IAN SMITH, Rhodesia's former Prime Minister, is a man with the power to excite powerful emotions in all who hear his name.
To those who revere him he is a hero, a mighty leader, a man whose formidable integrity led him into head-to-head confrontation with the Labour Government of Britain in the 1960s. To others he is a demon, a reactionary whose intransigence long delayed majority rule in all important corner of Africa. The truth, as this revealing and long-awaited autobiography reveals, lies somewhere between these two extremes.
Ian Smith's story begins in a small African town where he was brought up with a strong tradition of service to the community. Interrupting his university career, he fought for the RAF in the Second World War. He was shot down over Italy and escaped by hiking over the freezing Alps in his socks. He entered politics in 1948, shortly after the war ended. He vehemently believed that the plans of Whitehall were hot in the best interests of his people and finally declared unilateral independence. His dramatic rebellion against the Crown forfeited the support of the British establishment, but earned him the admiration of many ordinary people.
Smith devoted his life to defeating sanctions and the armed onslaught of African Nationalists. He finally managed to bring majority rule to Rhodesia in 1979.
His successor, Bishop Muzorewa, refused to be advised by Ian Smith and fell for the guile of Lord Carrington instead. The Marxist Robert Mugabe took over the reins of power shortly afterwards, exactly as Smith had warned he would. Ian Smith brings his story to the present day by detailing excesses of power by President Mugabe, and revealing the way which Mugabe has crushed his Matabele opposition to create the virtual dictatorship which exists in Zimbabwe today.