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The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  1,472 ratings  ·  163 reviews
Thrilling, heartbreaking, and, at times, absurdly funny, The Last Resort is a remarkable true story about one family in a country under siege and a testament to the love, perseverance, and resilience of the human spirit.

Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Douglas Rogers is the son of white farmers living through that country’s long and tense transition from postcolonial rule. He
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 22nd 2009 by Crown (first published January 1st 2009)
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I’m of the opinion that most Americans, even those that consider themselves somewhat knowledgeable about current events and well-read, know very little about modern sub-Saharan Africa. Most of us are aware of the continent’s subjugation to colonial rule and that revolutionary changes have taken place there in recent decades but the sub-division of territories and mélange of unpronounceable names and ever changing leaders seldom moves us below the headlines. The fact that many whites may have los ...more
Back in 1998, I hired a guy to build a road onto a 40-acre plot I owned in Eastern Washington. He was a fascinating fellow. He and his wife were saving to buy more land in Zimbabwe, a place they loved. I was shocked. Having spent some rather gnarly years in Jamaica during white flight, and benefiting from what something similar did to real estate prices in the Virgin Islands, I was rather dubious. But he assured me that Zimbabwe was very friendly towards white land owners. He and his wife were c ...more
Jan 26, 2010 Angela rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: post-soviet absurdist novel fans, anyone who thought Hotel Rwanda would've worked better as a comedy
Recommended to Angela by: nytimes review
The Last Resort is a whirlwind tour through eight years of Zimbabwe's descent from forced evictions of white farmers into the election chaos of 2008. The author visits his parents each year as they adapt to a changing country and struggle to hold onto their small backpacker hotel, Drifter's Inn, in the countryside. Their white farmer neighbors have been kicked out of their homes (some eventually taking refuge at the Inn's cabins), tourism has dried up, and Drifter's is inadvertently reimagined a ...more
Quite a few books have been written in recent years by exiled children of white Zimbabweans. Many if not all, whether they claim to be autobiographical or not are heavily influence by the feelings of the writer about his lost home country and what is happening there. Some find it impossible to jump over the shadow of bitterness to even attempt a balanced view. That is definitely not the case here. I'm not going to repeat the blurb or the descriptions of many others what this book is about. It's ...more
Dramatic and real accounting of the decline of Zimbabwe and the tenacity of the Rogers, white farmers who struggle to hold on to their home. The story is told through their son, Douglas Rogers, who grew up in Zimbabwe. If you have read and enjoyed Peter Godwin's story of growing up in Zimbabwe in the book "Mukiwa" and then the bittersweet story of seeing the country his grew up in and love fall about in the book "When the Crocodile Ate the Son", also by Peter Godwin, you will also enjoy "The Las ...more
I came across this book while reading the New Yorker's Book Bench blog and after reading the interview with the author I couldn't resist, though I can't say I had much interest or knowledge about Zimbabwe.

This book blew me away. I learned so much about the history and culture of Zimbabwe, while being kept on the edge of my seat. To make a long story short, the dictator of Zimbabwe, in an attempt to hide his own incompetence on his country's economic problems decides that the white minority in Zi
This is an excellent book about extraordinary people living through unbelievable times in Zimbabwe. Over the last few years I have read a number of novels set in that country in the post independence period which have been deeply moving in their depiction of the evolution of that country and the effect on the lives of its people; but none of them delivered their story with the power of this one.
It is well written in a journalistic style as opposed to a literary one, which is not meant to demean
From BBC radio 4 - Book of the Week:
The Last Resort by Douglas Rogers read by Jack Klaff. Abridged and produced by Jane Marshall Productions. The author tells the story of his parents fight to stay on their backpacker lodge in Zimbabwe despite the political upheaval of the last decade. When he hears the news of the death of the first white farmer, Rogers is concerned for his parents safety but when he returns home to visit them, nothing has prepared him for what he finds.
Douglas Rogers's memoir is brilliant, moving, and hilarious--the story of his parents' struggle to hold onto their game lodge and farm in eastern Zimbabwe as the country spirals out of control following President Mugabe's disastrous farm seizure policy that has uprooted both black and white farmers since 2000. Rogers's parents turn their backpacker lodge into a haven for homeless farmers, most of whom are older white women, including a liberal aristocratic woman who held the best parties in the ...more
Douglas Rogers begins his tale, “The Last Resort,” with one of the first white farm land invasion in Zimbabwe in April 2000, and begins to take readers through the ups and (mostly) downs of the country, including the fight for his parents’ land and survival. Throughout the book, readers learn of the repressive actions taken by the government and the innovative ways in which Zimbabweans deal with them. The Rogers’s resort, Drifters, develops into an informal brothel, Mr. Rogers begins to plant ma ...more
This memoir started slowly for me. I got distracted by the lengthy passages of dialogue framed in quotes. I kept thinking, "Is that REALLY what that person said?"

