Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe

The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe

4.5 14
by Douglas Rogers

See All Formats & Editions

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


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.

Editorial Reviews

Joshua Hammer
Rogers's tale is reminiscent of Peter Godwin's When a Crocodile Eats the Sun…This vibrant, tragic and surprisingly funny book is the best account yet of ordinary life—for blacks and whites—under Mugabe's dictatorship.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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.
Kirkus Reviews
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 fiancee. 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 ofMugabe 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. Author events out of New York

Product Details

Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.58(w) x 9.58(h) x 1.08(d)

Meet the Author

DOUGLAS ROGERS is an award-winning journalist and travel writer. He was born and raised in Zimbabwe and now lives in Brooklyn.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

The Last Resort: A Memoir of Mischief and Mayhem on a Family Farm in Africa 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
KimKirsten More than 1 year ago
I just finished this book last night and loved EVERY minute of reading it, I couldn't put it down, read it flat in a few days, and laughed out loud often, as I could identify with it ALL, I learnt quite a few new (and sometimes eyebrow lifting) things about Mutare (my own home town in Zimbabwe) -its history, the people (black and white) and more amazing insights about the author's parents and their very real and sometimes harrowing experiences living outside of our little town. From the minute I started reading it, it felt like I was watching the author's parents playing themselves in a movie and the author has painted the pictures of their experiences so vividly. This is an amazing contribution to telling a real Zimbabwean family's side of the story, from our little part of the world and eastern corner of Zim. When I finished the last page I genuinely shed a tear, out of immense pride for the amazing country we have come from and grown up in, and our experiences living there. This book isn't just of interest or relevance to only those with a background in Zimbabwe or Africa, but for anyone with an interest in how things have REALLY been for those living through the struggles in Zimbabwe these many years, providing deeper insight and respect for the people of Zimbabwe, beyond the "media circus" portrayed by mainstream media about Zim to date. This book is about conflict, integration and ultimately survival through a period of immense (and ongoing) unrest in a magnificent and once prosperous country. A thoroughly enjoyable read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RoseJM More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading this book and LOVED it. It was a compelling read that I couldn't put down, wanting to know how it would all end for his parents. I appreciated how the writer showed things from all sides, even when it was opposite from where he stood. In the end, it's like all things, complicated. My heart goes out to the people, black or white, who are struggling to survive in impossible situations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is absolutely wonderful! People can read the horrible news about Zimbabwe on the internet or in the newspaper, but until you read this book, you have no idea how bad it is. Douglas Rogers paints a vivid picture of the horrors of Robert Mugabe's dictatorship in Zimbabwe, through the eyes of the whites. Also, he doesn't give a simple "he's horrible, poor me" point of view. These people are living it every day. This book REALLY shows how Zimbabwe is. This book busts the western myth in Africa that Whites are bad, and blacks are good. But at the same time, it also busts the racist attitudes of some Africans. It shows that not all of the blacks are bad, but not all of the whites are good. It shows the depravity of the country as these horribly oppressed white farmers are beaten, tortured, and driven off their land. I would recommend this book to anyone, even Mugabe himself! This book should definitely be read in schools across the U.S.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Zoosh More than 1 year ago
The Last Resort by Douglas Rogers is fantastic! For those who have had the good fortune to travel to Zimbabwe, you will be transported back to the country. For those who have not (yet) had that opportunity, you will be drawn into an adventure that will make you laugh, cry, and hold your breath in anticipation. Beyond the adventure, this book is a 'must read' to raise awareness of the life that goes on here -- you will be grateful for what you have and, hopefully, touched and motivated to act for good when you see life from a different angle. A rare 'insiders' view of life in Zim. Outstanding on all counts!
Latte_Lady More than 1 year ago
I was a teacher in Zimbabwe in the late 1980's, so was very interested to see how this author presented his family's position. I thought the book was masterfully crafted to show a true series of snapshots of Zimbabwe. It is far too easy to portray Zimbabweans in Hollywood's simplistic vision of arrogant white colonizers and noble oppressed black Africans. Rogers demonstrates continually how complex are the relationships between the two races, to the point where black and white do not matter any more. The true conflict is between the oppressive, brutal, greedy Zimbabwe ruling elite and the rest of the population. As I finished this book, I hoped everyone in the U.S. and Europe would read this book, to finally understand that the black-white issue is null and void at this point. We have to hold those in power to the same standards of integrity that we hold our own leaders, and we have to look at every person for who they are and what choices they make, regardless of race or economic background. I recommend this book HIGHLY.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful memoir of a courageous family, who patently are just trying to do the right thing. The whole Continent of Africa wouldn't be in the mess it's in if more folks like this stayed and were listened to. One hopes that the end of Mugabe is near.
Flygirl More than 1 year ago
THE LAST RESORT drew me in from the very first sentence. Each word and thought the author shared in his writing captivated me the moment I started the book. Mr. Rogers has made the plight of his parents and country real for this reader. Not only did the author capture the struggles of a country but he captured the emotions a son has with his parents. It seems this author could not wait to spread his wings and fly away but he comes back as an adult and well traveled, if only for visits. It is evident in dealing with his father and mother he returned to them in a way a son can only do when he has grown up. The book is a page turner and one that haunted me into not putting it down. THE LAST RESORT is a book that I will read and read again. After finishing the book I reread the dedication page.It was a son's gift to his parents and the country he grew up in. Thank you, Mr. Rogers, for having me reflect about the cocoon I live here in America. It gives me a false sense of security that everyone is safe and we all know too well that is untrue. Your journey will continue and I hope there is a sequel and it brings good news. I challenge anyone that hungers for history, a man's love for his country and parents to buy this book and take the journey to the LAST RESORT.