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The Fear

Today, 31 July, citizens of the African nation of Zimbabwe return to the polls for their presidential election. It remains to be seen whether Robert Mugabe, who has ruled the country since 1980, will hand over power if he loses at the polls. The controversial 2008 election was marred by horrific political violence in which many followers of the opposition candidates were beaten, tortured, and killed. For more than a decade, Zimbabwe has suffered from crippling hyperinflation of its currency, widespread food shortages, and social unrest.

The 2008 election and its aftermath are documented in harrowing detail by Zimbabwe native Peter Godwin in The Fear: Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe (2011), which is something of a sequel to his When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa (2007), about his return trips to the country to care for his elderly parents in the decade before the 2008 election. Godwin's writing is eloquent and moving, and both books are highly recommended. The Richland Library also has several other books and DVDs on this troubled land that are listed below.


Amazon Says: Journalist Peter Godwin has covered wars. As a soldier, he's fought them. But nothing prepared him for the surreal mix of desperation and hope he encountered when he returned more...
Amazon Says: Journalist Peter Godwin has covered wars. As a soldier, he's fought them. But nothing prepared him for the surreal mix of desperation and hope he encountered when he returned to Zimbabwe, his broken homeland. Godwin arrived as Robert Mugabe, the country's dictator for 30 years, has finally lost an election. Mugabe's tenure has left Zimbabwe with the world's highest rate of inflation and the shortest life span. Instead of conceding power, Mugabe launched a brutal campaign of terror against his own citizens. With foreign correspondents banned, and he himself there illegally, Godwin was one of the few observers to bear witness to this period the locals call The Fear. He saw torture bases and the burning villages but was most awed as an observer of not only simple acts of kindness but also churchmen and diplomats putting their own lives on the line to try to stop the carnage. THE FEAR is a book about the astonishing courage and resilience of a people, armed with nothing but a desire to be free, who challenged a violent dictatorship. It is also the deeply personal and ultimately uplifting story of a man trying to make sense of the country he can't recognize as home. less...
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Amazon Says: After his father's heart attack in 1984, Peter Godwin began a series of pilgrimages back to Zimbabwe, the land of his birth, from Manhattan, where he now lives. On these frequ more...
Amazon Says: After his father's heart attack in 1984, Peter Godwin began a series of pilgrimages back to Zimbabwe, the land of his birth, from Manhattan, where he now lives. On these frequent visits to check on his elderly parents, he bore witness to Zimbabwe's dramatic spiral downwards into thejaws of violent chaos, presided over by an increasingly enraged dictator. And yet long after their comfortable lifestyle had been shattered and millions were fleeing, his parents refuse to leave, steadfast in their allegiance to the failed state that has been their adopted home for 50 years.Then Godwin discovered a shocking family secret that helped explain their loyalty. Africa was his father's sanctuary from another identity, another world.WHEN A CROCODILE EATS THE SUN is a stirring memoir of the disintegration of a family set against the collapse of a country. But it is also a vivid portrait of the profound strength of the human spirit and the enduring power of love. less...
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Amazon Says: Selected by The New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of the Year Alexandra Fuller returns to Africa and the story of her unforgettable family. In Cocktail Ho more...
Amazon Says: Selected by The New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of the Year Alexandra Fuller returns to Africa and the story of her unforgettable family. In Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness Alexandra Fuller returns to Africa and to her unforgettable family. At the heart of this family, and central to the lifeblood of her latest story, is Fuller’s iconically courageous mother, Nicola (or, Nicola Fuller of Central Africa, as she sometimes prefers to be known). Born on the Scottish Isle of Skye to a warlike clan of highlanders and raised in Kenya's perfect equatorial light, Nicola holds dear the values most likely to get you hurt or killed in Africa: loyalty to blood, passion for land, and a holy belief in the restorative power of all animals. With a lifetime of admiration behind her and after years of interviews and research, Fuller has recaptured her mother's inimitable voice with remarkable precision. Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness is as funny, exotic, terrifying and unselfconscious as Nicola herself.We see Nicola as an irrepressible child in western Kenya, then with the man who fell in love with her, Tim Fuller.  The young couple begin their life in a lavender colored honeymoon period, when east Africa lies before them with all the promise of its liquid honeyed light, even as the British empire in which they both once believed wanes. But in short order, an accumulation of mishaps and tragedies bump up against history until the Fullers find themselves in a world they hardly recognize. We follow Tim and Nicola as they hopscotch the continent, restlessly trying to establish a home, from Kenya to Rhodesia to Zambia, even returning to England briefly. War, hardship and tragedy seem to follow the family even as Nicola fights to hold onto her children, her land, her sanity.  But just when it seems that Nicola has been broken by the continent she loves, it is the African earth  - and Tim's acceptance of her love for this earth - that revives and nurtures her.A story of survival and war, love and madness, loyalty and forgiveness, Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness is an intimate exploration of the author’s family and of the price of being possessed by this uncompromising, fertile, death-dealing land. In the end we find Nicola and Tim at a table under their Tree of Forgetfulness in the Zambezi Valley on the banana and fish farm where they plan to spend their final days. In local custom, the Tree of Forgetfulness is where villagers meet to resolve disputes and it is here that the family at last find an African kind of peace. Following the ghosts and dreams of memory, Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness is Alexandra Fuller at her very best. less...
