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House of Stone: The True Story of a Family Divided in War-Torn Zimbabwe
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House of Stone: The True Story of a Family Divided in War-Torn Zimbabwe

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  460 ratings  ·  48 reviews
Blue mountains, golden fields, gin and tonics on the terrace--once it had seemed the most idyllic place on earth. But by August 2002, Marondera, in eastern Zimbabwe, had been turned into a bloody battleground, the center of a violent campaign. One bright morning, Nigel Hough, one of the few remaining white farmers, received the news he had been dreading. A crowd of war vet ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 1st 2007 by Lawrence Hill Books (first published February 5th 2007)
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J.L.
May 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I liked the way Lamb alternates
chapters between the point of view of a black woman working as a maid and nanny on a white-owned farm and her boss, a white man who grew up in Zimbabwe and whose farm was taken over by some of the young thugs who have flourished under Mugabe’s rule in the last 15 years. Though I felt Lamb was too kind in her assessment of white rule during the 100+ years that Rhodesians clung to power, she managed to bring out the excesses of the liberation soldiers during the war
...more
Kimmo Sinivuori
Nov 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Even though Mugabe's reign of terror has pretty much fallen of the radar of us in the West, the tragedy for Zimbabwe and its people is still very much there. Christina Lamb is one of the best foreign correspondents of our time and this is a truly moving account of the tragic fall that Zimbabwe took from the cliff under the misrule of Mugabe and his henchmen (who became very rich of course). Essential reading for everyone interested in the post-colonial history of the African continent.
Lucy
May 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Since I am trying to learn all I can before returning to Zimbabwe, I chose this as one of my titles. I was surprised to learn that the severity of the racial discord in Zimbabwe continued until so recently, 2005. I was there in 2009 and quite ignorant as to the country's history. I knew about the killings of white farmers during the 80's fight for liberation but had not realized it was still going on. This book tells the stories of Aqui, a black African woman, and Nigel Hough and family, a white ...more
Philippa Smith
Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in 2009 whilst in South Africa having travelled down the east coast from Kenya - I didn't enter Zimbabwe because of the dire situation that is, shockingly, still present. My parents lived in then-called Rhodesia until 1978 but left when it was evident lives were about to change, and whilst I've heard many things about the country I was shocked to read these perspectives and just how awful things had become. This book shows there are two sides to every story, unfortunately both a ...more
Elizabeth
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-star
Informative:
Picked up because I am in a neighbouring country, although it had been on my to read list for a good while. I didn’t really know what had been happening in Zimbabwe recently and had been somewhat confused by the reporting, as Mugabe had seemed to move from a darling to a beast. Absolutely shocked to read what has been going on in recent years (my only excuse for not knowing is that I have been in Asia for most of this)
Sue
Feb 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Nigel Hough (Huff) and his family grew up as white farmers in Rhodesia. As an adult and following independence (now Zimbabwe), Nigel had an opportunity to purchase a farm and begin to raise his own family. Aqui (Ack-we) was living with the family and working for them. She had been politically active in the war for independence and initially was taken by Mugabe’s promises of returning property to the Blacks. When Nigel’s farm was ultimately seized, he was shocked to see Aqui among those rioting. ...more
Anne
Sep 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I am married to a Rhodesian so I wanted to see what this book had to say versus the stories I already knew. It was an eye opener and gave me much more background information on the situation that I ever had before.

For anyone who wants to know what really happened in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) then you need to read this book. I now totally understand how the farms were taken over, the reasons behind it and how it went from one of the richest places on the globe there dollar worth more than the pound
...more
Chloe Lockhart
Sep 13, 2015 rated it liked it
I was really looking forward to reading this book as it was a topic that I didn't know much about but was keen to understand.

I did find though that this book was difficult to follow and felt that there was probably a lot of the story I missed because I was losing track.

I also sometimes found that sometimes the story went too much into the details of the politics when what I was really looking for was a story of someone's life during this time.

