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Mugabe: Power, Plunder, and the Struggle for Zimbabwe's Future [Paperback]

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Item Number 440938  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   259
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.25"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 24, 2007
Publisher   PublicAffairs
ISBN  158648558X  
EAN  9781586485580  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
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.

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More About Martin Meredith

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Martin Meredith is a journalist, biographer, and historian who has written extensively on Africa. His books include Mandela: A Biography; Mugabe; Diamonds, Gold and War; Born in Africa; and, most recently, Fortunes of Africa. He lives near Oxford, England.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Zimbabwe's tragedy  Nov 1, 2008
This book looks at the rule of Robert Mugabe, whose story is unfortunately like so many others in Africa. Having fought against colonialism he became Rhodesia's first, and ONLY, president.

This biography looks at his background, his political activities prior to the election which propelled him to power and his seemingly never-ending thirst for personal power, regardless of the cost to his long-suffering people. If you are interested in seeing how a country which once was the bread-basket of southern Africa became gripped in famine and despair, read this book.
An excellent account of politics and violence  Jul 2, 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 the reader's time).

I think the book could have used a bit more of an introduction into Zimbabwe's and Africa's history more generally for the uninitiated to allow us to compare Mugabe's rule to how politics was conducted in the past in the country and the wider continent. For example, some readers might not realize the importance tribal and ethnic divides play in many African countries. However, any ignorance in this regard could be fixed by reading Meredith's other books on Africa.

Usually in biographies authors try to psychoanalyze their subject. Fortunately, Meredith does not try to do this. He provides insights using quotes and sources, not psychobabble. This is not only good academic practice, but also creates an alarming effect in the book in which Mugabe himself often seems somewhat distant, except through his public statements. That indeed appears to be how he is in real life, alienated from his nation, isolated from the people, and removed from reality.

I hope he comes out with another revised version when Mugabe finally falls from power.

[note: this book is a revised version of "Our Votes, Our Guns". It says this clearly on the front cover and back, but just to warn future readers...]
Reissue of Votes/Guns  May 2, 2008
2 stars is not a judgment on the quality of this work. No, the low rating is due to the misleading title of the book. As an earlier reviewer suspected, this book simply is a "revised and updated" version of "Our Votes, Our Guns" -- which I already own! Needless to say, I would not have purchased this book had I known that. Yes there is a small footnote on the BACK OF THE BOOK, but you don't see that until the book arrives.

Furthermore, Meredith doesn't even provide and introduction telling one just what parts he has updated or revised. I'm sure this version contains valuable commentary on events since the earlier book, but there's no easy way to find the new material.

Overall I'm sure the book still is a valuable introduction to the insanity that is the Mugabe regime (that's why I gave it 2 stars rather than 1). If, however, you have read the earlier "Our Votes, Our Guns," save your money and wait for "Dinner with Mugabe" to be released.
EXCELLENT book on mugabe/zimbabwe  Apr 6, 2008
great book. i'm not really a book guy. i had to read an african book for a class so i chose mugabe.

this book easily held my attention. i read every word of it in a few hours. i knew nothing about modern zimbabwe. this book changed that.

if you want to read a book that in 3 hours will make you an expert on a very relevant and important current world issue.. pick up mugabe.
Biography of a Madman  Nov 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.

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