The Struggle for Zimbabwe: The Chimurenga War; The Struggle for Zimbabwe: Battle in the Bush

In This Review

The Struggle for Zimbabwe: The Chimurenga War

By David Martin and Phyllis Johnson
Faber and Faber, 1981
374 pp. $25.00

The Struggle for Zimbabwe: Battle in the Bush

By Lewis H. Gann and Thomas H. Henriksen
Praeger, 1981
154 pp.

With its wealth of documented information on the internal workings of the Zimbabwean guerrilla movements, the somewhat staccato historical narrative by Martin and Johnson, two long-time Africa correspondents, will fascinate and enlighten Zimbabwe-watchers. Particularly compelling is their account of the gradual ascendance of Robert Mugabe within ZANU's complex dual structures of military and civilian leadership. The authors' links with the leaders of Mugabe's ZANU group clearly shape their overall perspective, but their extraordinary access, in terms of interviews, internal correspondence and memoranda makes this more a primary source than a partisan account. In their study, on the other hand, Gann and Henriksen set out to tell the white Rhodesians' side of the story, explaining their motivations, reactions and effective military and economic strategies; they also endeavor, with less success, to do the same for the insurgents, whom they appear to view largely through mass media reportage. They do conclude firmly, however, that although the guerrillas' "war of the flea" came nowhere near a military victory, the Rhodesian security forces had no chance under any circumstances of stamping out the conflict.

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