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Terrorists' Tea Party

David Caute: Under the Skin: The Death of White Rhodesia; North-western University Press; Evanston, IL. 

David Caute's book on the fall of a white government and the triumph of Mugabein Zimbabwe contains neither an index nor sources. The events it de­scribes are almost entirely inside Rhodesia-Zimbabwe. By restricting his descriptions, Mr. Caute effectively evades mentioning a number of signifi­cant matters. This sort of sleight of hand is more common to journalists than to scholars; Mr. Caute was formerly a Fellow of All Souls, Oxford, a visiting professor at both New York and Columbia Universities. In other words, Mr. Caute knows better. He knows that a narrative that deliberately omits significant factors is inherently dishonest and misleading­ or at least he should know that.

The book is ostensibly based upon Caute's original dispatches from Rhodesia to Britain during the period from 1977 to 1980. It is plausible to assume that these dispatches were altered after posting. His book is replete with withering personal characterizations that, had they been originally published, would have barred Mr.Caute from Rhodesia, and would certainly have earned him a sound thrashing.

He describes K. van der Byl,Minister of Defense, as "a social snob" with "swinish good-looks." The Minister of Law & Order is characterized as being "a man with the...

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