The Fear
by Peter Godwin









The Fear
by Peter Godwin

Alternative Titles
Fear: Robert Mugabe and the martyrdom of Zimbabwe

Summary
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.

Biographee
NameMugabe, Robert Gabriel
GenderMale
Dates1924-
OccupationDictator
AttributesPresident of Zimbabwe since 1987;


Genre
NonFiction
    --
Historical
    --
Political
    --
Biography

Topics
South African history
South African presidents
Dictators
Politics
Social conditions
Human rights
Human suffering
Sociology

Setting
Zimbabwe -- Africa

Time Period
-- 20th-21st century





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.





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.





In 2008, native white Zimbabwean Godwin (former foreign correspondent, Sunday Times, London; When a Crocodile Eats the Sun) returned to his home country, where the world's oldest dictator was struggling to retain his political power. Godwin intended to "dance on Robert Mugabe's political grave" after voters overwhelmingly rejected him. Instead, Godwin found his country engulfed in political violence orchestrated by Mugabe in an effort to punish opposition leaders and the ordinary Zimbabweans who had voted for them. The stories Godwin hears-from opposition leaders, displaced white farmers, and black Zimbabweans who are watching democracy fail them-are each more horrific than the next. The most harrowing chapters relate the torture and murder of individuals. Readers learn that in Mugabe's Zimbabwe, voting is a crime that can cost you your home, your family, and your life. The bravery of torture victims telling their stories is remarkable. VERDICT The risks that Zimbabweans take for democracy, for their friends and families, and for their country are extraordinary. While much of the book is bleak and frankly grim, there are instances of personal courage and bravery that speak to the strength of the human spirit. A difficult but essential read; recommended.-Julie Biando Edwards, Univ. of Montana Lib., Missoula (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.





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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.





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.--Driscoll, Brendan Copyright 2010 Booklist






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