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When a Crocodile Eats the Sun

Though Zimbabwe is quickly fading from the major media networks' coverage as its disastrous recent elections become old news, we could all afford to take some time to learn more about this place called Zim and its incredible recent history. How is it that this country, the so-called breadbasket of Africa only two and a half decades ago, is now reeling from six-figure inflation and crippling food shortages? What must life be like there now?

The answers to these questions aren’t likely to be found in history books, on Wikipedia, or even on your nightly news, given the level of media intimidation practiced under Robert Mugabe’s regime. Instead, turn to either (or better, both) of Peter’s Godwin’s memoirs, "When a Crocodile Eats the Sun" and "Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa." These two books span Godwin’s life in Zimbabwe, touching on his boyhood in then Rhodesia, mandatory military service in Matabeland, years of exile in Europe and the U.S., and, finally, his quiet return to assist his elderly parents and, ultimately, bury his father. If, after finishing these two compelling, beautifully written books, you’re still hungry for more, reach for "Rhodesians Never Die." That’s right; Mr. Godwin has also written a proper history of the country’s transition toward majority (read: Black) rule.

Godwin's most recent piece on Zimbabwe's elections can be found in this month's Vanity Fair or online at:


Compassionist's picture

That looks like a

That looks like a fascinating read...thank you for posting it. Biographies are some of the best and most truthful historical accounts. This is a fantastic community where I learn of books I've never heard of elsewhere. Loving it! :)

Blue Clay People by William Powers about Liberia. You can check out the synopses and reviews at Powells:

JMKELLAM's picture

Thank you

I appreciate the recommendation.

Jenna Kellam

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