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When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa Paperback – April 10, 2008
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It is easy for armchair critics to point accusing fingers at colonialism, and to say that whites created many of their own problems, and bequeathed to Africa many of the problems it faces today, but it's not as simple as that. Whatever white Rhodesians did, they did not deserve to be treated the way Mugabe has treated them in the last decade. Black Zimbabweans are by far the biggest losers, though, have suffered on a far greater level, and must regret the manner in which their country - once the great hope of Africa - has been driven into the ground by the venal and short-sighted thuggery of Mugabe and his acolytes.
But it isn't just Africa or Zimbabwe - this is also a story about how bad leadership can lead to widespread social collapse, and bring out the very worst in human nature. Godwin's story about the way his family's maid Mavis was encouraged to turn against them is symbolic of how easy it is for even the best human souls to be turned by fear and intimidation. The case of Zimbabwe shows that the line between stability and anarchy, between security and insecurity, is often very fine.Read more ›
I picked up this book because a branch of my family settled in Southern Rhodesia sometime during the fifties; my cousin and her husband died there, as did my aunt who emigrated there from Virginia after her husband's death in the eighties. Communications from them were brief and free of political comment. I once asked why they did not write more and was told, "The mail is censored and it would be dangerous." I knew that they were moderates politically and were not in favor of the conservative Ian Smith government which determinedly maintained white minority rule from 1965 to 1980. I had no idea why this would be so dangerous, but now I know.
The book covers the years between July 1996, when Peter goes back to Zimbabwe because of his father's failing health, and February 2004, when his father dies. Only during this illness does Peter learn that his father was born Kazio Goldfarb, a Polish Jew who met and married his mother in England after serving in World War II, and who emigrated to Rhodesia in 1949 as George Godwin, "a new man...fleeing racial persecution and war, mayhem and genocide." We come to love Peter's parents George and Helen. They are honest, fair, thoughtful and loving people who show unbelievable courage and inventiveness in dealing with declining health in a society that is sinking into chaos.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great read about important events and times. A really enlightening tale which examined generally known happenings in a very detailed and shocking context. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jenny D.
Excellent insight to Zimbabwe environment during the difficult times 10 years ago. Well written with colorful descriptions of the personal lives of the Godwin family.Published 2 months ago by FWF
Beautifully written sad chronicle of the destruction of Zimbabwe due to the maniacal dictator, and sorrowful tales of the white farmers who had contributed so much to the country's... Read morePublished 2 months ago by prosestylelover
A true story. Written historically with a family history. But depressing as ever. If you want to read about the horrible tragedy of Zimbabwe read it.Published 3 months ago by andrea
I read this book on a trip to Zambia, looking into troubled Zimbabwe across Victoria Falls. Godwin shares the story of his family and their life in Rhodesia ( now Zimbabwe) and... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Keith C.
A very well written book, easy to read and informative. Being born and raised in Zimbabwe, I can relate to the trials and tribulations of the people that are still living in that... Read morePublished 3 months ago by unclevino
A stirring indictment of Robert Mugabe, the insane dictator. And a bittersweet love story for the ruined country of Zimbabwe and its people.Published 3 months ago by Kindle Customer
When the Crocodile Eats the Sun, by native-born Zimbabwean Peter Godwin who has lived on several continents and has an international perspective, is very good. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Peggy Vincent
This was a good story. I know some have criticized it as being an amalgam of articles previously published by the author, but I did not find that this detracted from the story,... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Barbara G.