Douglas Rogers book The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe won the 2010 Best travel Book by the British Guild of Travel Writers. If you are looking for a good book to read, this one has received accolades from numerous reviewers including those at The Times, Mail on Sunday, Time Magazine and many many more.
The last resort is a part-memoir written by New York journalist Douglas Rogers. It covers the events of post colonial Africa focusing on Zimbabwe under the leadership of seasoned dictator, Robert Mugabe.
Rogers's parents, Lyn and Rosalind had lived and built their life in Zimbabwe. The Last Resort was written after Rogers returned to Zimbabwe where he found that once beautiful land wrecked by the long ruling ZANU-PF.
Douglas Rogers was born and raised in Zimbabwe and later became a journalist based in New York. In the book he reflects on the harsh post-colonial life under Robert Mugabe one of the world's longest serving dictators.
In the memoir, Rogers captures the resilience and the undying attitude of Zimbabweans, both blacks and the few remaining whites, especially his parents, that has enabled them to endure appalling conditions. Douglas Rodgers goes beyond race to tell the life of ordinary Zimbabweans and their determination to survive in a near failed state.
A Home For Diamond Smugglers, Soldiers and Spies
The Last Resort, is in part a chronicle of the changing life in pre-colonial and post-colonial Zimbabwe is centred in part on the declining tourism industry and its effect on Rogers' parents. They are two of the whites who had enjoyed living in Zimbabwe until Robert Mugabe began attacking and imprisoning ordinary Zimbabweans and forcefully taking up land owned by white farmers. All of this in order to consolidate his authoritarian grip on the country.
The author's parents were in some ways fortunate. They owned a small resort which his father, a retired lawyer had started several years previously. It consisted of backpacker lodge on land that was not very suitable for farming. They had tried to establish a wild life game reserve in order to attract tourists, but as the the recession and mismanagement in the country deepened most of the animals ended up being poached for food.
A Wild Life Reserve Where the Animals Have Been Eaten
After several years of Mugabe and Zanu (PF) rule, life became increasingly difficult and often unbearable for both white and black Zimbabweans. With tourism practically dead, the Rogers's once attractive and comfortable resort was sort of sublet by the author's parents and reduced to a combination of brothel, a circuit for smuggling diamonds and a home for soldiers and spies. The resort also doubled as the home for displaced whites, political dissidents and other farm workers.
Upon returning to the land of his birth, Douglas Rogers is impressed by how his parents, other whites and some black Zimbabweans have befriended each other to form a beacon of hope in an appalling political and economic situation.
They are resilient, persevering and willing to hold on. They have devised new ways to survive in a country with galloping inflation, an oppressed society and where access to basic necessities, especially food and health care is often impossible. But how long will they hold on?
The Last Resort is a chronicle of the life of a nation stuck between a dark past, a terrifying present and an impatient future. It recognizes and tells the big story of citizens who are exposed to some of the worst political conditions on earth, but their determination to move on keeps them hoping for a brighter future. The memoir is a must read for anybody interested in post-colonial Zimbabwe. It covers the life, tactics and business acumen many find necessary to survive under Mugabe's authoritarian rule.
The author uses humour and numerous anecdotes to paint a picture of how so many people are trying to survive in Zimbabwe. His tales of business innovation, brothel management. smuggling, violence and bribery are frequently hair raising and often funny. Douglas Rogers has written a heartbreaking, sometimes hilarious and fascinating book about life in Mugabe's Zimbabwe. If you have enjoyed the other books I have recommended on Zimbabwe, I am sure you will find this book by Douglas Rogers equally enthralling. Please at it to your list of good books to read.
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