But several friends really liked this book, so I stuck with it and -- sure enough -- the absurdity and brutality that makes for 21st century Zimbabwe swept me up. I finished the book today in a big gulp and am now dying to know what happens to Douglas Rogers' parents. (Random House, please include an update!) It's a fleshed-out read ab
Very good book. Recommended to anyone interested in Zimbabwe's current affairs and the real life of its habitants, seen through the point of view of a Zimbabwean expat that loves his country, but it is not blinded by a nostalgic memory of the old times.
I wasn't so sure when I started reading this ... but I really enjoyed it and found it a fascinating read. I'd recommend it.
Douglas Rogers, born and raised in Zimbabwe, tells the modern nonfiction story os his parents and their struggle with the Mugabe regime. After gaining independence, Mugabe had declared the white farmers to be friends of the government, but that changed. White farmers and landowners, even if their families had been in Africa for hundreds of years, were brutally forced from their homes, some sacrificing their lives. Mugabe didn't send his war veterans only after whites but also after black Zimbabw ...more
Cori McGraw
If you enjoyed Alexandra Fuller's memoirs of growing up in Africa, so too will you enjoy The Last Resort, which is in the same vein.

I adored this portrait of life in a country where instability has been the norm and adaptation has been the key to survival. It was witty, frightening, and heartening.

Incredibly well-written. This book is one of my favorite reads, and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in seeing what life is like in Zimbabwe.
Roberta Kruse
Took me back to Africa - great read!
Riveting. Only wish I had read it before my visit to Zimbabwe, so that I could have discussed some of the content with the friends I met there. It has only fueled my interest to learn more.
The Last Resort is a 10 year memoir by the author about his parents living in Zimbabwe during the terrifying and vicious regime of President Robert Mugabe. His parents, in their retirement, bought land, built and created a backpack lodge for travelers. The lodge was successful until the country spiraled into chaos after election of Mugabe – redistributing farms from white owners to black citizens - many times violently, but most sadly because the new farmers were unable and unprepared to produce ...more
Thought that this was well written and thought provoking. My only quibble with it would be that I'm not sure about which side of the moral divide I am on with this. I was torn between feeling sorry for the people in the book, and a feeling of well, they got what they deserved. I think that the author's parents were in a pretty desperate situation and I also think that the author gives some illuminating facts about Mugabe's claims, for example the fact that white landowners owned 14% of the land ...more
I think I would have enjoyed this book more if I hadn't so recently read When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa. Both books are very similar; written by a white man who grew up in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe and now lives in New York City while his aging parents remain in their home country as things continue to go from bad to worse under President Robert Mugabe. This is the eighth of 19 consecutive Africa-related books that I'm reading this year, and I think I haven't picked as diverse a set o ...more
I don't know how to rate this book. I've read better books about Zimbabwe, notably When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa and African Laughter: Four Visits to Zimbabwe. It's interesting and I learned a lot about the country, particularly the effect Mugabe has had, not only on the white farmers, but on his own people. The section on money laundering and why the government goons would want the devalue their own currency was mind blowing.

