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The Last Resort [Paperback]

Douglas Rogers
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)

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Book Description

4 Mar 2010
Travelogue, adventure yarn, political intrigue and tragedy, The Last Resort is a love story about the author and his homeland, Zimbabwe...For many years, Lyn and Ros Rogers were the owners of Drifters, a famous game farm and backpacker lodge in the eastern mountains. But when President Robert Mugabe launched his violent land reclamation programme, everything changed. The Rogers found their home under siege, their friends and neighbours expelled, and their lives in danger. But instead of leaving, as their son pleaded with them to do, they hauled out a shotgun and stayed. Soon afterwards, Douglas returns to find the country of his birth in chaos, and his home transformed into something between a Marx Brothers romp and the Heart of Darkness: marijuana has supplanted maize in the fields; hookers have replaced gap-year kids as guests; soldiers, spies and teenage diamond dealers down beers at the bar. Beyond the farm gates, armed war veterans loyal to Mugabe circle like hungry lions. And yet, in spite of it all, the Rogers - with the help of friends and locals, black political dissidents among them - hold on. And Douglas begins to see his parents in a new light: unbowed, even heroic. In the process he learns that the "big story" he had pursued throughout his adult life was actually happening in his own backyard. The Last Resort is an inspiring, edgy roller-coaster adventure, but also a deeply moving testament to the love and loyalty inspired by Zimbabwe and her people.

Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Short Books Ltd (4 Mar 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906021910
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906021917
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.4 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 361,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"This vibrant, tragic and surprisingly funny book is the best account yet of ordinary life - for blacks and whites - under Mugabe's dictatorship." New York Times "So do we really need another memoir by a white Zimbabwean? The surprising answer is yes, if it's as good as Douglas Rogers' The Last Resort. A ripping yarn, for sure. But it is in the nuance Rogers brings to Zimbabwe that he truly excels. It moves beyond memoir to become a chronicle of a nation. There is black and white, yes, but much more in the shades and tones of their mix - and it is in exploring them that Rogers, too, finds his art." Time Magazine "A gorgeous, open-hearted book. Rogers manages to do the vital work of taking race out of Zimbabwe's story and putting the heart and humanity back into it. A must read for anyone who really wants to understand the extraordinary decency of ordinary Zimbabweans" Alexandra Fuller, author of Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight.

About the Author

Douglas Rogers is an award-winning journalist and travel writer. He was born and raised in Zimbabwe and now lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another ex-Zimbabwean 13 April 2010
This book was a joy to read, not only for the wonderful story of Douglas Rogers stoic parents, but for the memories it invoked of Mutare. The book was extremely well written, and made me feel as if I had got to know Mr and Mrs Rogers Senior very very well, as well as the two Johns and Naomi. It also gave an insight into what happened in Zimbabwe after a lot of white Zimbabweans left the country in the early 80's for safer climes. Hopefully another book will be forthcoming as a follow up and to keep us all informed of how the Rogers' are continuing to keep Drifters up and running.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, great read 2 Mar 2010
Douglas Rogers knows how to tell a story, with pace, humour and acute observation. It is "un-put-downable" and I read it within 3 days. It was so good I bought it for all my family and friends for Christmas '09 (I bought the US edition, of course!). Without exception, they too rave about the book. One friend who was himself evicted from his farm in Zim by Mugabe's mob felt he was reliving the experience all over again - perhaps not such a good Christmas choice, that one. There's a film in the making here.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended 2 Mar 2010
The Last Resort is a gripping, funny and affecting book. Although set in the absurdity of Mugabe's Zimbabwe, it will resonate with anyone who has come to know his or her parents in adulthood. Rogers manages to infuse every situation with wit and humanity and, whilst presenting himself as a bumbling urbanite, beautifully captures the spirit of the people and the textures of the country. There is no earnest condemnation here, just a cast of sometimes noble, sometimes flawed human beings getting by in a very unusual place. I have often thought of Drifters since finishing the book and would strongly recommend it to anyone who enjoys life's nuances or who simply likes to be transported to a curious and beautiful place when clattering along on the Tube. It is a very uplifting book.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last Resort 1 May 2010
I first heard this book on BBC Radio 4's book of the week, and immediately ordered a copy. It brings to life in ways that are touching, heart-rending, absurd, terrifying and deeply insightful the story of Zimbabwe from the time of the first farm invasions until the present, as experienced principally through the author and his parents.

