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A riveting, action-filled account that sheds light on the realities of working in a war-torn country, this is the first book on the war in Iraq by a South African.
Johan Raath and a security team were escorting American engineers to a power plant south of Baghdad when they were ambushed. He had first arrived in Iraq only two weeks before. This was a small taste of what was to come over the next 13 years while he worked there as a private military contractor (PMC). His mission? Not to wage war but to protect lives. Raath acted as a bodyguard for VIPs and, more often, engineers who were involved in construction projects to rebuild the country after the 2003 war. His physical and mental endurance was tested to the limit in his efforts to safeguard construction sites that were regularly subjected to mortar and suicide attacks. Key to his survival was his training as a Special Forces operator, or Recce.
Working in places called the Triangle of Death and driving on the ‘Hell Run’, Raath had numerous hair-raising experiences. As a trained combat medic he also helped to save people’s lives after two suicide bomb attacks on sites he then worked at.
In 1934, eleven-year-old Shimon Peres emigrated to the land of Israel from his native Poland, leaving behind an extended family who would later be murdered in the Holocaust. Few back then would have predicted that this young man would eventually become one of the towering figures of the twentieth century. Peres would indeed go on to serve the new state as prime minister, president, foreign minister, and the head of several other ministries.
He was central to the establishment of the Israeli Defense Forces and the defense industry that would provide the young state with a robust deterrent power. He was crucial to launching Israel’s nuclear energy program and to the creation of its high-tech “Start-up Nation” revolution. His refusal to surrender to conventional wisdom and political norms helped save the Israeli economy and prompted some of the most daring military operations in history, among them the legendary Operation Entebbe. And yet, as important as his role in creating and deploying Israel’s armed forces was, his stunning transition from hawk to dove—with its accompanying unwavering commitment to peace—made him one of the globe’s most recognized, honored, and admired statesmen.
In this, his final work, finished only weeks before his passing, Peres offers a long-awaited examination of the crucial turning points in Israeli history through the prism of having been a decision maker and eyewitness. Told with the frankness of someone aware this would likely be his final statement, No Room for Small Dreams spans decades and events, but as much as it is about what happened, it is about why it happened. Examining pivotal moments in Israel’s rise, Peres explores what makes for a great leader, how to make hard choices in a climate of uncertainty and distress, the challenges of balancing principles with policies, and the liberating nature of imagination and unpredicted innovation.
In doing so, he not only charts a better path forward for his beloved country but provides deep and universal wisdom for younger generations who seek to lead—be it in politics, business, or the broader service of making our planet a safer, more peaceful, and just place.
The first definitive history of the Mossad, Shin Bet, and the IDF’s targeted killing programs, hailed by The New York Times as “an exceptional work, a humane book about an incendiary subject.”
The Talmud says: “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.” This instinct to take every measure, even the most aggressive, to defend the Jewish people is hardwired into Israel’s DNA. From the very beginning of its statehood in 1948, protecting the nation from harm has been the responsibility of its intelligence community and armed services, and there is one weapon in their vast arsenal that they have relied upon to thwart the most serious threats: Targeted assassinations have been used countless times, on enemies large and small, sometimes in response to attacks against the Israeli people and sometimes preemptively.
In this page-turning, eye-opening book, journalist and military analyst Ronen Bergman—praised by David Remnick as “arguably [Israel’s] best investigative reporter”—offers a riveting inside account of the targeted killing programs: their successes, their failures, and the moral and political price exacted on the men and women who approved and carried out the missions.
Bergman has gained the exceedingly rare cooperation of many current and former members of the Israeli government, including Prime Ministers Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, and Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as high-level figures in the country’s military and intelligence services: the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), the Mossad (the world’s most feared intelligence agency), Caesarea (a “Mossad within the Mossad” that carries out attacks on the highest-value targets), and the Shin Bet (an internal security service that implemented the largest targeted assassination campaign ever, in order to stop what had once appeared to be unstoppable: suicide terrorism).
