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The Fear: Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe Hardcover – March 23, 2011
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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.)
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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
Top customer reviews
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. But the answer is really not that complicated, it is black and white as documented in this book. The insane trajectory that took my home from it's sunny post- independence to these dark and treacherous days, is one founded on a bedrock
of fear. A groove as deep and ugly as those left by the marauding clear cutters and miners who rob Zimbabwe of its abundant fauna and tear the pristine countryside apart at its seams. I don't despair for Zimbabwe yet. I still have hope. But The Fear has
reminded me to re-examine my good fortune and consider what it is I can do to make this world a better place. This is, I think,
what any good book should do. For some lighter reading on Zimbabwe, go to: The Summoner: (The Dominic Grey Novels) (Volume 1)
Though Canadian born, I live in the US and tend to be aq pacifist but after hearing - not seeing - the performance of the Navy Seals when they captured bin Laden, one has to wonder why that US is wasting zillions of dollars bombing the middle east when the final result will show all we gained was more ill will than we had going in.
A prudent use of the Seals to take out Mr. Mugabe and his closest mudering friends, would make so much more sense than Iraq, Afghanistan and Libyia put together. No, there is no oil in Zimbabwe but there are human beings who literally are being gored to death every day and if we collectively continue to ignore it, this will be on our plate as a reminder of just what we didn't do when we could have with relative ease.
Mr. Goodwin is beyond brave for taking very serious risks day after day as he moved around Zimbabwe to talk with and meet the opposition leaders as well as so many of the maimed. Often they were one and the same person. But Mr. Goodwin shows that rare sort of courage that makes us all feel so inadequate but he is kind enough to suggest ways we can help from afar.
Read this book because you will never forget it. It isn't the first example obviously of man's inhumanity toward man but it's a current story that can be addressed right now if we have the will to see King Mugabe tumble forever from this earth to what after reading this book, I hope will be a berth in hell next to Hitler's and Pol Pot's and Stalin and Mao and all the others.
Most recent customer reviews
1. This book is WAY too long. There are something like 350 pages of prose.Read more