Heidi Holland's biography of Robert Mugabe does something deeply unsettling - it makes one feel the dictator's pain.
Thabo Mbeki the enigma has become a clichÃ©. But so far there have been few attempts to fathom the man who in 1999 was given the impossible task of replacing Nelson Mandela.
The speech reworked familiar themes of a degenerate and imperialist west trying to force its values on Africa. "Perhaps a new kind of devil found in Britain is spreadingâ€¦ The devilish system in which a man marries another man makes them disregard natureâ€¦This is a rotten culture."
It has been raining for two weeks in Harare, with only an occasional respite for the city's graceful avenues to drip dry. For a country that has gone without heavy rain for several years, this is a turnaround.