The story is far from being an elegiac or even polemical nostalgia trip on behalf of a privileged white minority, however. We are introduced to a richly diverse array of characters, who give us deep insights into the mind-set and world-view of the white 'bittereinders', and those whose voice is little heard or understood - the black Zimbabweans who fought for independence. At the same time we meet political opponents and supporters of the opposition movement, the MDC.

In the midst of this chaotic melting pot which is contemporary Zimbabwe, we are introduced to the backpackers resort Drifters, which becomes in itself a gathering point for those affected by or involved in the political upheaval which is swirling around it, and the extraordinary characters who make up the story in this particular part of the country.

The book is a page-turner from start to finish, and may be appreciated by readers of all kinds. It will particularly be appreciated by anyone who has an interest in that part of the world, or has visited Zimbabwe, like myself. It may also prompt some who read it to visit the country for the first time.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended 1 Jun 2010
I came across this wonderful book quite by chance and cannot recommend it highly enough. In truth I had difficulty in putting it down and was reading well into the night. Ironically, given the gravity of the true story it unfolds it is the funniest book I have ever read and at times I was convulsed with laughter - tears streaming down my face. The author brings to life the very tragic situation in Zimbabwe and somehow magically turns it all on its head showing up the ludicrousness of current goings-on with the farm invasions and puts it over in such a manner as one cannot fail to see the utterly comic side of the tragedy. The characters all spring off the page and one is carried along with them every step of the way, feeling what they feel, fearing what they fear, seeing it all unfold from their perspective. Truly there is not a dull moment in the entire book; it simply picks you up and sweeps you along with it. Additionally there is some interesting and compelling information about the true figures of land distribution in Zimbabwe, which make startling reading and has the effect of bringing this modern day tragedy into focus. An excellent read, I commend it to all,whether they have an interest in that part of the world or not.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Part memoir, part political journalism, this book is an interesting mixture of family anecdotes and commentary on contemporary Zimbabwe.
This book is a good enough read to appeal to people who have little or no knowledge of white africans, but it is also a real treat for those of us who already know and love the place.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "big story" memoir 25 May 2010
I must add another 5* review to this book as I thoroughly enjoyed it ! It reveals so much about a close family with many strong characters, a community that grapples with a varity of stresses (some very violent), and a business that has to adapt monthly to one threat after another. The politics and revelations about survival in Mugabe's Zimbabwe are very interesting but it is the enduring humour, colourful descriptions of this part of Africa and the nuggets of goodness revealed in unlikely characters and situations that make this book so captivating.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book!
Would highly recommend. The book invites you into the home of the Rogers family and you don't want to leave. The Drifters is now on my travel 'to do list'.
Published 5 days ago by Private
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book
Still half way through this book but I love it! Its been to the UK with me, it will be going to Holland and Germany with me very soon! Read more
Published 10 days ago by Tashana
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
Somehow Rogers manages to keep a certain levity in the tone of this book which documents the injustices perpetrated against citizens of Zimbabwe, both white and black. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Nadweb
5.0 out of 5 stars the last resort
enjoyed this book - different from most books - both amusing reading but so tragic for the country involved with no future
Published 1 month ago by marie greenall
5.0 out of 5 stars A stroll down memory lane!
For sixteen years I lived a few miles from Drifters and spend a number of pleasant evenings there. Many of the people mentioned, including Lynn and Roz, we're friends and well... Read more
Published 2 months ago by George James Yiend
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Making the best of a bad deal. Having traveled the region of Rhodesia and Zimbabwe I understand the context and history and enjoyed the trip with the hosts!
Published 3 months ago by Paul Aarden
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written Douglas
Because that is what we did to survive, i have since left the madness and feel sorry for those who cannot leave. A jolly good read.
Published 4 months ago by Michael Wither
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic, honest and riveting
As someone who was born and brought up in Zimbabwe, this story strikes a chord with me. Throughout the book I could identify with various aspects which the author described, and it... Read more
Published 5 months ago by NRH
5.0 out of 5 stars Really insightful and inspirational read!
Honest and well written - highly recommended for an insight into the challenges continuing to be faced by white Zimbabweans today.
Published 5 months ago by Charlotte Pratt
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful - loved every page
The Last Resort is a beautifully written personal story. I couldn't put the book down and at the same time, I couldn't bear to finish it! Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mrs. Vanessa Gray
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