House of Stone: The True Story of a Family Divided in War-Torn Zimbabwe by Christina Lamb.
What a wonderful book. Not a happy book. Easy to read, because it was very well-written. Difficult to read, because it hurt. It hurt in the way that so much of human history and human politics hurts to read about. House of Stone was written by Christina Lamb, a journalist who spent many years reporting on Zimbabwe, a woman who risked her life on many occasions because British journalists were banned from even entering the country. While I believe she was quite objective in her telling of this story, I also believe that she loves the people of this country.
The book tells the story of this southern African nation in a unique way. In alternating chapters, we hear the story of two Zimbabwean's lives. Aqui, a Shona who was born and grew up in a mud hut. Nigel, a privileged white who attended private school and spent carefree summers playing in the beautiful African landscape. We hear their stories as they grow from childhood into adulthood. Their personal stories through the times of brutal civil war, through the change from a white supremacist government to black majority rule, through the descent into tyranny by Robert Mugabe. And we eventually see their lives intersect.
I recently read a book titled Dictatorships: Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe by James R. Arnold and Roberta Wiener, so I had a background in the history and politics of this nation. But you don't need any prior knowledge, as Lamb's book brought a real richness to that background. The personal stories of Aqui and Nigel are put in the setting of fuller history of the nation.
Truly, I loved this book, and I highly recommend it. But be forewarned...your heart will break as read about Robert Mugabe's destruction of this beautiful African country. Your heart will break for the people of this country.
Eva of A Striped Armchair
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