In 1980, Zimbabwe was the great hope of Africa, a place where blacks were supposed to realize their postcolonial destinies under the enlightened leadership of Robert Mugabe. But now the country formerly known as Rhodesia is an international basket case with a wrecked economy and a dim future. In this disturbing book by Martin Meredith, a British journalist with extensive experience in southern Africa, Mugabe transforms into a villain. "Year by year, he acquired ever greater power, ruling the country through a vast system of patronage, favoring loyal aides and cronies with government positions and contracts and ignoring the spreading blight of corruption," writes Meredith. "Power for Mugabe was not a means to an end, but the end itself." His reign has been so wretched, in fact, that some of the most sympathetic people in Our Votes, Our Guns
are the white farmers who once supported apartheid-style rule but decided not to flee when Mugabe came to power. They were promised multiracial harmony; what they got instead was a racist dictator who thought nothing of using violence against them. Admirers of Philip Gourevitch--or, indeed, anyone with an interest in African politics--will appreciate Meredith's depressing but important story. --John Miller
"Fast paced and readable." -- The Nation, April 8, 2002
"Meredith's concise and lucid [book] gives some answers [regarding Zimbabwe], in the shape of Mr. Mugabe's career and character." -- Wall Street Journal, March 13, 2002.