I still recommend reading it because it is very inte
...more
Kahla
May 18, 2007 rated it liked it
This is an eye opening story about the troubles in Zimbabwe written by a British journalist that has made several trips there over the past 20 years. She tells the story through the parallel perspectives of a white "Rhodesian" and native Zimbabwean over the span of their lifetimes. I found the story very interesting, but be prepared for a bit of a history lessons as she rattles on about facts of all of the political struggles of the country.
Angela
Jan 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading this book but I found that I was feeling rather depressed after I finished. I spent much of my childhood in Zimbabwe and specifically in Mutare (then Umtali) so I knew all the places I read about.

Zimbabwe was a beautiful country and its people some of the most cheerful and friendly I ever met. It is extremely saddening to me to read what has become of it now.
Susan
It was difficult to follow at times, due to my own lack of background knowledge on the subject. Many of the terms are unfamiliar, so it is hard to keep track of the names of people, places, objects, ideas that are all similar sounding and unfamiliar. It is good information though hard to stomach some of the ways in which man is cruel to his own countrymen. Aqui, the housekeeper, has an intriguing story and one that makes her braver than most people I will ever know. She is an interesting charact ...more
Trudy Jaskela
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Incredible story of the downward slide of a beautiful prosperous Rhodesia into a barren poor Zimbabwe ruled by a man (Robert Mugabe) who initially was good and cared about his peoples then slid into madness and cruelty. The cruelty he ordered and condoned is something I could not even conceive.
Two principal characters in the book are Nigel, a white man born into privilege with attendance at private schools, his own airplane, extensive travel, and such and Aqui a black woman born into poverty wh
...more
Sarah
Aug 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Very dry until about the halfway point, probably because it’s a third party non-fiction book, and the author is careful not to add anything extra. The second half goes much more quickly, probably because it’s talking about more recent events and the protagonists remember it all with more emotion.
In any case, I learned a lot. It’s the first book of its kind that I’ve read with a non-white viewpoint.
Vicki Klemm
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
A book club read: thanks! Learned a lot about Zimbabwe and how the people that lived there thought. Shocking what Mugabe did to totally destroy his country. The greed of men and the corruption of power. What a shame. Sounded like a stunning place at one time, hopefully it can become again someday.
Tami
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Makes you think!
Wonderfully written.
Suzette Daniel
Oct 08, 2018 rated it liked it
This is autobiography of two different people from two opposing point of views. This book walks us through civil war then independence and the melt down of a nation.
Jeannine
May 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
Too much a history epistel, not enough story
purplemagnolia
May 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
House of Stone spans 32 years in the lives of two very different people, one black, one white. Nigel Hough is a rich white Rhodesian, Aqui is a poor black Zimbabwean; they come from very different backgrounds and cultures, but they share a country. The unfolding story traces the intertwined lives of these two, against a backdrop of destruction.

The author, Christina Lamb, is a foreign affairs correspondent for the British Sunday Times. She has been reporting on the situation in Zimbabwe since 199
...more
Mandy
May 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers of non-fiction, everyone

This is one of the best books I have ever read.  It is riveting and nearly impossible to put down.  I would highly recommend it.


House of Stone is written by Christina Lamb, an English journalist.  In the opening passages I wasn't too sure if I trusted this author yet as I thought she was exaggerating (this is the scene where she describes a city's main market as reduced to rubble).  I then turned the page to see a photograph depicting the rubble and it was there that my hesitation and disbelief

...more
Acatraps
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
A story that follows the lives of a white boy who grows up to become a farmer, and a black girl who through a turbulent life emerges as a nanny. A tale of two characters from two different backgrounds who are steeped in their own experiences of colonialism, independence and then Mugambe, Lord of the Plundered Lands.

