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Several recent publications have explored the African National Congress's (ANC's) external links during South Africa's apartheid years. The following four texts offer an insight into the very different personal and methodological approaches that have so far shaped attempts to understand this aspect of the ANC's struggle. The section starts with a review of Stephen Ellis's recent book External Mission: the ANC in exile, 1960–1990 by Hugh Macmillan, who argues that Ellis overemphasizes the relationship between the ANC and the South African Communist Party (SACP). In a response to this review, Stephen Ellis justifies his approach by pointing to the importance of interpretation for the production of history, but also by referring to the different networks and resources, both in South Africa and beyond, on which he and Macmillan were able to draw. A review of Hugh Macmillan's new book The Lusaka Years: the ANC in exile in Zambia, 1963 to 1994 by Arianna Lissoni follows. Lissoni agrees with the author that the debate about the ANC in exile must be understood in the context of contemporary disaffection with South Africa's ruling party. Emphasizing the specificity of the Zambian experience, she welcomes Macmillan's focus on the multiplicity of experiences in exile as potentially opening new avenues for further study and reflection on the ANC. Finally, Mariya Kurbak's consideration of Irina Filatova and Apollon Davidson's The Hidden Thread: Russia and South Africa in the Soviet era explains that the authors' close understanding of Russian–South African relations enables them to illuminate the previously hidden importance of the Soviet Union in the history of South Africa and the ANC.
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