who has helped to prepare this book for publication. He died in December 2004.