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The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe by…
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The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe (original 2009; edition 2009)

by Douglas Rogers

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1831264,645 (4.12)10
Member:gregvogl
Title:The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe
Authors:Douglas Rogers
Info:Crown (2009), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:africa, memoir, Zimbabwe

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The Last Resort: A Memoir of Mischief and Mayhem on a Family Farm in Africa by Douglas Rogers (2009)

  1. 10
    The Fear: Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe by Peter Godwin (Popup-ch)
    Popup-ch: Both books show the absurdities of Mugabes reign. Rogers through light-hearted (rather black) humour, and Godwin through the well-documented atrocities of the regime. Rogers is the Graham Greene to Godwins Solzhenitsyn.
  2. 00
    One Hundred and Four Horses: A Memoir of Farm and Family, Africa and Exile by Mandy Retzlaff (vwinsloe)
  3. 00
    Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood by Alexandra Fuller (vwinsloe)
  4. 00
    When a Crocodile Eats the Sun by Peter Godwin (bergs47)
  5. 00
    African Laughter: Four Visits to Zimbabwe by Doris Lessing (LBV123)
Africa (190)
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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Quite a few white Zimbabweans have published memoirs and commentaries in the last few years. Many, like Rogers, are no longer living their, but experience it through their parents and their childhood friends. What makes Rogers' book stand out, in my opinion, is his journalist's understanding of the importance of objective facts and research to examine the compelling stories of white and black Zimbabweans, and his balanced and nuanced attention to the current political situation. This is not a "golden times" reminiscence, nor is it a white liberal guilt fest. It is an intelligent examination laced with humor and vivid description. Rogers doesn't sugarcoat his own feelings or reactions, which makes me empathize with him and trust him as an observer. ( )
  kaitanya64 | Jan 3, 2017 |
The news is Zimbabwe kills white farmers and has ludicrous inflation rates. Mugabe is a basket case horror show of mismanagement. This memoir by Douglas Rogers, who was born and raised in Zimbabwe the son of white farmers provides a more nuanced, and occasionally humorous view. After school. Rogers left the country for the big cities of London and New York, anywhere but the rural farm of his upbringing. But his pioneering parents stayed, anything but give up the farm. This is their story as told by Rogers who came back to visit on occasion. His writing is like breath, hardly noticeable and inhaled in effortless speed, a model of clear and interesting prose. The story-arc is genuine, as the country falls apart his parents find increasingly sketchy ways to keep the farm out of the hands of the government/bandits. Curious people fill the pages, Zimbabwe is a land of weird going on not unlike the Mississippi Delta (see Richard Grant's magnificent Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta). This is a gem of book. ( )
  Stbalbach | May 31, 2016 |
This is an excellent book about extraordinary people living through unbelievable times in Zimbabwe. Over the last few years I have read a number of novels set in that country in the post independence period which have been deeply moving in their depiction of the evolution of that country and the effect on the lives of its people; but none of them delivered their story with the power of this one.
It is well written in a journalistic style as opposed to a literary one, which is not meant to demean it in any way, because the clarity of the writing brings home the mixture of horror, humour and fact. There were times when I was incredulous at the inhumanity of the government and their supporters as well as at the combination of stoicism, pragmatism and bravery shown by the writer's parents, their staff, friends and associates.
It is described as a travel book, but in reality it is a very personal history which I think should be essential reading for anyone interested in either sub-Saharan Africa or post colonialism.
As I reached the epilogue my mind flicked across to The Eagles' song "The Last Resort", so I looked up the lyrics and, although I don't think that Douglas Rogers had in in mind when he titled the book, I was surprised by its relevance.
I picked up this book not knowing what to expect. I urge others to try it for themselves. ( )
  johnwbeha | Nov 18, 2015 |
Witty, frequently heartbreaking, and occasionally hilarious, Douglas Rogers tells the remarkable, often surreal story of his parents' daily struggles to hold on to their land in the nightmarish landscape of Zimbabwe when the Mugabe government was seizing farms from white owners. A wonderfully written memoir. ( )
  Sullywriter | May 22, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
despite the subject of the book dealing with the demise of Zimbabwe since 2000, the story line is ultimately a beautifully written memoir of hope and Zimbabweans ability to 'maak 'n plan' when times are extremely difficult. The introduction will have you in stitches - the day that the writer founds out about the first white farmer in Zimbabwe being shot, he phones his parents from Europe to find out how they are. Mom and dad are upset about the cricket, rather than too worried about farm evictions. Without wanting to give the plot away, the book is a well written collection of individual stories that follow the survival of white Zimbabweans, who despite a country in ruins, continue to live in hope and manage to actually live a rather interesting life. It is well worth the read as chapter upon chapter, it shows that with hope, positive thinking and creative ideas, life continues to be worthwhile even in a country as destitute as Zimbabwe.
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For my parents
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I was five thousand miles away, drunk and happily unaware at a friend's birthday party in Berlin, when I learned that the first white farmer had been murdered.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307407977, Hardcover)

Thrilling, heartbreaking, and, at times, absurdly funny, The Last Resort is a remarkable true story about one family in a country under siege and a testament to the love, perseverance, and resilience of the human spirit.

Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Douglas Rogers is the son of white farmers living through that country’s long and tense transition from postcolonial rule. He escaped the dull future mapped out for him by his parents for one of adventure and excitement in Europe and the United States. But when Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe launched his violent program to reclaim white-owned land and Rogers’s parents were caught in the cross fire, everything changed. Lyn and Ros, the owners of Drifters–a famous game farm and backpacker lodge in the eastern mountains that was one of the most popular budget resorts in the country–found their home and resort under siege, their friends and neighbors expelled, and their lives in danger. But instead of leaving, as their son pleads with them to do, they haul out a shotgun and decide to stay.

On returning to the country of his birth, Rogers finds his once orderly and progressive home transformed into something resembling a Marx Brothers romp crossed with Heart of Darkness: pot has supplanted maize in the fields; hookers have replaced college kids as guests; and soldiers, spies, and teenage diamond dealers guzzle beer at the bar.

And yet, in spite of it all, Rogers’s parents–with the help of friends, farmworkers, lodge guests, and residents–among them black political dissidents and white refugee farmers–continue to hold on. But can they survive to the end?

In the midst of a nation stuck between its stubborn past and an impatient future, Rogers soon begins to see his parents in a new light: unbowed, with passions and purpose renewed, even heroic. And, in the process, he learns that the "big story" he had relentlessly pursued his entire adult life as a roving journalist and travel writer was actually happening in his own backyard.

Evoking elements of The Tender Bar and Absurdistan, The Last Resort is an inspiring, coming-of-age tale about home, love, hope, responsibility, and redemption. An edgy, roller-coaster adventure, it is also a deeply moving story about how to survive a corrupt Third World dictatorship with a little innovation, humor, bribery, and brothel management.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:49 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"A remarkable true story about one family in a country under siege and a testament to the love, perseverance, and resilience of the human spirit. Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Douglas Rogers is the son of white farmers living through that country's long and tense transition from postcolonial rule. He escaped the dull future mapped out for him by his parents for one of adventure and excitement in Europe and the United States. But when Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe launched his violent program to reclaim white-owned land and Rogers's parents were caught in the cross fire, everything changed. Lyn and Ros, the owners of Driftersa famous game farm and backpacker lodge in the eastern mountains that was one of the most popular budget resorts in the countryfound their home and resort under siege, their friends and neighbors expelled, and their lives in danger. But instead of leaving, as their son pleads with them to do, they haul out a shotgun and decide to stay"--Publisher description.… (more)

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