A heroic look at one of the world’s most dangerous places

Peter Godwin has been a war correspondent, a filmmaker, and a human-rights lawyer; he is also the author of two remarkable books about Zimbabwe: Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa and When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa. His latest, The Fear: Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe, is an equally gripping, gut-wrenching report from this nation in terrible decline.

Nelson Mandela provides the book’s title: “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear but the triumph over it,” Mandela said. And in fact, the men and women Godwin met in the course of a long return visit to Zimbabwe are both ordinary and extraordinarily brave. We’re not used to hearing these voices—journalists aren’t welcome in Zimbabwe, and Godwin snuck into the country illegally, putting himself at great risk, to record them. They might not bring Mugabe’s regime down. (As of this writing, the tyrant’s taste for Savile Row suits seems to remain in place.) But they will certainly outlive it.

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