As that list indicates, he took an interest in broad political and economic power structure. But what a mere list cannot convey is that Sampson saw power as personal, so his books often read like series of interlocked biographies — of arms merchants, oil company executives, etc., according to the theme of each. He was a biographer and personal friend of Nelson Mandela.
Furthermore, the personal was for Sampson also the psychological, even the psychoanalytical, as this passage from The Money Lenders shows:
"[Bankers] seem specially conscious of time, always aware that time is money. There is always a sense of restraint and tension. (Is it part of the connection which Freud observed between compulsive neatness, anal eroticism, and interest in money?)".
The phenomenon of Drum reflected the man behind it; Nadine Gordimer and George Bizos remembered Anthony Sampson at the launch of his memoirs at the Nelson Mandela Foundation this week. Here is an edited version of their speeches.(Dispatches)
Feb 22, 2009; In the early 1950s, a young man would come roaring up on a motorbike to the house where Reinhold Cassirer and I had just moved...