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Robert Gabriel Mugabe, a former teacher and guerilla leader, swept to power in Zimbabwe on a tide of euphoria in 1980 with the promise of peace, prosperity and racial harmony. He proceeded to preside over the economic ruination of the country, which he himself once described as the 'Jewel of Africa'. In his desperate attempts to create and perpetuate a one-party state, he thwarted the democratic process, used torture against his own people and deliberately obstructed aid organisations when they offered assistance to the persecuted and starving. Andrew Norman provides the necessary background to the tragedy, from Cecil Rhodes to UDI, and examines Mugabe's life prior to 1980 and his years in power. His words and deeds are scrutinised closely, and an entirely new theory as to the reasons for his behaviour is proposed (by a doctor of medicine). Some pictures have been secretly smuggled out of the country for the author to include in this volume.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781862274914
ISBN-10: 1862274916
Format: Paperback
(235mm x 165mm x 10mm)
Pages: 216
Imprint: Spellmount Publishers Ltd
Publisher: The History Press Ltd
Publish Date: 14-Jul-2008
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


US Kirkus Review » Condemnatory biography of the now 84-year-old Zimbabwean dictator who has made news - none good - since 1980 and regularly figures in the headlines today for rigging elections and disappearing opponents.Greeted as a liberator when his country, formerly Southern Rhodesia, declared independence in 1980, Robert Mugabe quickly embarked on a program of nationalization. Notable among his targets, writes biographer Norman (Arthur Conan Doyle, 2007, etc.), who lived in Southern Rhodesia in the late '50s, were the country's white farmers. "At the beginning of the 1980s, Zimbabwe's economy was booming," Norman writes. Those 6,000 farmers employed 300,000 black workers and produced vast exports, including two million tons of corn per year. Zimbabwe now imports corn and most of its other foodstuffs, and its people routinely suffer famine and malnutrition - even as Mugabe is building a museum honoring his achievements at whose center, Norman notes, will stand "a 16-foot-long stuffed Nile crocodile - a recent birthday present from his loyal ministers and officials." Plenty of dictators, tyrants and tinhorns have behaved poorly throughout world history; Norman suggests that Mugabe stands tall among them, if only because he apparently has no ideology apart from himself. The author charges that Mugabe became a Marxist, for instance, mostly out of convenience, since communism seemed to assure the success of a cult of personality and since communists seemed to rule indefinitely - or, as Mugabe put it, "What appealed to us most over our induction into communism was the firm instruction that: 'Once you had become the government, you remain in government for ever.' " Mugabe retains power through terror, writes Norman, and with the knowledge that the European Union and the United States will not interfere with his misrule "for fear of being branded imperialist."Well-written, though doesn't offer much more than any recent edition of, say, the CIA World Factbook - save that Norman's righteous indignation is joined by some truly horrific photographs that provide more evidence of the regime's brutality. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Dr. Andrew Norman

Dr Andrew Norman was born in Newbury, Berkshire, UK in 1943. Having been educated at Thornhill High School, Gwelo, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and St Edmund Hall, Oxford, he qualified in medicine at the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford.From 1972-83, Andrew worked as a general practitioner in Poole, Dorset, before a spinal injury cut short his medical career. He is now an established writer whose published works include biographies of Thomas Hardy, TE Lawrence, Sir Francis Drake, Adolf Hitler, Agatha Christie, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He is married to Rachel.All Andrew Norman's books are displayed on his website

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