When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa

Hailed by reviewers as powerful, haunting and a tour de force of personal journalism, When A Crocodile Eats the Sun is the unforgettable story of one man s struggle to discover his past and come to terms with his present Award winning author and journalist Peter Godwin writes with pathos and intimacy about Zimbabwe s spiral into chaos and, along with it, his family Hailed by reviewers as powerful, haunting and a tour de force of personal journalism, When A Crocodile Eats the Sun is the unforgettable story of one man s struggle to discover his past and come to terms with his present Award winning author and journalist Peter Godwin writes with pathos and intimacy about Zimbabwe s spiral into chaos and, along with it, his family s steady collapse This dramatic memoir is a searing portrait of unspeakable tragedy and exile, but it is also vivid proof of the profound strength of the human spirit and the enduring power of love In the tradition of Rian Malan and Philip Gourevitch, a deeply moving book about the unknowability of an Africa at once thrilling and grotesque In elegant, elegiac prose, Godwin describes his father s illness and death in Zimbabwe against the backdrop of Mugabe s descent into tyranny His parent s waning and the country s deterioration are entwined so that personal and political tragedy become inseparable, each profound for the presence of the other Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon A fascinating, heartbreaking, deeply illuminating memoir that has the shape and feel of a superb novel Kurt Anderson, author of Heydey
When a Crocodile Eats the Sun A Memoir of Africa Hailed by reviewers as powerful haunting and a tour de force of personal journalism When A Crocodile Eats the Sun is the unforgettable story of one man s struggle to discover his past and come to te

  • Title: When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa
  • Author: Peter Godwin
  • ISBN: 9780316018715
  • Page: 429
  • Format: Paperback
  • 1 thought on “When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa”

    1. PUNTO DI VISTARobert Mugabe, eroe della liberazione coloniale, col tempo è diventato uno dei dittatori più crudeli d’Africa, e certo non solo perché soffriva il successo planetario del suo vicino Nelson Mandela. Preferisce distruggere il suo paese piuttosto che lasciare il potere. Ha 93 anni e comanda il paese ininterrottamente da trentasette anni, a partire dal 1980.Le cascate Vittoria nel nordovest dello Zimbabwe, al confine con lo Zambia. Si trovano lungo il corso del fiume Zambesi, sono [...]

    2. .For me, personally, I think this is the saddest book I have ever read.Written by a superbly evocative writer - Africa commentator and renowned journalist,Peter Godwin - it details the trials of people living in Zimbabwe between 1996 and 2003. Parallel to this it is also a memoir of his family at this time, particularly his parents, who lived and worked in Zimbabwe for most of their adult lives. They dedicated their lives to this country. His mother was a doctor, who worked in a local hospital u [...]

    3. Peter Goodwin writes a detailed memoir of his life in Zimbabwe, his father's history as a Jew in disguise, and the turmoil of his Zimbabwean heritage as a white member of a minority group. The story is comprehensive in that it touches on all the aspects, although not in tedious details, defining Africa as it is today and how it came about. He includes a lot of details of various aspects of the madness happening in Zimbabwe which he derived from various articles he wrote for different media outle [...]

    4. This book will haunt you. It haunts me. I was in a hotel room in Chicago trying to get ready for an early morning conference session. I was watching “Morning Joe” on MSNBC when Peter Godwin came on. I was not familiar with him, but listening to him talk about Zimbabwe intrigued me. Despite purloining 8 million vendor pens at the vendor hall the previous day, I could not quickly locate a pen and paper to write down the title of his book. Thanks goodness for technology! I grabbed my Blackberry [...]

    5. The author, Peter Godwin, grew up as a white Zimbabwean, just like Alexandra Fuller, author of Don't Lets Go to the Dogs tonight. He brilliantly shares his experience living under Robert Mugabe, who has been the country's dicator since the 1970's. My problem, however, is how he portrays his parents, and their near-saintliness. They are/were clearly warm people with an impressive degree of moral courage. But he never addresses the fact that Zimbabwe -- formerly Rhodesia, was a European colony bef [...]

    6. I have just finished reading "When a Crocodile Eats the Sun" and am assuaging the tears with a good glass of Johnny Black and a CD of my favourite ballet classics aranteed to calm me down. There are so many reasons why I cried. I cried for times past and in fear of times to come. I cried because of the similarities. I come from a pan African family, my brothers born in Zim, me in Malawi and my sister in Zambia ( Daddy was a soldier and a traveling man) I cried when you described your father's cr [...]

