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The Fear: Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe by [Godwin, Peter]
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The Fear: Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In this remarkable look inside Mugabe's isolated yet restive Zimbabwe, journalist Godwin (When a Crocodile Eats the Sun) and his sister, Georgina, return to their childhood home "to dance on Robert Mugabe's political grave"; that is, to observe firsthand the teetering of Africa's (and the world's) oldest tyrant at the critical moment of the 2008 elections. Although the elections promised an end to Mugabe's nearly 30-year dictatorship, even as the 84-year-old president has clung to power in a campaign of widespread terror. The depiction of the heroic (if "prissy") liberation leader against white-minority rule turned brutal power-monger is at once personal, well-informed, and at times, heart-racing. Godwin and Georgina tour the economically devastated and state-terrorized cities, farms, and diamond mines at considerable personal risk, gathering candid interviews with dispossessed farmers, marginalized elites, and former insiders to cast a light on the workings of Mugabe's dictatorship and psychology, and the "fear factor" crucial to his control. Godwin's skills as a journalist and his personal connection to Zimbabwe combine to create an astonishing piece of reportage marked by spare, stirring description, heartrending action, and smart analysis. (Mar.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Returning to his native Zimbabwe in 2008, Godwin had hoped to �dance on Robert Mugabe�s political grave.� But though Mugabe had been voted out as president, he did not concede power, instead sponsoring a brutal campaign of violence to crush his political opponents and suppress dissent in a land already devastated by hyperinflation and Mugabe�s compulsory land-redistribution program. Chronicling the violence, the suffering, and the chaos; recounting the stories of torture survivors and victims of politically motivated vigilantism; and examining Mugabe�s biography and politics (and placing himself in significant danger in the process), Godwin only occasionally recognizes the Zimbabwe of his childhood. But, finding heroism and resistance in the face of horrific carnage, he discovers a side of the nation that he had not known before. Much more than just the author�s third memoir of Zimbabwe (after Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa, 1996, and When a Crocodile Eats the Sun, 2007), this selection is an important work of witness. --Brendan Driscoll

Product Details

  • File Size: 1610 KB
  • Print Length: 387 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 031605173X
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1st edition (March 23, 2011)
  • Publication Date: March 23, 2011
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0047Y0ET2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #343,163 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a fellow Zimbabwean living on foreign shores, having read Peter Godwin's The Fear I am at a loss for words. Partly because the subject matter is so bitterly painful, there is no coherent way to respond to the way the grip of power has squeezed out such a horrendous toll of human suffering, but also, no doubt, by the manner in which, despite harrowing detail, all of which he chronicles with a poignant deftness, the author still manages to transport me, with yearning, to this beautiful land. Despite the political savagery that has taken a similar toll on the wildlife, trees, rivers and mountains, Zimbabwe's haggard remnants are still proudly bursting forth. So much so that my childhood memories are keenly awakened and I feel a solid lump of sorrow for Zim's fateful journey. And I, who live in relative luxury many miles away, aware of the hard times being faced by family and friends, have imagined a subtler version of Godwin's account, probably to quieten my own fear of what has become of my home.
They call people like me, one of multitudes of Zimbabweans who live abroad, the diaspora. I knew we were of some assistance to those at home in a way by sending foreign currency and goods from time to time, but reading this book, I fear we have grossly underestimated the conditions faced by our compatriots and our absence and failure to participate is perhaps an indictment against us? I ask myself why haven't we, as a people, well educated, talented, inherently dignified, though of humble bearing, and here I speak not for myself, but the many Zimbabweans I have encountered in my life, why have we not prevented the outrage that is modern day Zim? This has troubled me over the years as I have gone about raising my children and the daily grind of my comfortable western life.
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Format: Hardcover
You'd be forgiven for mistaking the work of Peter Godwin for fiction. The world he describes in arrestingly beautiful prose, peopled with characters possessed of heroic bravery and breathtaking evil, would seem a plausible backdrop for a morality play on the corruption absolute power brings. But this story is all too real, and we ignore it at our own peril. The Fear is an exquisite, heart-rending, and unforgettable tribute to a people for whom the love of country and the struggle for liberty come at the ultimate price.
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Format: Hardcover
A gripping account of the plight of the citizens of Zimbabwe, whose steadfast commitment to determine their own future unleashes a murderous campaign of terror at the hands of their own president. To hear the first-hand accounts of Robert Mugabe's victims, whose courage and resolve remain unbroken against the bleakest of odds, is intensely humbling. Thoroughly researched and beautifully written, this book gives a much-needed voice to these brave people.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this book because I thoroughly enjoyed Godwin's previous works about his life in Zimbabwe. This book has a sadder and darker tone even compared to his past couple works. At the time he wrote this book, the Mugabe regime had largely done its terrible damage to Godwin's family so this book has a less introspective and autobiographical feel to it than in his previous works. He also spends a considerable amount of time and detail thoroughly documenting the horrors inflicted on the people of Zimbabwe by the Mugabe and his accomplices. Godwin is clearly using his book to not only spread the word about what is going on in the country, but as a method of documenting the crimes of Mugabe and his followers for potential action if and when Zimbabwe becomes free. This means the book can be very hard to read at times because it frequently goes into gruesome detail about the murder and torture inflicted on the opposition to Mugabe.

As with his other works, this book is beautifully written and Godwin's gift for writing shows consistently throughout. An amazing byproduct of this book along with his others is how they show the beauty of the both Zimbabwe and its people. Even though he's describing the horrible downward trajectory of the county's history as seen through the prism of his family's experience, he still manages to communicate how wonderful the people of Zimbabwe truly are in a manner that makes me wish to visit the country someday to experience it for myself.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a tough book to read because the description of the injuries and the violence that Mugabe's thugs imparted upon the MDC supporters is so vivid, but I couldn't put it down. It is a very sensitive portrayal of the brave victims and leaders of the opposition and their families, as well as a very sad one of the devastation of what was once a beautiful country. It left me not only in awe of those daring to stand up to the tyranny of Mugabe's henchmen but also in awe of Peter Godwin who has risked his life to "bear witness" so that the rest of us can start to comprehend the horrors that are happening in Zimbabwe.
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Format: Hardcover
Short Version:

"This a book by a brave man about people who are braver still. Peter Godwin brings us closer to the filth of the Mugabe tyranny than is bearable and portrays with subtlety, authority, and respect those who, against all odds and at the cost of unimaginable suffering, continue the resistance against it. Their courage is the stuff of myth, and in Godwin they have found their chronicler."
David Rieff

Long Version:

Some books are tough to read. Some we need to read. Peter Godwin's newest, The Fear, is one of those books. By far one of the most haunting books I have ever read, this work chronicles the fate of Zimbabwe's opposition after their victory, in a democratic election, to oust dictator Robert Mugabe after his thirty years of despotic rule. For their bravery in standing up and saying, "No more!", followers of the MDC party faced torture, terror, intimidation, and death.

Right about the time that I felt as if this would be a book that I could not finish Peter returned to his wife and two young sons in New York, and he was feeling much the same way. While playing dinos with his boy he envisioned a chart hanging on the end of a young torture victim's bed, upon which the nurses had put a fierce-some T-rex sticker-a symbol of the boy's spirit. The dichotomy of his sons' lives and those of the children in the land of his birth overwhelmed him.

In every act, every conversation, he flashed back to his homeland, and in doing so, he realized that he didn't write this book for himself-he wrote it for the thousands of victims of thirty years of Mugabe rule in his beloved Zimbabwe. This was a story he was called to tell, for the simple reason that he could.
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