Including never-before-reported, behind-the-curtain accounts of key operations, and based on hundreds of on-the-record interviews and thousands of files to which Bergman has gotten exclusive access over his decades of reporting, Rise and Kill First brings us deep into the heart of Israel’s most secret activities. Bergman traces, from statehood to the present, the gripping events and thorny ethical questions underlying Israel’s targeted killing campaign, which has shaped the Israeli nation, the Middle East, and the entire world.
Night after night, he guided the U.S. Navy SEALs through Iraq's most dangerous regions. A translator operating under the code name "Johnny Walker," he risked his life on more than a thousand missions and became a legend in the U.S. special-ops community. But in the eyes of Iraq's terrorists and insurgents, he and his family were marked for death because he worked with the Americans. Fearing for Johnny's safety, the SEALs heroically took it upon themselves to bring him and his family to the United States. With inside details on SEAL operations and a deeply personal understanding of the tragic price paid by ordinary Iraqis, Code Name: Johnny Walker is a gripping and unforgettable true story that reveals a side of the war that has never been told before. Includes a new afterword on the rise of ISIS
Now a major motion picture directed by Clint Eastwood.
From 1999 to 2009, U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle recorded the most career sniper kills in United States military history. His fellow American warriors, whom he protected with deadly precision from rooftops and stealth positions during the Iraq War, called him "The Legend"; meanwhile, the enemy feared him so much they named him al-Shaitan ("the devil") and placed a bounty on his head.
Kyle, who was tragically killed in 2013, writes honestly about the pain of war—including the deaths of two close SEAL teammates—and in moving first-person passages throughout, his wife, Taya, speaks openly about the strains of war on their family, as well as on Chris. Gripping and unforgettable, Kyle's masterful account of his extraordinary battlefield experiences ranks as one of the great war memoirs of all time.
Includes new material by Taya Kyle about the making of the American Sniper film.
David Ben-Gurion cast a great shadow during his lifetime, and his legacy continues to be sharply debated to this day. There have been many books written about the life and accomplishments of the Zionist icon and founder of modern Israel, but this new biography by eminent Israeli historian Anita Shapira strives to get to the core of the complex man who would become the face of the new Jewish nation.
Shapira tells the Ben-Gurion story anew, focusing especially on the period after 1948, during the first years of statehood. As a result of her extensive research and singular access to Ben-Gurion’s personal archives, the author provides fascinating and original insights into his personal qualities and those that defined his political leadership. As Shapira writes, “Ben-Gurion liked to argue that history is made by the masses, not individuals. But just as Lenin brought the Bolshevik Revolution into the world and Churchill delivered a fighting Britain, so with Ben-Gurion and the Jewish state. He knew how to create and exploit the circumstances that made its birth possible.”
Shapira’s portrait reveals the flesh-and-blood man who more than anyone else realized the Israeli state.
'Nothing like any book you've ever read' MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM 'A quite extraordinary novel. Colum McCann has found the form and voice to tell the most complex of stories, with an unexpected friendship between two men at its powerfully beating heart' KAMILA SHAMSIE Rami Elhanan's license plate is yellow. Bassam Aramin's license plate is green. It takes Rami fifteen minutes to drive to the West Bank. The same journey for Bassam, down the same streets, takes an hour and a half. Both men are fathers of daughters. Both daughters were there, before they were gone. Rami and Bassam's lives are completely symmetrical. Rami and Bassam's lives are completely asymmetrical. Unfolding its infinite sides one by one, framing the two men who stand at its heart, Apeirogon is an exhilarating, boundless new form, and confirms Colum McCann as one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. In a kaleidoscopic palimpsest scratched without end over an ancient city, it etches out a timeless question: how do we continue to live after the most precious thing is lost? Apeirogon: a shape with a countably infinite number of sides.
The deadliest animal of all time meets the world's most legendary hunter in a classic battle between man and wild. But this pulse-pounding narrative is also a nuanced story of how colonialism and environmental destruction upset the natural order, placing man, tiger and nature on a collision course. In Champawat, India, circa 1900, a Bengal tigress was wounded by a poacher in the forests of the Himalayan foothills. Unable to hunt her usual prey, the tiger began stalking and eating an easier food source: human beings. Between 1900 and 1907, the Champawat Man-Eater, as she became known, emerged as the most prolific serial killer of human beings the world has ever known, claiming an astonishing 436 lives. Desperate for help, authorities appealed to renowned local hunter Jim Corbett, an Indian-born Brit of Irish descent, who was intimately familiar with the Champawat forest. Corbett, who would later earn fame and devote the latter part of his life to saving the Bengal tiger and its habitat, sprang into action. Like a detective on the tail of a serial killer, he tracked the tiger's movements, as the tiger began to hunt him in return. This was the beginning of Corbett's life-long love of tigers, though his first encounter with the Champawat Tiger would be her last.