    7. I was debating on whether to read this book, When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa, or the author's book on his childhood growing up in Rhodesia Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africafirst. This one focuses upon his father's life in Zimbabwe, and how he ended up there. I believe I made the wrong choice. It took me a very long time to care for the family. The first third focuses upon political turmoil and history of Rhodesia and how it became Zimbabwe. Every chapter is dated. The first being J [...]

    8. A very powerful and haunting and heartbreaking memoir, a story both about the collapse of Zimbabwe into dictatorship and chaos since the late 1990s and about identity and belonging.Godwin writes as a white African, as a boy born in the old Rhodesia and raised during the Rhodesian Bush War--- what's now the Chimurenga War, the War of Liberation, in the new Zimbabwe. Godwin served briefly in the Rhodesian security forces before going off to Cambridge and returning to southern Africa first as a bar [...]

    9. Godwin tries too hard to tacitly excuse himself and other whites who stayed on in Zimbabwe after majority rule. He glosses over fighting on the wrong side of Zimbabwe's war for independence and never properly questions his privileged upbringing and the British status quo. Most of the examples he employs to gain our sympathy involve white farmers loosing their land and family photographs; the stories that include native Africans often end with them stealing something or running away. For someone [...]

    10. Godwin's "When a Crocodile Eats the Sun" is not only compelling and well-written, but more timely than ever. A memoir of his adult life after having left Zimbabwe, the place of his birth (he is a journalist for National Geographic and a slew of other top-notch publications), Godwin painfully portrays the experience of white Africans in Zimbabwe, and his own family's history in their journey to Africa. It gives an insider's view of Mugabe's reign of terror, and the utter chaos that has enveloped [...]

    11. In the early nineties I spent some time in Zimbabwe, and I have always wanted to go back. Although there were hints of instability, mostly having to do with currency exchange, the people were well fed, well educated, and the country was beautiful. I have been looking for an explanation, a reason for the death of that Zimbabwe. The dire news of cholera and economic collapse, the continued spread of political evilI picked this book up because it covers the late nineties and early part of this mill [...]

    12. 4.5 stars. Godwin does an excellent job of combining the personal and political in this gripping memoir. He writes about caring for his aging parents who live in Zimbabwe, mostly long distance, as their country collapses around them. On his visits, even a trip to the grocery store becomes treacherous. He writes about learning that his father is Polish and Jewish, not English as he was always told - and discovers that most of his father's family died in the Holocaust. He also vividly describes th [...]

    13. This is my type of book - an entertaining book in which I learn so much about places that I would like to know more about. This memoir about the author's home in Rhodesia, which is now Zimbabwae. The majority of the story takes place during the 1990's and 2000's during Robert Mugabe's presidency - which still continues today. Political fraud, beatings, slavery, killings, etc. were rampant, and we see how much damage was done to a once-thriving economy. Many white Africans lived on commercial far [...]

    14. My dad brought this back from SA for me, and it was funny because I'd just finished reading Mukiwa by the same author. Mukiwa is about Peter Godwin's childhood in Zimbabwe, and this book covers the death of his father there in the period from the late 90's to 2006. Peter Godwin is a journalist and it shows in how the book is written. I choose not to hold it against him. Still, for some reason I couldn't read this book without my eyes tearing up. Seriously, I read almost the entire book trying to [...]

    15. After reading this book, I am actually unsure of where I stand on the issue of land redistribution. I recognize the value white farmers added to Zimbabwe's economy, but on the other hand I am suspicious of, you know, colonialism. As I was reading, I keep thinking, where's this guy's punchline? Has this guy really written a book completely bashing land redistribution even in the face of the fact that 70% of arable land in Zimbabwe was owned by whites who made up less than 1% of the population?

    16. I read Godwin’s earlier memoir 10 years ago so naturally wanted to read this one, though I wondered what a man younger than I by a decade or more could have to write two memoirs about. The answer is “plenty”. This one is focuses on the period between 1996 and 2004 when Robert Mugabe is encouraging the “wovits” (supposedly vets of the civil war but mostly thugs and opportunists) to confiscate land from white settlers. Mugabe seems to want to get rid of whites in Zimbabwe and to make wha [...]

    17. This was both very interesting and rather tiresome.It's a memoir, not a history book, so it's to be expected that it emphasizes the writer's perspective and feelings more than the facts of what was going on. Godwin's writing style is sensitive but mercifully not prone to histrionics.Nevertheless--and I realize the irony of this being written by a white American--it is hard to feel too sympathetic towards white Zimbabwean colonists and what sounds like an insular, patronizing, big-fish-in-a-small [...]

