Terry's Reviews > When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa

When a Crocodile Eats the Sun by Peter Godwin
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's review
Jul 16, 2011

it was amazing
Read in July, 2011

This is a powerful and sad book of the history of a family wrapped in the history of Zimbabwe. The memoir came out in 2006 and details how Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of Africa now has declining life expectancies, a terrible AIDS epidemic, has driven all white farmers off their land, and is now in the throes of famine. More than 1/2 the population of the country (dated from 1980) has fled Zimbabwe. All of this is due to the slide from democracy at the time of independence in 1980 to the terribly destructive dictatorial reign of Robert Mugabe. In contrast to Mugabe and his henchmen, the poor people of Zimbabwe, including Peter Godwin's parents, are the heroes. Godwin's writing is clear and crisp. He documents terrible abuses of power and yet is able to maintain a sense of hope and see through the chaos to reveal the beauty of this amazing country. Godwin's father is the main subject of the memoir -- he is an amazing man with an amazing past. I was very impressed at how Godwin was able to deftly weave his father's early life in Europe and experiences in WWII with the current situation in Zimbabwe. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in well written history and the forces currently shaping Africa.
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