It was the author. I just don't like him. He comes
Bree T
Douglas Rogers was born in Zimbabwe back when it wasn’t even Zimbabwe. His family owned a chicken farm, a grape farm and then sold up and bought a piece of land and established a backpackers and tourist lodge. Douglas left Zimbabwe to go to University in South Africa and then traveled to England and then America to live. He made periodic visits home to see his parents but his pilgrimages really stepped up when the country began to go downhill under the iron grip of Robert Mugabe. In the late 199 ...more
Leo Passaportis
A great read. I was 'privileged' enough to have lived through most of the period encompassed by Roger's memoir in Zimbabwe, albeit mainly in Harare. Most of the narrative takes place in vicinity of Mutare which is quite some way off but the politics was national and the problems of hyperinflation and the attendant ills were unavoidable wherever one lived.

One thing that will be evident to anyone who has read this book is that many people, white and black, were disenfranchised by the policies of t
Feb 08, 2013 HeatherIlene rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: travelers, people interested in Africa, global issues
I had never heard of The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe before, I had never been to Africa, and I know very little about farming. But when a neighbor lent me this book, I read it. Not right away, but I read it.

The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe is hard to put down. It’s exactly as the title suggests: a story of a family, their farm in Africa, and the crazy journey they embark on to keep it. The story is written by the son of the couple that runs the farm, Douglas Rogers, who happens to als
I have been fascinated by sub-Saharan Africa, and how it feels to live there, especially as a white native African. This author pointed out that he and his parents were born in Zimbabwe, and his ancestors have lived in that region for 350 years. The author does make mention of the Zimbabwean war of independence from colonial rule, and the reasonable compromises that were reached. He discusses the farming economy, and how the white farmers have been teaching commercial farming techniques to the l ...more
I really like to read memoirs of people who grew up in Zimbabwe and who compare current and former times. It seems like a lot of white Africans who grew up in the Mutare area became writers and wrote their memoirs (Peter Godwin, Alexandra Fuller, etc). I wish that more memoirs would be written by black Africans so I could compare the two.

Anyway, I enjoyed this one. It is a bit different than the others because it is more about the changing face of a backpacker's lodge in Zimbabwe (run by the au
Douglas Rogers grew up in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, son of a English-Boer father whose ancestors had lived in Africa for 350 years. His parents were farmers, but ended up building a resort for backpackers near the border with Mozambique. Rogers moved to England and later to the United States but began visiting after the war of independence and at the beginning of the civil war. He lets us see the degradation of an entire country that loses all its infrastructure, kills or abandons its own people both b ...more
If you want to better your understanding of what has just happened in the July 2013 Presidential elections in Zimbabwe you should read this book. It's a journal by a white Zimbabwean, now living in America, whose family was, and is still, affected by ZANU-PF's policy of land re-distribution. It plots the events of his visits over several years as he witnesses the increasing hardline taken by Mugabe's ZANU-PF government over land reform, the increasingly violent methods they've been willing to ta ...more
Having known next to nothing about Zimbabwe, this book was quite an educational journey for me. Douglas Rogers, a native of Zimbabwe tells the true, and many times unbelievable tale of his parents' struggle to hang onto their land and resort/bar amidst the current day, turmoltuous socio-political struggle in the country.
Mr. Rogers' writing is wonderful--he really takes the reader on an interesting, exciting journey relaying stories of native, white landowners (many who had land at times violent
What to say...well, way too long for one thing. Not as well written and emotionally pulling as Alexandra Fuller's memoirs of growing up in then-Rhodesia. Mostly because the writer has moved back to the US and he writes this about visiting his parents who somehow are holding on to their backpacker resort--which turns into a prostitute den, a diamond dealer hangout and various other iterations just to survive. I think Zimbabwe has lost its shock value for me after so many books (now, if I were to ...more
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