    18. Gives one a very good idea of how traumatic and depressing it was for Peter's family and families like Peter's. How hopeless, despairing and often frightening the situation was and still is. How the world stands by does nothing. A very human story, a story of destiny, the struggles and courage of those brave souls in the face of utter despair and hopelessness. Well portrayed and an easy read.

    19. Extremely well-written story about family, identity, and what we owe each other, set against the backdrop of Zimbabwe and Mugabe's dictatorship.

    20. Zimbabwe- I found this book very interesting. Honestly, I feel ashamed for saying this but I had no idea about the details of the land reform and the instability of the residents after Mugabe began ruling. Peter's account is about the visits he made to his parents while he was living in the US. I read this book very quickly because the Author did a great job in being detailed enough without going overboard into details that bogged it down. It's so hard to imagine what life is (was) like for the [...]

    21. I always hesitate to give five stars but for me, this is better than 4.5. I love stories set in Africa and this memoir does Africa so well. Touching while educational.

    22. Zimbabwe is a mess. There's no effective way to argue that statement. But is *why* is it a mess? Can it effectively heal? What does what happened in Zimbabwe mean for the rest of Africa?Peter Godwin was born in Rhodesia - what became Zimbabwe. His family remained in-country after Mugabe came to power, and while Godwin himself moved to America and traveled the world as a journalist, he repeatedly came back to care for his parents and witness the events overtaking his home. Along the way, he learn [...]

    23. This memoir by Peter Goodwin is exquisitely written; troubling in what it conveys about societal breakdowns, racism, and ethnic cleansing; inspiring in what it suggests about some individual acts of perseverance and charity; and informative about Africa—particularly Zimbabwe in the Mugabe years.While the larger theme tells us the story of Rhodesia becoming Zimbabwe, and how Zimbabwe evolves (or devolves, depending upon one’s perspective), the immediacy and power of the work comes from the wa [...]

    24. Using his own experiences and that of his own family to illustrate the tragedy of how the ego of a vile old man and the poison of revolutionary totalitarian politics (wherever it exists in the world) has destroyed a nation once known as the bread basket of Africa.The author covers the reign of terror begun by Robert Mugabe and his Stalinist ZANU PF since he lost a crucial referendum in 2000 and began to lose support to the social-democratic Movement for Democratic Change.A shocking expose not on [...]

    25. This book was a follow on from Mukiwa (A white boy in Africa ) which followed the creation of Zimbabwe and the end of the white ruled Rhodesia, the years of civil war and the unseen massacre in Matabeleland which the author was one of the first western journalists to try and bring this horror to the western world. Now Mugabe is in power, this is a story about a countries slide into anarchy and self destruction, while the mad man at the top sits and laughs while his people , black and white starv [...]

    26. When I began reading it, I was cautioned that this is a White man’s version of contemporary Zimbabwe. Even if I assume that it does suffer from that implied infirmity of bias and discount for it, the narrative is moving, heartbreaking and compelling. It rings with credibility. It is a tale the twin and parallel furrows of despair and love, of hopelessness and courage, cruelty and generosity. And yet, this is no outpouring of bitterness alone; just beneath the surface hope for humanity is visib [...]

    27. I can't do better than to start with two of the review quotes from the book's back cover:'A wonderful book beautifully written, packed with insight and free of rancour' (Literary Review) and' o vivid to bear and too central to our concerns to ignore' (Edmund White).White has captured exactly how I felt about it - that the stories of devastation, loss and betrayal were almost unbearable at times, but that it was essential to go on reading to try to understand better the so-called Indigenisation o [...]

    28. Peter Godwin is on assignment in South Africa for National Geographic when he learns that his father has had a heart attack and his presence is requested. He flies home to his parents' place in Zimbabwe to spend time with family and his father recovers. Over the next several years he makes many more trips back to Zimbabwe to spend time with his aging parents and sees the free-fall of the country under Mugabe's regime. It is during one of those trips that his mother shares with him a family secre [...]

    29. I remember taking a clipping about Rhodesia's unilateral declaration of independence to school for current events (when I was very young :-)) and have been somewhat aware of the ongoing difficulties in Rhodesia and later Zimbabwe since then. I knew several physicians who had left the country for Canada in the early 80s for 'better' opportunities and heard the stories of how they were not optimistic that they would be able to live safely and prosper - so I was really happy to have an opportunity [...]

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