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Amazon Says: Thrilling, heartbreaking, and, at times, absurdly funny, The Last Resort is a remarkable true story about one family in a country under siege and a testament to the love, pers more...
Amazon Says: Thrilling, heartbreaking, and, at times, absurdly funny, The Last Resort is a remarkable true story about one family in a country under siege and a testament to the love, perseverance, and resilience of the human spirit. Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Douglas Rogers is the son of white farmers living through that country’s long and tense transition from postcolonial rule. He escaped the dull future mapped out for him by his parents for one of adventure and excitement in Europe and the United States. But when Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe launched his violent program to reclaim white-owned land and Rogers’s parents were caught in the cross fire, everything changed. Lyn and Ros, the owners of Drifters–a famous game farm and backpacker lodge in the eastern mountains that was one of the most popular budget resorts in the country–found their home and resort under siege, their friends and neighbors expelled, and their lives in danger. But instead of leaving, as their son pleads with them to do, they haul out a shotgun and decide to stay. On returning to the country of his birth, Rogers finds his once orderly and progressive home transformed into something resembling a Marx Brothers romp crossed with Heart of Darkness: pot has supplanted maize in the fields; hookers have replaced college kids as guests; and soldiers, spies, and teenage diamond dealers guzzle beer at the bar. And yet, in spite of it all, Rogers’s parents–with the help of friends, farmworkers, lodge guests, and residents–among them black political dissidents and white refugee farmers–continue to hold on. But can they survive to the end? In the midst of a nation stuck between its stubborn past and an impatient future, Rogers soon begins to see his parents in a new light: unbowed, with passions and purpose renewed, even heroic. And, in the process, he learns that the "big story" he had relentlessly pursued his entire adult life as a roving journalist and travel writer was actually happening in his own backyard. Evoking elements of The Tender Bar and Absurdistan, The Last Resort is an inspiring, coming-of-age tale about home, love, hope, responsibility, and redemption. An edgy, roller-coaster adventure, it is also a deeply moving story about how to survive a corrupt Third World dictatorship with a little innovation, humor, bribery, and brothel management. less...
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Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe by James R. Arnold
Amazon Says: Robert Mugabe, one of the world's most infamous dictators, rose to power in Rhodesia, the southern African region now known as independent Zimbabwe. As a leader in Rhodesia's more...
Amazon Says: Robert Mugabe, one of the world's most infamous dictators, rose to power in Rhodesia, the southern African region now known as independent Zimbabwe. As a leader in Rhodesia's nationalist resistance movement of the 1970s, Mugabe mobilized his compatriots in their struggle for control of the white-ruled African nation, which had declared independence from Great Britain in 1965. The bloody civil war finally ended with Zimbabwe's independence in 1980. As the president of the newly free nation, Mugabe was a beacon for black African self-rule, raising hopes on the continent and around the world. However, through a series of ill-conceived economic programs and a disastrously mismanaged land-redistribution scheme, Mugabe and his corrupt government brought ruin to his homeland. Creating a harsh climate of fear, brutality, and zero tolerance for opposition, Mugabe's rule drained a once prosperous nation of its economic and human resources. In Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, learn more about the internal workings of one of the modern world's most devastating dictatorships. less...
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Amazon Says: A former guerrilla leader who headed the resistance movement against white minority rule, Robert Mugabe was swept to power in Zimbabwe in 1980 on a tide of national euphoria w more...
Amazon Says: A former guerrilla leader who headed the resistance movement against white minority rule, Robert Mugabe was swept to power in Zimbabwe in 1980 on a tide of national euphoria with promises of peace, prosperity, and racial harmony. He then proceeded to preside over the economic and political ruination of the country that he himself had once described as the “Jewel of Africa.” In his desperate attempt to create and perpetuate a one-party state over the past quarter century, he has thwarted the democratic process, used torture against his own people, and deliberately obstructed aid organizations when they offered assistance to the persecuted and starving. This expansive study examines the private life and political reign of this ruthless dictator and unveils new details about Mugabe’s life prior to 1980. Illustrated with a number of photos secretly smuggled out of the country, this unique look at Mugabe explains the ethos and the methods behind Africa’s unshakeable iron fist. less...
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Amazon Says: Blue mountains, golden fields, gin and tonics on the terrace--once it had seemed the most idyllic place on earth. But by August 2002, Marondera, in eastern Zimbabwe, had been more...
