Mugabe: Power, Plunder, and the Struggle for Zimbabwe's Future
Robert Mugabe came to power in Zimbabwe in 1980 after a long civil war in Rhodesia. The white minority government had become an international outcast in refusing to give in to the inevitability of black majority rule. Finally the defiant white prime minister Ian Smith was forced to step down and Mugabe was elected president. Initially he promised reconciliation between white and blacks, encouraged Zimbabwe's economic and social development, and was admired throughout the world as one of the leaders of the emerging nations and as a model for a transition from colonial leadership. But as Martin Meredith shows in this history of Mugabe's rule, Mugabe from the beginning was sacrificing his purported ideals—and Zimbabwe's potential—to the goal of extending and cementing his autocratic leadership. Over time, Mugabe has become ever more dictatorial, and seemingly less and less interested in the welfare of his people, treating Zimbabwe's wealth and resources as spoils of war for his inner circle. In recent years he has unleashed a reign of terror and corruption in his country. Like the Congo, Angola, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Liberia, Zimbabwe has been on a steady slide to disaster. Now for the first time the whole story is told in detail by an expert. It is a riveting and tragic political story, a morality tale, and an essential text for understanding today's Africa.
A spellbinding look at Zimbabwe's current crises
By Chris Kreft - August 28, 2003
As a Zimbabwean who had to leave the country due to it's current troubles, it was very difficult for me to pick up this book and look for answers to some of the many questions I had about what went wrong in my homeland. However, I came away fascinated by Martin Meredith's careful piecing together of the last three or four decades of Zimbabwe's history. He has assembled a brilliant account of the rise and rule of Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party, and has, for the most part, accurately detailed the major events that have occurred since Mugabe came to power in 1980. The book is not only an account for Zimbabweans, but is written so that any person who is not informed of Zimbabwe's present crises will receive an in-depth look of all that has gone wrong in what was once "the breadbasket of Subsaharan Africa."On an aside, this book bears a strong resemblance to another Amazon listing: "Our Votes, Our Guns: Robert Mugabe and the Tragedy of Zimbabwe" by Martin Meredith. Although I have not... read more
Biography of a Madman
By E "T" - November 12, 2007
I served briefly in Mugabe's Zimbabwe as a transiting diplomat in 1998 after the bombings of our East African embassies. I was astounded how someone could spit in the face of the economic forces that provided him with the lavish lifestyle he so enjoyed. This book does an excellent job of portraying the nascence and subsequent decay of one of the world's most corrupted minds. The breadbasket of Africa was turned into desert by this man. Everyone should read this book.
An excellent account of politics and violence
By Enjolras - July 1, 2008
For anyone interested in beginning to understand the dynamics of Zimbabwe's recent electoral crisis, this book is essential. Meredith goes into Mugabe's long history of violence,who like Mao sees violence as essential for politics. From the war waged against opposing guerilla forces because of political differences, the slaughter of 10,000 in Matabeleland, the seizure of white farms, threatening judges who ruled against the ZANU-PF government, and electoral violence, what we are seeing is nothing new, as Meredith reminds us. He also hints at the ethnic and racial tensions driving the politics and violence, something too often forgotten in today's media coverage. For example, Mugabe's ZANU-PF has its roots in the rural Shona ethnic group, while the Movement for Democratic change is much more urban and has many white supporters.
The book is also relatively short (about 244 pages) and easy to read. Meredith provides a huge amount of detail without wasting too many words (or... read more
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