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Rhodesians Never Die: The Impact of War and Political Change on White Rhodesia, C.1970-80 (State and Democracy Series) [Paperback]

Peter Godwin , Ian Hancock
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Jan 2005 State and Democracy Series
This book tells the story of how White Rhodesians, three-quarters of whom were ill- prepared for revolutionary change, reacted to the "terrorist" war and the onset of black rule in the 1970s. It shows how internal divisions--both old and new--undermined the supposed unity of White Rhodesia, how most Rhodesians begrudgingly accepted the inevitability of black majority rule without adjusting to its implications, and how the self- appointed defenders of Western civilization sometimes adopted uncivilized methods of protecting the "Rhodesian way of life." This is a lively and accessible account, based on careful archival research and numerous personal interviews. It sets out to tell the story from the inside and to incorporate the diverse dimensions of the Rhodesian experience. The authors suggest that the Rhodesians were more differentiated than has often been assumed and that perhaps their greatest fault was an almost infinite capacity for self- delusion.

Product details

  • Paperback: 420 pages
  • Publisher: Baobab Books; New Ed edition (1 Jan 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0908311826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0908311828
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 900,298 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Peter Godwin is the award winning author of The Fear, When a Crocodile Eats the Sun, and Mukiwa, all published by Picador. He writes for various publications including the New York Times magazine, National Geographic and Vanity Fair. He lives in Manhattan.

Product Description


what is new about this book is its examination of the personal and public needs of Rhodesians to preserve the staus quo in theface of political change, and the costs of trying to maintain segregation while fighting a war. (Archived) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

A new edition of Peter Godwin and Ian Hancock's internationally acclaimed account of the final death throes of white Rhodesia. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars changing times 6 Mar 2009
As with any book that Peter Godwin writes or is involved with, this publication is of excellent standard. Once again the picture of a declining country is projected and a way of life comes to an end especially for the white colonial population. Informative but sad is how i would sum up this book.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Fourteen Great Years" 30 Jan 2001
By A Customer
"Rhodesians Never Die" is a comprehensive history of the European population that ruled pre-independence Zimbabwe. This book takes a cynical view of Rhodesia's struggle to maintain minority rule amid increasing outside and internal pressures.
Godwin and Hancock put together an amazing amount of information in this work that includes even the smallest detail. "Rhodesians Never Die" chronicles every event, argument, article and demographic affecting Rhodesia for more than a decade.
The only drawback to this exhaustive work is its critical view of Ian Smith and Rhodesia's so called 'way of life'. Reading this book I got the impression that the authors arrived with preconceived conclusions about Rhodesia that weren't supported by their arguments. This could be due in part to the fact that this book does not relate Rhodesians to international influences or to the black population. I would liked to have seen a more classical argument and counter-argument to Rhodesia's problems.
Nonetheless, those who read this book will be greatly surprised to see how moderately the authors portray Rhodesia's Prime Minister. Even though 'Old Smithy' is not shown favorably, he wasn't the extremist as he is so often labelled. That role was played by other segments of Rhodesia's political spectrum.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has read Peter Godwin's "Mukiwa" or would like to learn more about the politics of southern Africa. This book was well worth the wait.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Godwin and Hancock have produced a real tour de force with this book, which is probably the most detailed and meticulously researched book on the subject of White Rhodesia in the period between the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965, and the full transition to Zimbabwe and majority rule in 1980, or what Ian Smith used to call the '14 great years'.

The research going into the book is really impressive, with the 320 pages tightly packed with content being complemented by a further 80 of notes, bibliography and further recommended readings on the subject.

The focus is most strongly on the civilian life, with extensive inclusion of politics, the economy and the influence of key figures from industry and agriculture included, quality of life, race and gender issues, etc. Other aspects, such as the war itself are covered to the extent necessary but this is not a minutely detailed battle field report; only the key engagements and the progress and effects of the war are discussed.

The book - in my opinion - gives you a very solid overview of White Rhodesia and is probably unique in this respect (in concept and scope) in the non-fiction, non-biography sphere.

If you are looking more into the gritty day to day life from an individual's perspective, Godwin's Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa, or Alexandra Fuller's Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood will nicely complement this book (or the other way around - if you read those and your interest in the country and its issues was piqued, 'Rhodesians Never Die' provides a context and the necessary historical perspective).
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As my title suggests, the book is excellent for any prospective students studying Rhodesia or white Africa in general. The authors have done a thorough and professional job with their research, which gives a tremendous volume of information regarding life for Rhodesians throughout the 1970s. The inner workings of the Rhodesian Front are well documented as to whether to follow Ian Smith's lead towards black majority rule or shift more towards a more extreme apartheid situation in South Africa. They also describe well the increasingly chaotic situation throughout the war of the military call up of predominantly white men and how that had an affect both on the security services and the economy as companies began to lose more of their productive workers.

Why not 5 stars? Well, I have a few issues with their overall conclusion and the book seems a lot to be a personal criticism of Ian Smith. Numerous times they refer to Smith's 'surrender' in 1976, when in reality Smith had been backed into a corner with very little options available to him. I understand that this book was written before Smith released his own memoirs in 1997 which may have shed more light, although the authors did conduct at least one interview with Smith for their research. They never really set out a constructive criticism as to what he should have actually done. At times their dislike of Smith is clear to see which for academics is not showing a clear impartiality. I followed this up by reading Godwin's book 'The Fear' about the situation in Zimbabwe after the 2008 Presidential election and descent of Rhodesia/Zimbabwe is frankly staggering from a country struggling to survive to a country that had collapsed and had effectively been put back100 years. It would be interesting to know if Godwin in particular was writing this book now if his arguments and conclusions would be different.
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