Is there an inevitable global violent clash unfolding between the world's largest religions: Islam and Christianity? Do religions cause violent conflicts, or are there other factors at play? How can we make sense of increasing reports of violence between Christian and Muslim ethnic communities across the world? By seeking to answer such questions about the relationship between religion and violence in today's world, Ziya Meral challenges popular theories and offers an alternative explanation, grounded on insights inferred from real cases of ethno-religious violence in Africa and the Middle East.
The relationship between religion and violence runs deep and both are intrinsic to the human story. Violence leads to and shapes religion, while religion acts to enable violence as well as providing responses that contain and prevent it. However, with religious violence being one of the most serious challenges facing the modern world, Meral shows that we need to de-globalise our analysis and focus on individual conflicts, instead of attempting to provide single answers to complex questions.
**FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE BESTSELLING PHILOMENA, MADE INTO THE AWARD-WINNING FILM STARRING STEVE COOGAN AND JUDI DENCH** Ayesha's Gift is the true story of a young woman, born in Pakistan, living in Britain, whose life is thrown into desperate turmoil by the violent death of her father. The Pakistani authorities talk of suicide, but why would Ayesha's happy, gentle father kill himself? Ayesha's quest to find the truth takes her away from her safe English existence and into Pakistan, where she is met with threats, violence and smiling perjurers. She is warned that her life is in danger; powerful, ruthless men have reasons to want her silenced. But there are things she needs to know, that compel her to press on with her search for the truth. Was her father an innocent victim? Can she continue to revere the image of him she grew up with, that of a good, loving parent? Or will she be forced to accept that her father was not the person she thought he was? As the two countries she had considered home reveal themselves as foreign and inimical, Ayesha is forced to confront the tormented issues of identity and belonging. When she travels to Pakistan, Martin Sixsmith goes with her. A shared tragedy and an unlikely friendship lead them both to question the things that give meaning to their lives, and ultimately find solace in the common human values of kindness and respect. `Written at thriller pace.' Telegraph `Wonderful ... What I find so striking about Ayesha's Gift is that it's a book in which the writer is changed by the writing of the book.' Andrew Marr
The incredible and inspirational true story of one young man's struggle to find peace during war, and the power of music to bring hope to a desperate nation. 'Ahmad has created a moving and visceral account of conflict, hope and the power of music' Hannah Beckerman,Observer ____________ One morning in war-torn Damascus, a starving man drags a piano into a rubbled street. Everything he once knew has been destroyed by war. Amidst ruin and despair, he begins to play. He plays of love and hope, he plays for his family and his fellow Syrians. He plays even though he could be killed for doing so. As word of his defiance spreads around the world, he becomes a beacon of hope and even resistance. Yet he fears for his wife and children - the more he plays, the more he and his family are endangered until, finally, he must make a terrible choice . . . Aeham Ahmad's spellbinding and uplifting true story tells of the triumph of love and hope, the incredible bonds of family, and the healing power of music in even the very darkest of places. ___________ 'In amongst the wreckage scenes of hope. An amazing man - Ahmad played the piano just to spread love' Jeremy Vine, BBC Radio 2 'An extraordinary, beautiful book about a man who in the midst of utter terror wheeled his piano in to the street and played for Yarmouk. He is amazing' Nihal Arthanayake BBC 5 Live 'The music of Aeham Ahmad became a symbol of resistance' Today, BBC Radio 4 'So inspiring' ITV News 'Aeham Ahmad is a talented and brave man of peace. Please read his book and pass it on to anyone who doesn't know or understand the plight of today's refugees' Stanley Tucci BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week
A timely and unprecedented examination of how the modern Middle East unravelled, and why it started with the pivotal year of 1979 'What happened to us?' For decades, the question has haunted the Arab and Muslim world, heard across Iran and Syria, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and in the author's home country of Lebanon. Was it always so? When did the extremism, intolerance and bloodletting of today displace the region's cultural promise and diversity? In Black Wave, award-winning journalist and author Kim Ghattas argues that the turning point in the modern history of the Middle East can be located in the toxic confluence of three major events in 1979: the Iranian revolution; the siege of the Holy Mosque in Mecca; and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Before this year, Saudi Arabia and Iran had been working allies and twin pillars of US strategy in the region - but the radical legacy of these events made them mortal enemies, unleashing a process that transformed culture, society, religion and geopolitics across the region for decades to come. Drawing on a sweeping cast of characters across seven countries over forty years, Ghattas demonstrates how this rivalry for religious and cultural supremacy has fed intolerance, suppressed cultural expression, encouraged sectarian violence, birthed groups like Hezbollah and ISIS and, ultimately, upended the lives of millions. At once bold and intimate, Black Wave is a remarkable and engrossing story of the Middle East as it has never been told before.
