The Fear: Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe Hardcover – Mar 23 2011
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"The Fear is an important book detailing the violent realities, the grotesque injustices, the hunger, the sadness, and a portrait of Mugabe, the tyrant who is the cause of it all. Godwin is passionate and personal, as well as bold in his travel and scrupulous in his documentation."―Paul Theroux, author of Ghost Train to the Eastern Star
"There is nothing on the subject of Robert Mugabe's terror state that comes even close to Peter Godwin's brilliant account. It took great courage to pursue this horror at close range, as Godwin did. This book will change utterly readers' perceptions of what is happening in this afflicted corner of Africa."―Norman Rush, author of Mating and Mortals
"The Fear is an urgent and essential book: a stunning account of a dictator's determination to destroy his people, and of his people's refusal to be destroyed. Written in the teeth of devastation and despair, without recourse to sentimentality or false hope, it is a heroic account of political heroism -- and it makes for relentlessly gripping reading."―Philip Gourevitch, author of We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families
"A feat of fearless reporting, this shattering story is not only an expose of the horrors of political violence, but a testament to the astonishing courage of ordinary citizens in the face of evil."―Melanie Thernstrom, author of The Pain Chronicles
"Peter Godwin's latest book is the most powerful indictment of Robert Mugabe's regime yet written, marking out the author as one of the sharpest observers of modern Africa."―The Economist
"Given Godwin's steady gaze back toward his home country over the past decade and a half, it is tempting to categorize The Fear as a sequel to his memoirs, but this work is too uncompromising and fierce for that.... the result is his most powerful work to date.... Godwin gives the rest of the world a reason to act. He argues that justice is not only possible in Zimbabwe, it is essential."―Alexandra Fuller, Harper's
"mesmerizing.... When a writer with such powers sets out to break your heart, you had best be prepared to have it broken. But The Fear is far more than a catalog of human rights violations and tragedy, in no small part due to the astonishing courage and determination of the Zimbabweans Godwin interviewed. Even those left cold by the usual run of "inspirational" literature will find these stories stirring."―Laura Miller, Salon
"The Fear is utterly fearless....incredibly vivid and haunting and, sadly, timely."―James Zug, The Boston Globe
"The Fear is a gut-wrenching portrait of Mugabe's enormous political sadism --and the brave, heartbreaking, nearly superhuman resistance to it.... In the hands of a less talented writer, The Fear could have become simply too painful to read. But while Godwin spares us nothing, he writes with such compassion, poetry and ironic humor that you cannot put his book down.... The Fear is a visceral masterpiece. It's illuminating, infuriating and informative. And its implications extend far beyond Zimbabwe --to the northern end of the continent and beyond, where similar struggles are being waged against other tyrannical dictators. The Fear is as important a book as we can read right now. It makes each and every one of us witness."―Susan Jane Gilman, NPR "All Things Considered"
About the Author
Peter Godwin is the award-winning author of When a Crocodile Eats the Sun and Mukiwa. Born and raised in Zimbabwe, he was educated at Cambridge and Oxford and became a foreign correspondent, reporting from more than 60 countries. Since moving to Manhattan, he has written for National Geographic, the New York Times Magazine, and Vanity Fair. He has taught at Princeton and Columbia, and in 2010 received a Guggenheim fellowship.
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Top Customer Reviews
As someone who has fond memories of time spent in that once lovely country, the thought that Mugabe
and his gang of thugs are still alive is too dreadful to contemplate.
In these days of regime change, he should have gone years ago; and he would have if South Africa
had not thrown it's support behind him.
This book is an essential, but deeply upsetting,The Fear: Robert Mugabe and the
Martyrdom of Zimbabwe read for anyone contemplating the future of Africa.
Read this book to understand what has happened to what was a rich, cultured and effective country. How it could all go so wrong will shock and anger -- despite the horrors described, there remains a strong message of hope in the people that is well covered by the writer.
All I could think of as I finished reading was 'good luck' to the people of Zimbabwe.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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)
This is Zimbabwe, the former Rhodesia, where Peter Godwin returns to the land of his birth after Mugabe's defeat to witness and chronicle the current state of the country at great risk to himself. Mugabe has a long memory, doesn't forgive , and an unwelcome Peter Godwin is on Mugabe's long list of enemies.
Godwin introduces us to the Fear, a way of life and mindset so horrible and unspeakable that it becomes palpable and takes on the identity of a surreal all pervasive entity that suffocates and strangles the country.
The author also introduces us to friends and enemies alike as through his eyes we witness the horrendous atrocities and entrenched injustices that are Zimbabwe today. Mercifully the 41 chapters are brief and brisk for one needs time to catch one's breath between chapters to comprehend the seemingly impossible inhumanity and brutality of Robert Mugabe's supporters and militia.
Amidst a land of breathtaking natural beauty and a former grandeur fallen into decay and disrepair are images difficult to read about, yet alone witness, experience, and suffer.
There are the hospitals filled with victims of Mugabe's thugs, places with limited resources, occasional utilities, and superhuman caregivers.
There's the bizarre scene of a self-appointed pretender bishop Kunonga battling the real Anglican bishop Bakare with his crosier.
There's the unreal scene of woman gang raped by boorish Mugabe soldiers next to the body of her dead husband and decapitated twin child as her surviving twin child cries and witnesses.
And then there are the prisons, cesspools of humanity with cells packed with starving, sick prisoners; the captive are victims of brutality and perpetual torment. Prisons are filled with the stench of filth, of human waste, and of decomposing dead bodies often heaped one upon the other in the next room, wretched fluids often leaking under the door and into the cells. Prisons are places where men are stripped of their clothing, their dignity, and their humanity.
Yet within this country in ruins we witness a human spirit that refuses to capitulate. Those who have lost homes, children, spouses continue defiantly to resist the Mugabe onslaught. The reader witnesses many acts of kindness and bravery by Zimbabweans with no hint of the racially driven practices of Robert Mugabe or the Ian Smith regime preceding him. Morgan Tsvangirai, the "winner" of the political contest with Mugabe, could easily walk away from the madness, but continues on despite the "accidental" death of his wife in a car wreck that he survived.
The Fear is a book of horrific events tempered by the impossible bravery, fortitude, and resilience of its remaining citizens, black and white together standing up to the malevolence that is The Fear.
Godwin's stories giving witness to a regime pursuing a war of terror against its own people are at the same time harrowing and inspiring. Inspiring because of the exemplary courage of the opponents of the Mugabe tyranny.
Godwin's book is a documentary and parts of it are in essence a list of crimes with names, dates and events, perhaps intended one day to become evidence against the perpetrators of the cruelty and violence in an international court, or one may hope. This interferes somewhat with the narrative, but Godwin's lucid style and evident love of the people of his native country overcome this.
With brutal dictatorships being overturned in the Middle East with the encouragement of the West, is it too much to hope that zimbabwe may follow? The courage, humour and resilience of the Zimbabweans deserve nothing less.
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