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The Myth of Smith: Rhodesia Revealed by [Schorr, Douglas, Schorr, Milton]
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The Myth of Smith: Rhodesia Revealed Kindle Edition

3.1 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Though born in South Africa, I celebrated my first birthday in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) in 1950. Early on I knew the government Department of Internal Affairs was my home, our job to assist with the development of the country's tribesmen and women. 'Called-up' for national service at 20, I was a proud lad when I was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Rhodesian army. Hard work, resignations and war-deaths saw me fast-tracked to promotion in '76 to the very senior rank of District Commissioner. My conflicting experience in assisting and controlling Rhodesia's rural people as an Intaf member, and fighting them as a loyal patriot finally came together to teach me a life-changing lesson, one that shattered the façade of our Rhodesian society for me: To make war on one's own people in the name of personal privilege, I realised, is wrong. Believing that a non-political capitalist structure would replace apartheid and make all men equal under its free-market system, I moved to South Africa. There I earned an MBA from Stellenbosch University and embarked on a career in business. The country's boom of the 80's opened a new world of personal gain. I was young and prepared to sacrifice all to get ahead. The '87 crash, however, punched home a new life-lesson: The true consequence of a free market system, I discovered, is that only the best connected will survive. Today I am based in Malaysia. After a journey amongst both the world's most privileged and most destitute, I now write about the devastating effect of a global profit at all costs economy, particularly amongst the poverty stricken of Southern Africa. My goal is to add my voice to a simple message: The rich are getting richer while the rest head for servitude. It is a breach of human rights, and cannot continue. I want to help hasten the change by assisting in the education of those who have yet to see the true nature of the system they are a part of. My article and analysis work can be seen at www.douglasschorr.com, and I can be contacted at douglas.schorr@gmail.com.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1923 KB
  • Print Length: 382 pages
  • Publisher: Douglas Schorr (June 2, 2014)
  • Publication Date: June 2, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00KUQHRD2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #831,893 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
A polarizing read - most will either love it or hate it, depending on your political point of view. However, it does highlight some stereotypical thoughts and behaviors that will ring at least some bells with ex-Rhodesians and those knowledgeable about the time and place. Worthwhile for the questions it raises in that regard.

I found the first part of the book to be the most interesting part - the author's close involvement with the rural African population in his Internal Affairs job - a role not often covered in other accounts of the Rhodesian war, and not within the experience of most town dwelling white Rhodesians. However, for a much more detailed and more positive account of the rural African situation, both before and after independence, you could try "The Shattered Jewel" by Stan Fynes-Clinton, who had a long career as a District Commissioner in several parts of Rhodesia.

The second part of this book is interesting only in so far as it deals with the author's personal quest for reason and meaning. It is an angry attempt to deal with his obviously many demons, but unfortunately falls short by taking the easy way out - blaming someone else, in this case laying the blame for all the bad things that have happened to him personally and to southern Africa generally squarely at the door of Ian Smith. The author come to some sweeping conclusions and makes allegations which are no more than his personal opinions about events that he was not directly involved with.

As the author says, no doubt there were many things that could have been done much better before, during and after that time - hindsight is a wonderful thing. However, 15 years of the "Myth of Smith" has since been replaced by 34 years of the "Tyranny of Mugabe".
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I know Douglas Schorr personally and much of his experience is a shared experience, except we were in different establishments, but we shared common territory for a while in the South East of then Rhodesia - Zimbabwe/Rhodesia and now Zimbabwe. One aspect of the book that was frustrating for those who were there was the anonymity given to all the characters in the book. The odd first name pops up, but one gets a sense that perhaps these characters were mythical rather than real. His experiences were diverse, but one wonders if the nature of the job he did created a load of misconceptions about what was really going on in the war. The intelligence services most certainly did, and the seeming 'ridicule'of the Special Branch and its covert modus operandi, its comings and goings, apparently intrigued the author, who regarded them as political police. Nothing could be further from the truth. One thing is for certain... the government of the day fired up its propaganda machine to soften the horror of the war zones. The politics of the days was as filthy as that of modern day Zimbabwe... and it is perhaps true that Smith was surrounded by myths and was not quite the hero good old Rhodies make him out to be. That is subjective opinion... something commonly encountered in this book. In the latter part of the book, Doug steps into the speculative world of conspiracy and makes some suggestions which, as a reader who was there and in the know, I just know were not true or real. So The Myth of Smith s very much the myth of Doug Schorr... Doug could have done better... He makes a load of very valid observations of that terrible time in some of our lives.
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This could have been a really good book if it had stopped when Schorr left Internal Affairs. Unfortunately the second part is a downward spiral of self examination and conspiracy confusion. It reaches the point where he states that the Shona would never reach the level of mutilating and torturing their own except in isolated incidences. Many of us who were there can attest to the opposite and recent years in Zimbabwe have proven how wrong that is. Schorr should have also know that the majority of the perpetrators of the Elim Mission massacre where killed or captured shortly afterwards. In 1984 I met one of the surviving ring leaders in a Mocambique refugee camp. A greatly changed man he had a very different take on ZANLA's philosophy about missionaries.
Would I recommend this book? Yes I would as long as you read others such as Fynes -Clinton and remember this book is about one mans perception of the whole upheaval. Without a doubt it was a horrible time, without a doubt the war brought out the worst in all of us, (even the "good" wars had major atrocities by all sides) but to call this a definitive work is an over exaggeration.
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By don on August 13, 2014
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The worst five dollars I ever spent ,not worth the read.
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A potentially good story but very poorly written. Not only because syntax, grammar and punctuation take a back seat, but because the book is sadly over-loaded with misinformation, supposition and "facts" gleaned from the Internet. What is particularly annoying is where the author uses statistics he uncovered on the Internet which in fact pertained to Mugabe in 2002 and attributes these to Smith to indicate how poorly the latter ran the country. Sadly, some people who either weren't in Rhodesia in the 1970's or weren't involved in the war might read this and think it's all true (some of the reviews confirm this). Those of us who were there and were directly involved in the war will know the truth. We know for example, that much of what Schorr has to say is true and lot of it is not. What is difficult to determine is whether the author is intentionally trying to deceive the reader or whether this is just the product of some very sloppy research. One thing for sure though, blaming Ian Smith for his current psychological problems is utter nonsense - Schorr, just like the rest of us, had the opportunity to get out at any time and he chose not to. Readers wanting a better understanding of events during Smith's time might like to read Peter Godwin, Alexandra Fuller or Chris Cocks, all of whom are excellent writers, are decidedly not pro-Smith and who don't have to rely on second-hand tales from unreliable sources.
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