This book is impressively written with excerpts from the two main characters carefully interwoven into the background text. I found this story far more fascinating, though perhaps le
...more
Laurie
Aug 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
I signed up for a volunteer abroad program in 2001 through my university to work with a children's orphanage in Zimbabwe. The group that went before me was contacted on their Gremany layover by the university president and were asked to return to the U.S. before they even got to Zimbabwe. I ended up changing my plans - the program has been closed ever since. Reading this book gave me a very good understanding why Zimbabwe is in such chaos while being run by a murderous zealot. I am floored by Mu ...more
Melitta
May 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book is about black/white conflict in Zimbabwe. It follows the lives of a white Rhodesian man and a black woman, from childhood to adults with children, from 1970 to 2005, starting at the time under Ian Smith shortly after he declared independence from the UK. It clearly shows how the upbringing of children colours their view of their surroundings, and also how people can change, as their worldview widens.
Mugabe looms large in this book, first of all as a kind of saviour, then as a monster
...more
Radford Secondary Library
A powerful and intensely human insight into the civil war in Zimbabwe, focusing on a white farmer and his maid who find themselves on opposing sides. One bright morning Nigel Hough, one of the few remaining white farmers in Mugabe's Zimbabwe, received the news he was dreading - a crowd were at the gate demanding he surrender his home and land. To his horror, his family's much-loved nanny Aqui was at the head of the violent mob that then stole his homestead and imprisoned him in an outhouse By tr ...more
Marcus
Feb 10, 2012 rated it really liked it

A tale of two citizens – at opposite poles of Rhodesian/Zimbabwe society over the last 40 years, living alongside but always on opposite sides, eventually clashing in the farm invasions, expulsions and land redistribution at the turn of the century.

Christina Lamb manages to get under the skin of both to describe their delights, and lay bare their excesses, corruption and violent abuse. But after all, it is a tale of hope and reconciliation, not without hope of national reconciliation some day.
Margaret Sankey
Jul 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Lamb tells the parallel tragedies of Nigel Hough, third generation British colonial settler and Aqui Shamvi, Zimbabwean native, from the 1970s until the Houghs gave up their farm and moved away. There are no easy answers here--the settlers were brutal and exploitative in their time in power, and Mugabe demented and spectacularly destructive in his, with both the black and white populations driven to poverty, exile and chaos.
Felipe Acero
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great read for those who want to familiarize with the decadency and hipocrisy of some African political regimes. The shift from the white to the black perspective makes the narrative of the book very much entertaining.

On a side note, I still can't believe Mugabe has remained in power for so long and is somehow mocking Trump at the UNGA-2017 calling him the "new Goliath"! WTF!! Brazenness at its worst! The world is def running backwards!
Ana
Jan 05, 2009 rated it liked it
The book goes back and forth between 2 points of view, but it skips large periods of time so I didn't get to understand the characters enough. It gets better towards the end, though, so I don't regret reading it. There is some basic information about Zimbabwe's recent history, so that's a bonus (or actually the reason I picked it up).
Luciana Betenson
Dec 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. The narrator makes a parallel of the life story of two very different Zimbabweans: a white farmer and a black servant, who were born within a few miles of each other. She also interweaves this with the history of Zimbabwe and its struggle to become independent, as well as the descent into madness of Robert Mugabe and all the terrible consequences of his government to this country.
Tessa
Aug 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love all of the Christina Lamb books that I've read so far and this one is no exception.

A very easy read and a great way to study history, as a story about real people.

It's a sad and unsettling story but something we should all know about.

Bravo Christina for having the courage to investigate and for informing us.
Nancy Mcdaniel
Dec 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
this is must reading for anyone interested in the current situation in Zimbabwe. It is very well written and a fascinating account - kept me riveted wondering how the two lives would ultimately intersect
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Christina Lamb OBE is one of Britain's leading foreign correspondents. She has been named Foreign Correspondent of the Year five times in the British Press Awards and What the Papers Say Awards and in 2007 was winner of the Prix Bayeux Calvados - one of the world's most prestigious prizes for war correspondents, for her reporting from Afghanistan.

She has won numerous other awards starting with You
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