“Too few writers have Kilgore’s wide-angle vision. This promising first book, vividly rooted in his own experience, leaves me eager to read more by him.”
—Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa
“The book is fast-paced and funny, extolling two literary virtues often missing on the Left. It is a good read—the work of a great storyteller. But it is also an invaluable object lesson—the work of a committed activist.”
—Frank B. Wilderson III, author of Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid, winner of the 2008 American Book Award
“There are few novels about Americans in nations like Zimbabwe, and this one is unusually interesting. The main character comes to Zimbabwe enthusiastic about its new democracy. As he realizes that things are rapidly descending into thug rule, so do we—and it’s a lot more fun learning all this from a novel than from a political science treatise!”
—James Loewen, author of Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your High School History Textbook Got Wrong
"Countries and crises, like individuals, can be cast as crude outlines from a distance, in the wide shot; getting up close is the way to reveal nuance and complexity. Kilgore’s novel zooms in on post-Independence 1980s Zimbabwe in just this enlightening fashion, through the eyes and experiences of an American history student, Ben Dabney, who flies in with a study grant and a believer’s heart to witness a settler colony transformed into an independent nation. Kilgore’s evocation of that exhilarating era of hope and change is superb, as those of us who lived through it can confirm. But what the novel does—beyond bringing place and time alive—is to onion-peel some layers of history, opening old and new assumptions to the air with stinging effect."
—Annie Holmes, coauthor of Hope Deferred: Narratives of Zimbabwean Lives
"Written while Kilgore was in prison, this haunting debut limns an idealistic graduate student’s experience in Zimbabwe just after Robert Mugabe’s rise to power. . . . Kilgore has crafted an absorbing read that truly immerses readers in early 1980s Zimbabwe.” —Booklist
About the Author
James Kilgore is a research scholar at the Center for African Studies, University of Illinois. He grew up in California, graduating from UC Santa Barbara in 1969. Deeply immersed in the political movements of the time, Kilgore became involved with the Symbionese Liberation Army, eventually fleeing a 1975 federal explosives charge. He remained on the run for twenty-seven years. During this time underground, he lived in Zimbabwe, Australia, and South Africa, working as an educator and researcher under the pseudonym John Pape. U.S. authorities caught up with him in Cape Town in 2002. After extradition to the United States, he served six and a half years in prison. While incarcerated, Kilgore wrote We Are All Zimbabweans Now, his first novel and his first publication under his own name.