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Idi and Me: 'The Last King of Scotland'

The late African dictator Idi Amin was never content with being called simply the president of Uganda. At news conferences, he favored more fanciful titles like Conqueror of the British Empire.

One name Amin gave himself, the Last King of Scotland, now serves as the title for a fact-based movie thriller.

The Last King of Scotland stars Forrest Whitaker as the charismatic -- and unfathomably murderous -- ruler. In the film adapted from a bestselling book by Giles Foden, the former Ugandan dictator's bloody reign is seen through the eyes of a young Scottish doctor who finds himself thrust into Amin's inner circle.

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Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.
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