The full title of this book is The Fear: Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe. And it's awesome, but this review is coming from a political science geek. Peter Godwin, the author, previously wrote a fabulous memoir called When A Crocodile Eats the Sun. If you haven't read it, please read it. It's my favoritest of my favorite books. It's so moving and so well written that thinking about it makes me teary.
If you read When A Crocodile Eats the Sun and become interested in the ongoing story of Zimbabwe's political situation, then consider Godwin's book The Fear, but be warned that The Fear is absolutely nothing like When A Crocodile Meets the Sun. Where Crocodile is a complex story of family and loyalty, The Fear is journalistic and politicky to the point of making the novel boring if you aren't into politics. The Fear is also disturbing and filled with true stories of the horrible crimes that Robert Mugabe committed against Zimbabweans after him and his ZANU-PF party lost the presidential election in 2008. Mugabe lead Zimbabwe for years using fear tactics while he bled a once prospering country dry. When Mugabe lost the presidential election in 2008, his campaign of fear was taken to a whole new level and the stories of torture from that period are unthinkable.
The Fear is insightful as Peter Godwin does a great job of highlighting the political struggle in Zimbabwe and showing the resolve of a country to free itself from a terrible dictator. But, the book leaves you a little depressed because even though Mugabe lost the election, and his crimes are fairly well known, he still maintains some power in Zimbabwe. Sad, right.
My only complaint is that The Fear is not as beautiful as When A Crocodile Meets the Sun. But not much in life is as beautiful as that book.
4/5 or 8/10 stars.