Mar 28 2010

Mugabe: Teacher, Revolutionary, and Tyrant by Andrew Norman

This book reminds me that biographies are often the best source of history. I recently read a book on the history of Zimbabwe, but it wasn’t nearly as informative as this book. The arc of Mugabe’s life reads almost like a Greek tragedy. He had very promising beginnings indeed. A brilliant scholar, a dedicated teacher, a courageous political activist who remained unbowed and unbroken after years of incarceration–in the early phase of his career there was little indication of the cruel and bloodthirsty tyrant he would eventually become. But the greater tragedy is for the people of Zimbabwe who have suffered and continue to suffer at the hands of his despotic regime. Even the white colonial rulers were not as much of disaster for the people of this country as Mugabe has been. Is Africa truly better off for having gained its independence? As much as I have studied Africa, I am not sure that I can answer this affirmatively.

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