Amazon Says: Blue mountains, golden fields, gin and tonics on the terrace--once it had seemed the most idyllic place on earth. But by August 2002, Marondera, in eastern Zimbabwe, had been turned into a bloody battleground, the center of a violent campaign. One bright morning, Nigel Hough, one of the few remaining white farmers, received the news he had been dreading. A crowd of war veterans was at his gates, demanding he hand over his homestead. The mob started a fire and dragged him to an outhouse. To his shock, the leader of the invaders was his family’s much-loved nanny Aqui. “Get out or we’ll kill you,” she said. “There is no place for whites in this country.”            Christina Lamb uncovered the astonishing saga she tells in House of Stone while traveling back and forth to report clandestinely on Zimbabwe. Her powerful narrative traces the history of the brutal civil war, independence, and the Mugabe years, all through the lives of two people on opposing sides. Although born within a few miles of each other, their experience growing up could not have been more different. While Nigel played cricket and piloted his own plane, Aqui grew up in a mud hut, sleeping on the floor with her brothers and sisters. “They had cars and went shopping in South Africa. We didn’t have food and had to walk an hour each way to fetch water,” she remembers.            House of Stone (“dzimba dza mabwe” or “Zimbabwe” in Shona) is based on a remarkable series of interviews with this white farmer and black nanny, set against the backdrop of the last British colony to become independent, and the descent into madness of Robert Mugabe, one of Africa’s most respected nationalist leaders. less...
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Amazon Says: Foreign correspondent Neely Tucker and his wife, Vita, arrived in Zimbabwe in 1997. After witnessing firsthand the devastating consequences of AIDS on the population, especial more...
Amazon Says: Foreign correspondent Neely Tucker and his wife, Vita, arrived in Zimbabwe in 1997. After witnessing firsthand the devastating consequences of AIDS on the population, especially the children, the couple started volunteering at an orphanage that was desperately underfunded and short-staffed. One afternoon, a critically ill infant was brought to the orphanage from a village outside the city. She’d been left to die in a field on the day she was born, abandoned in the tall brown grass that covers the highlands of Zimbabwe in the dry season. After a near-death hospital stay, and under strict doctor’s orders, the ailing child was entrusted to the care of Tucker and Vita. Within weeks Chipo, the girl-child whose name means gift, would come to mean everything to them. Still an active correspondent, Tucker crisscrossed the continent, filing stories about the uprisings in the Congo, the civil war in Sierra Leone, and the postgenocidal conflict in Rwanda. He witnessed heartbreaking scenes of devastation and violence, steeling him further to take a personal role in helping anywhere he could. At home in Harare, Vita was nursing Chipo back to health. Soon she and Tucker decided to alter their lives forever—they would adopt Chipo. That decision challenged an unspoken social norm—that foreigners should never adopt Zimbabwean children. Raised in rural Mississippi in the sixties and seventies, Tucker was familiar with the mores associated with and dictated by race. His wife, a savvy black woman whose father escaped the Jim Crow South for a new life in the industrial North, would not be deterred in her resolve to welcome Chipo into their loving family. As if their situation wasn’t tenuous enough, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was stirring up national fervor against foreigners, especially journalists, abroad and at home. At its peak, his antagonizing branded all foreign journalists personae non grata. For Tucker, the only full-time American correspondent in Zimbabwe, the declaration was a direct threat to his life and his wife’s safety, and an ultimatum to their decision to adopt the child who had already become their only daughter. Against a background of war, terrorism, disease, and unbearable uncertainty about the future, Chipo’s story emerges as an inspiring testament to the miracles that love—and dogged determination—can sometimes achieve. Gripping, heartbreaking, and triumphant, this family memoir will resonate throughout the ages. less...
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Amazon Says: This is a detailed analysis of Zimbabwe's struggle to become a viable independent state, with a focus on the tumultuous events under President Robert Mugabe. Written by an more...
Amazon Says: This is a detailed analysis of Zimbabwe's struggle to become a viable independent state, with a focus on the tumultuous events under President Robert Mugabe. Written by an internationally-trained African economic analyst, A Crisis of Governance is a detailed study of Zimbabwean socio-economic history and development since the nation achieved independence from Great Britain in April 1980, with a focus on recent events under President Robert Mugabe and the ZANU (Patriotic Front). Problems range from the need for constitutional reform to political patronage and a de facto one-party democracy and the need for transparency in land reform, privatization, and economic liberalization. It is one thing to break free of colonial tutelage; it is quite another to recover from the legacy of colonialism and implement the macroeconomic changes that would lay the basis for a self-sustaining economy. The crisis of governance in Zimbabwe (formerly known as Rhodesia) began with the occupation of Mashonaland by the British South Africa Company (BSAC) in 1890. Self-rule and the subsequent British-sponsored constitutions did not much improve the situation, and the 1965 Unilateral Declaration of Independence only aggravated it. Jacob Chikuhwa provides many specific examples of the steps forward and the steps back, documented by personal interviews, news sources and others, Bibliography, Index, Footnotes. less...
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