THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND

For a long time I thought that this book was an account of a real life situation. Till I started reading this book and read a bit around this book.

There are two main characters in this book. One is the Ugandan dictator and soldier Idi Amin, who made himself famous thorugh is atrocities and unorthodox methods in international diplomacy. The other is Nicholas Garrigan, a medical doctor from Great Brittain (sorry, Scotland!). He just finished his medical studies in Edinburgh and starts his work in a clinic/ small hospital in the western town of Mbarara. On his first night in Uganda Idi Amin takes over power and Obote is chased away.

We read about Nicholas’ day to day work in the medical world of Mbarara. One day he is called to treat the president after an accident near Mbarara. Shortly afterwards hge is called to Kampala to be the personal doctor of the president, next to that (but his main job) he works in a Kampala hospital.

Nicholas is intrigued and fascinated by Amin. This fascination draws him closer and closer to Amin, and when the world around him falls apart he stays at his work in the hospital and near Amin. He lives at the compound of State House.

Not only is Nicholas fascinated by Amin, there is a mutual relationship, not only due to the Scottishness of Nicholas.

This book makes a good read. Foden did a fair bit of research and some of the characters and situations of this book did remind me of the death of the Kenyan minister Bruce Mackenzie (1978) and the role of the Briton Bob Astles in Uganda.

The book has been turned into a movie. Forest Whitaker played the role of Amin to much acclaim.

Giles Foden – The last king of Scotland – 1998 

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