BookTalkUNA presents

Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe

Join us for an evening of discussion with special guest
Award-winning international journalist and filmmaker

is held in conjunction with
the Institute of International Education

Thursday, February 9, 2012
6 p.m. — Reception
6:30 p.m. — Presentation
7:15 p.m. — Book Signing

Institute of International Education
809 United Nations Plaza, Kaufman Center
New York, NY



UNA Members: FREE
UNA Student Members: FREE
Guests and Non-Members: $15

In mid-2008, after nearly three decades of increasingly tyrannical rule of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe lost an election. But instead of conceding power, he launched a brutal campaign of terror against his own citizens. Peter Godwin was one of the few outside observers to bear witness to the terrifying period that Zimbabweans call, simply, The Fear.

At great personal risk, Godwin returns secretly to the country that was once his home. He visits the torture bases, the burning villages, the death squads, the opposition leaders in hiding, the last white farmers, the churchmen and diplomats putting their own lives on the line to stop the carnage. Threaded through with personal history, The Fear is the brave and astonishing record of a dictatorship gone mad. Accompanied by his sister Georgina, Godwin journeys through the ravaged, once-familiar landscape. They visit the grave of their sister, killed during the civil war. As they pour red "lucky bean" seeds from the coral tree in their old garden into the runnels of the letters on her gravestone, they call their mother, now living in exile in faraway London. 'Where would you like to be buried when you die?' he asks her. 'At home,' she says. 'In Africa. Next to your father.'

Told with a brilliant eye for detail and Godwin's natural storytelling gifts, this is a story framed by personal loss. But most deeply, it is a moving and stunning account of a people grotesquely altered, laid waste by a raging despot. It is about the astonishing courage and resilience of a people, armed with nothing but a desire to be free, who challenge a violent dictatorship. The Fear is an important, brilliant testament to humanity's ability to transcend fear, to rise up, even in the face of astounding adversity.

Peter Godwin was born and raised in Africa. He studied law at Cambridge University, and international relations at Oxford. He is an award winning foreign correspondent, author, documentary-maker and screenwriter.

After practicing human rights law in Zimbabwe, he became a foreign and war correspondent, and has reported from over 60 countries, including wars in Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Somalia, Congo, Ivory Coast, Sudan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Kashmir and the last years of apartheid South Africa. He served as East European correspondent and Diplomatic correspondent for the London Sunday Times, and chief correspondent for BBC television's flagship foreign affairs program, Assignment, making documentaries from such places as Cuba, Panama, Indonesia, Pakistan, Spain, Northern Ireland, the Philippines, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, the Baltics, and the Balkans as it descended into war. His film, The Industry of Death, about the sex trade in Thailand, won the gold medal for investigative film at the New York Film Festival.

He also wrote and co-presented a three part series 'Africa Unmasked' for Britain's Channel Four. He has written for a wide array of magazines and newspapers including Vanity Fair, (for which he was a 2009 finalist for the Michael Kelly award) National Geographic, New York Times magazine and Men's Journal.

He is the author of five non fiction books: 'Rhodesians Never Die' - The Impact of War and Political Change on White Rhodesia c.1970 - 1980 (with Ian Hancock), Wild at Heart: Man and Beast in Southern Africa (with photos by Chris Johns and foreword by Nelson Mandela), The Three of Us - A New Life in New York (with Joanna Coles) and Mukiwa, which received the George Orwell prize and the Esquire-Apple-Waterstones award. When a Crocodile Eats the Sun - a Memoir of Africa, won the Borders Original Voices Award, and was selected by American Libraries Association as a Notable Book winner for 2008.

He has taught writing at the New School, Princeton and Columbia. And he is a 2010 Guggenheim Fellow.

High praise from the reviews...

"Peter Godwin's latest book is the most powerful indictment of Robert Mugabe's regime yet written, marking out the author as one of the sharpest observers of modern Africa." The Economist

"The book is devastatingly brilliant… incredibly vivid and haunting and, sadly, timely." The Boston Globe

"Godwin's book is not only extraordinary journalism; it is also a refutation of Mugabe's big idea: that race determines everything… Godwin goes on to produce the most comprehensive account yet of the brutality that followed the 2008 general election." Time Magazine

"What stands out from Godwin's gripping narrative is not just the scale of death and destruction that Mugabe is willing to inflict on his country for the sake of staying in power, but the extraordinary courage of Zimbabweans who defy his tyranny, knowing full well the consequences of doing so." The Washington Post

"This a book by a brave man about people who are braver still. Peter Godwin brings us closer to the filth of the Mugabe tyranny than is bearable and portrays with subtlety, authority, and respect those who, against all odds and at the cost of unimaginable suffering, continue the resistance against it. Their courage is the stuff of myth, and in Godwin they have found their chronicler." David Rieff, author of Swimming in a Sea of Death and A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis

"In the savage gangster world of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, Peter Godwin was able to go where other reporters cannot and tell us what others could not — because he is Zimbabwean, and knows what his country has been and could be. You don't know whether to be more shocked by the monstrousness of the regime's thugs or the luminous humanity of its opponents." James Traub, author of The Best Intentions: Kofi Annan and the UN in the Era of American World Power

"At last, a chronicle of the mess that is Zimbabwe. The Fear is an important book detailing the violent realities, the grotesque injustices, the hunger, the sadness, and a portrait of Mugabe, the tyrant who is the cause of it all. It is especially valuable because Godwin, born in Zimbabwe, is passionate and personal, as well as bold in his travel and scrupulous in his documentation." Paul Theroux, author of Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

"There is nothing on the subject of Robert Mugabe's terror state that comes even close to Peter Godwin's brilliant account. It took great courage to pursue this horror at close range, as Godwin did. This book will change utterly readers' perceptions of what is happening in this afflicted corner of Africa." Norman Rush, author of Mating and Mortals


UNA MEMBERS attend for FREE (reservation required)
Only UNA Members have the option of guaranteeing their seats to our events by making reservations in advance. Members attend most events for free, or pay the discounted Members' admission.

Not a member yet? Join for a $10 UNA student membership and attend ALL events for free!

NON-MEMBERS and Guests : $15
All non-members must purchase their tickets in advance to guarantee their seats OR join for a $25 introductory membership and attend for free
(or at Members' prices for special events)

Questions? Please call (212) 907-1353 or e-mail:

NOTE: Only UNA-NY Members have guaranteed seating to all our BookTalk events, and attend for free or pay the discounted Members' admission, while Student Members attend all events for free. Non-Members must purchase tickets in advance to guarantee their seats. While we do offer a pay-at-the-door policy for guests and non-members, our events are often sold-out, so we strongly encourage membership with UNA-NY to guarantee your seats! Why not take advantage?