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The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe
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Published:
Crown 2009
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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.From the Hardcover edition.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
09/22/2009
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780307459848
ASIN:
B002PXFYIS
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Douglas Rogers. (2009). The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe. Crown.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Douglas Rogers. 2009. The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe. Crown.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Douglas Rogers, The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe. Crown, 2009.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Douglas Rogers. The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe. Crown, 2009. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • value: activism
      • value: Rhodesia
      • value: Justice
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      • value: Farming
      • value: Journalism
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      • value: Coming of age
      • value: settlers
      • value: Civil Rights
      • value: International Politics
      • value: Memoirs
      • value: Zimbabwe
      • value: race
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      • value: Sub-Saharan Africa
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      • bioText: DOUGLAS ROGERS is an award-winning journalist and travel writer. He was born and raised in Zimbabwe and now lives in Brooklyn.

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Crown
publishDate
2009-09-22T00:00:00-04:00
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title
The Last Resort
fullDescription
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.

From the Hardcover edition.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Alexandra Fuller, author of Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight
      • content: "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."
      • premium: False
      • source: Rian Malan, author of My Traitor's Heart
      • content: "I read it in one sitting. I loved it."
      • premium: False
      • source: Booklist
      • content: "As President Mugabe's regime turns belligerent toward white farmers, journalist Rogers witnesses the struggle of his family and others to hold on to their land....Rogers' decision to write about his parents' lodge and the people who find refuge there as violence erupts and the economy turns catastrophic brings him close to all kinds of people, black and white, from war veterans and politicians to farmers and squatters. Scrupulous in his documentation, Rogers talks to everybody about the way things were and what might come next....Brilliantly funny and wry."
      • premium: False
      • source: Wendy Kann, author of Casting with a Fragile Thread: A Story of Sisters and sAfrica
      • content: "Pitch-perfect, undeniably real, and, most important, achingly funny, Rogers deftly reminds us that after wiping away tears and even burying the dead, a good antidote to the violent, poignant, and completely absurd place that Zimbabwe has become is to throw arms wide to the undaunted African sky and simply laugh."
      • premium: False
      • source: Richard Dooling, author of White Man's Grave
      • content: "Travelogue, adventure yarn, political intrigue, tragedy, and high-wire journalism, The Last Resort is a love story about the author and his homeland, Zimbabwe. She is by turns ineffably beautiful, unspeakably hideous, insanely rich, desperately poor, democratic, brutally autocratic, violent, corrupt, and dysfunctional, even though, in person, her people seem to be, one and all, hardscrabble heroes and survivors. Rogers tries to leave her and doesn't even want to write about her, but, in the end, her charms are irresistible. He can't help himself and neither can we."
      • premium: False
      • source: Anne Landsman, author of The Rowing Lesson
      • content: "With breathtaking talent, wry wit, and abundant heart, Douglas Rogers tells the compulsively readable tale of his parents' daily struggles to hold on to their land in the nightmarish landscape of present-day Zimbabwe. With every turn of the page, you fear for the Rogerses' survival, as well as the survival of the country they love so much. But even as they face the most difficult of challenges, their indomitable spirit shines through, revealing the ordinary heroism of people in extraordinary circumstances."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from September 21, 2009
        Born in Zimbabwe, New York-based travel writer Rogers moves between two worlds with wit and grace while telling the dire-straits story of his childhood in Zimbabwe and his recent return. Zimbabwe's extremes of beauty and corruption will lure readers into the everyday struggle to preserve property and life against punishing weather, astronomical inflation, and the threat of other people. Angst, humor, beauty and terror mingle freely in his narrative: returning home he finds the family's backpacker lodge has become a brothel, and estates of "irises and tulips and acres of pruned white roses" have disappeared. He marvels at the "untamed roots of blazing flamboyant trees... buckling the city's pavement," the metamorphosis of the hardscrabble poor into diamond dealers, and his own parents: "instead of being crushed by this struggle, beaten down, they had been buoyed by it." This rousing memoir should win over anyone with a taste for exotic can't-go-home-again stories.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        August 1, 2009
        A Brooklyn travel writer returns to his South African homeland to rescue the family farm from imminent danger.

        Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Rogers kept his eye on the tumultuous political situation in his native land from afar, as white farmers, a small fraction of Africa's population, were routinely murdered or terrorized into surrendering their farm land. This posed a distressing situation for the author since his parents owned and operated Drifters, a backpacker tourist lodge attached to a farm. Rogers traveled from his London home in 2002 to pen an article on the upheaval, arriving in the midst of a presidential electoral scandal while the unrelenting land invasions continued to force thousands to flee. The stories recounted by his parents were horrific. Neighboring farms were being ambushed by"war veterans" violently reclaiming land under the auspices of President Robert Mugabe. By 2004, Rogers, now in his late 30s, had relocated to a middle-class Brooklyn neighborhood with his fiance. But things continued to degrade for his incredibly resilient parents, who found themselves surrounded by prostituting"settlers," illegal diamond dealers and a marijuana plantation, all while the secret meetings of the anti-Mugabe"Movement for Democratic Change" prospered. The author's parents' worst fears were confirmed when a family friend warned that a ruthless, powerful political commissar had moved in across the street—"an organizer, a militant, an idealogue, someone who might get the settlers riled up about more land and eyeing my parents' own home"—set to wreak havoc on the family business. Fortunately, some clever negotiating mediated disaster, and a unification rally energized the camp of Mugabe rival Morgan Tsvangirai. But more trouble awaited the farm, along with lots of legal wrangling and a bittersweet, disquieting conclusion. Though the second half of the book meanders and diminishes in urgency, the Mozambique frontier of the author's youth remains a deadly, perfidious place to behold, near or far.

        Eye-opening memoir weaving violent Zimbabwean politics with the camaraderie and fearlessness of a family in crisis.

        (COPYRIGHT (2009) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        October 27, 2009
        Although Rogers's home may be exotic-his family owns a backpackers' lodge in the African bush named Drifters-his story is the all-too-familiar tale of a son's midlife journey back to his roots. After leaving Zimbabwe to pursue a career as a journalist, Rogers comes back amid the violent land reclamation campaign of the 2000s. Despite arriving to protect his parents from Mugabe's corrupt war veterans, Rogers discovers his parents need no caretaking. Their passion for the country where their ancestors had lived for 350 years compels them to stay despite the government's efforts to evict all white citizens. At its heart, this is the story of Rogers's reacquaintance with his parents, two people he greatly misunderstood and underestimated for much of his life. Verdict Forreaders who have parents they struggle to understand; Rogers's journey of discovery will cause an acute twinge of love and pain in their hearts.-Veronica Arellano, Univ. of Houston Libs., TX

        Copyright 2009 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        August 1, 2009
        As President Mugabes regime turns belligerent toward white farmers, journalist Rogers witnesses the struggle of his family and others to hold on to their land. This is not simply a case of return to Britain, as Mugabe declares, because Rogers dates his African ancestry back 350 years. It is instead the story of all who love Zimbabwe. Rogers decision to write about his parents lodge and the people who find refuge there as violence erupts and the economy turns catastrophic brings him close to all kinds of people, black and white, from war veterans and politicians to farmers and squatters. Scrupulous in his documentation, Rogers talks to everybody about the way things were and what might come next. He fears an attack on his parents yet is bemused by their determination as they work on a cookbook called Recipes for Disaster as food becomes scarce. From dollars and diamonds to pot and prostitution, Rogers shows what survival looks like when your government loses its collective mind. Brilliantly funny and wry.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2009, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription

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...

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