Mike, twenty two years old and freshly-graduated from university, is called up for compulsory national service with the South African Defence Force. It’s the mid-eighties, and South Africa is burning. Township streets are violent with protest and a full-blown Cold War proxy war rages on the border.
Mike, the reluctant disciple of an unholy cause, must leave the comforts of home and the arms of the love of his life, Kimberly, to undergo military training at Infantry School in Oudtshoorn. There he faces gruelling instruction at the hands of the Afrikaner ranks, who are none-too-accepting of the Engelsman (Englishman) who resists their autocratic ways. Mike misses Kimberly desperately, but finds comfort in the easy friendships he strikes up with fellow conscripts.
Basics, Vasbyt, border duty and the demands of army life occupy Mike’s days, while he fights to keep a hold on life outside the army and his relationship with Kimberly. His experience of being discriminated against as an English-speaking serviceman in a very-Afrikaans institution is turned on its head when he is posted as an officer to a black battalion near the Kruger National Park in his second year of national service.
In The Name Of God follows Mike as he negotiates his way through Infantry School and beyond, wrestling with life and love along the way. Against the backdrop of a pivotal time in South Africa’s dark history, the book examines the role one man played in defending apartheid and describes his coming-of-age under extreme circumstances.
Filled with action, friendship, love and humour, the book is also an earnest attempt on the part of Michael Warren to make sense of the South Africa of the past and the South Africa in which he finds himself in the present. In The Name Of God is a frank and outspoken memoir from this first-time author from Pretoria.