Once Upon a White Man - war and peace in Rhodesia and Zimbabwe. This book provides intriguing insights into the dilemma faced by African-born whites trapped by modern political revolution. The author's carefree youth is replaced by the perils of combat when he becomes entangled in the front-line of Rhodesia's vicious 1970's bush war. Wounded, he is airlifted to safety just as a deal is struck that will end white rule and give birth to Zimbabwe. However, the new nation struggles to embrace democracy and before long Robert Mugabe is dragging the place back into chaos. With his homeland again in flames, Graham w races desperately to save his family from ruin. Review: The author's attention to detail is as good as that of any best-selling autobiography. He remembers things that both racists and leftists would rather forget-- the culture of humiliation and violence that made Rhodesia unsustainable, and the ugly silence of world opinion that made it possible for Mugabe to get away with gecide and ethnic cleansing. Even though I've never been to Africa, this book tore me from my political views and made me think seriously about the goals of humanity (Avery Morrow)
Graham Atkins was just 9 years old when the British colony of Southern Rhodesia declared independence from Britain in 1965. Graham attended Churchill High School in Salisbury (now Harare). In 1979, just as the 15 year long bush war reached its zenith, he found himself conscripted into the Rhodesian army as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1RR battalion. Scrambling to avoid enemy bullets and grenades, he saw first-hand the tragedy of a nation at war with itself and the horrors it wrought on combatants and civilians alike. After the war, Graham worked in Zimbabwe first as a government town planner, then as a safari camp manager, and finally as a senior business manager in commerce. Like many, he was proud of his young nation's can-do attitude and the country's beauty and potential. However, hopes for lasting peace and progress in Zimbabwe were shattered when Robert Mugabe launched a pogrom against white farmers and the emerging black opposition. With the consequent collapse of the economy and law and order, some 4 million Zimbabweans fled the country, Graham and his family amongst them. He now lives in Perth, Australia.