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Mugabe's War Machine (Hardback)

Saving or Savaging Zimbabwe?

Military > Post-WWII Warfare > Combat in Africa

By Prof Paul Moorcraft
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 208
ISBN: 9781848844100
Published: 19th September 2011


£15.00 RRP £19.99

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Author interview!

November 2017: Expert author Paul Moorcraft appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live and numerous BBC local stations discussing the events leading up to Mugabe's resignation

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Mugabe's dictatorship in Zimbabwe has survived only because of the vicious suppression of all internal dissent. At the same time, the dictator fought in external wars, regardless of the domestic costs. This revealing book tracks the rise of Mugabe and decodes his psychology in the context of Zimbabwe's military history. His leadership of a guerrilla army against white rule explains how Mugabe continued to rule Zimbabwe as though he were still running an insurgency. Mugabe used military power – the armed forces, militias, police and the dreaded Central Intelligence Organization – to enforce his will against a series of perceived enemies. Along with inflicting massacres in Matabeleland in the early 1980s, Mugabe's forces also fought a covert war against apartheid South Africa. A large army was sent to intervene in the civil war in Mozambique. After 1998 Zimbabwean troops engaged in the massive conflict in the Congo, dubbed Africa's First World War.

Domestically, Mugabe crushed all his alleged opponents from the Ndebele to white farmers, and then the media, judiciary, civic groups, churches, unions and homosexuals. The book recounts South African attempts to keep the current government of national unity alive, despite the growing oppression. It also considers how Zimbabwe can be saved from its own self-destruction.

Mugabe's War Machine is the first full account of one man's military ambitions. It contains shocking stories of massacre and murder at home and powerful accounts of neighbouring wars and international intelligence intrigues.

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An excellent read...hard to put down.

The Aegis Journal

The author of this timely and closely argued work belongs to that small but select band of scholar-journalists who combine the skills of reportage with impressive intellectual grasp of the complex issues they are despatched to cover by news hungry editors.
Over the years he has earned a reputation as an accomplished expert on the history of Rhodesia/ Zimbabwe, and the present offering provides a fine analysis of the country’s past and present with some pivotal insights on its future.
Moorcraft has written an invaluable study of a complex subject and it will be of considerable value to students of Zimbabwe in particular, but also those concerned with policy-making.

RUSI Journal, Oct/ Nov 2012

No one is better informed about Rhodesian and Zimbabwean military history that Paul Moorcraft, academic, war correspondent, former lecturer at Sandhurst and currently director of the Centre for Policy Analysis in London.
In his latest book, Moorcraft brings his history up to date by examining the make-up of Zimbabwean military since 1980.

Financial Mail, May 2012

Paul Moorcraft charts the story of Robert Mugabe’s rise to power after toppling the white government of Ian Smith in Rhodesia. Feted as Zimbabwe’s saviour, the leader initially cleaned up policing, improved education and strove towards a professional military with the aid of British mentoring teams. Following Mugabe’s first term in power, political in-fighting and tribal disputes began to destabilise Zimbabwe leading to corruption, hyperinflation and widespread atrocities. This is a very well researches offering…

Soldier Magazine, Jan 2012

In Mugabe’s War Machine. Moorcraft gives us the first complete, albeit controversial, narrative of Zimbabwe’s military history to appear in a single volume… All in all the book is a valuable addition to literature on Zimbabwe’s military history, for no other reason that it reveals a cogent narrative of Zimbabwe’s military history since independence.

African Armed Forces Journal, Sep 2011
Prof Paul Moorcraft

About Prof Paul Moorcraft

Professor Paul Moorcraft has written over 50 books, both fiction and non-fiction. Besides being a senior instructor at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, and then the Joint Services Command and Staff College, he worked for the UK Ministry of Defence in the Balkans and Middle East. A print and broadcast journalist in 30 war zones, the author worked extensively behind ‘enemy’ lines, most notably with Jihadists during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. He has worked with, and reported on, special forces in countries as far apart as Nepal and South Africa, as well as serving as an officer in Zimbabwe’s forces. His command of German, and later Hebrew, supported the initial research for this book. His fluency in Welsh has been useful too as some of the Jewish commandos lived and trained in North Wales and indeed sometimes successfully claimed to be Welsh when captured. The author has also worked in desert war zones, most recently during six trips in Darfur, Sudan, where he spent time with rebel groups and separately with Sudanese government forces
A fellow of the Royal Historical Society, he returned to his Welsh homeland in 2021.

Perfect Partner

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This fascinating book is the first to cover the little known C Squadron of the Special Air Service. Operating in Africa, the Squadron was involved in almost continuous counter communist terrorist operations over the period 1968 to 1980. In the unstable final stages of British colonial and white rule, the Squadron was never short of action. African nationalist movements, backed by Russia’s and China’s direct and indirect support posed a constant and deadly threat to the existing regimes. Small highly trained detachments of the SAS with highly developed bush warfare skills proved devastatingly…

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