Vietnam became the Western world’s most divisive modern conflict, precipitating a battlefield humiliation for France in 1954, then a vastly greater one for the United States in 1975. Max Hastings has spent the past three years interviewing scores of participants on both sides, as well as researching a multitude of American and Vietnamese documents and memoirs, to create an epic narrative of an epic struggle. He portrays the set pieces of Dienbienphu, the Tet offensive, the air blitz of North Vietnam, and less familiar battles such as the bloodbath at Daido, where a US Marine battalion was almost wiped out, together with extraordinary recollections of Ho Chi Minh’s warriors. Here are the vivid realities of strife amid jungle and paddies that killed 2 million people.
Many writers treat the war as a US tragedy, yet Hastings sees it as overwhelmingly that of the Vietnamese people, of whom forty died for every American. US blunders and atrocities were matched by those committed by their enemies. While all the world has seen the image of a screaming, naked girl seared by napalm, it forgets countless eviscerations, beheadings and murders carried out by the communists. The people of both former Vietnams paid a bitter price for the Northerners’ victory in privation and oppression. Here is testimony from Vietcong guerrillas, Southern paratroopers, Saigon bargirls and Hanoi students alongside that of infantrymen from South Dakota, Marines from North Carolina, Huey pilots from Arkansas.
No past volume has blended a political and military narrative of the entire conflict with heart-stopping personal experiences, in the fashion that Max Hastings’ readers know so well. The author suggests that neither side deserved to win this struggle with so many lessons for the 21st century about the misuse of military might to confront intractable political and cultural challenges. He marshals testimony from warlords and peasants, statesmen and soldiers, to create an extraordinary record.
The explosive narrative of the life, captivity, and trial of Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier who was abducted by the Taliban and whose story has served as a symbol for America's foundering war in Afghanistan 'A riveting journalistic account of Bowe Bergdahl's disastrous - and weirdly poignant - choice to walk off his military base in Afghanistan ... A spectacularly good book about an incredibly painful and important topic' Sebastian Junger, author of Tribe and War Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl left his platoon's base in eastern Afghanistan in the early hours of June 30, 2009. Since that day, easy answers to the many questions surrounding his case--why did he leave his post? What kinds of efforts were made to recover him from the Taliban? And why, facing a court martial, did he plead guilty to the serious charges against him?--have proved elusive. Based on years of exclusive reporting drawing on dozens of sources throughout the military, government, and Bergdahl's family, friends, and fellow soldiers, American Cipher is at once a meticulous investigation of government dysfunction and political posturing, a blistering commentary on America's presence in Afghanistan, and a heartbreaking story of a naive young man who thought he could fix the world and wound up the tool of forces far beyond his understanding.
Beijing has several millennia of human history. It has been a city of regional importance for many centuries, first becoming the Chinese imperial capital in 1267. The city has been known by various names through the ages, reflecting a turbulent history of change. As the political and cultural heart of modern China, Beijing has grown dramatically since the Communist revolution of 1949. Beijing Then and Now shows how that dramatic modernization has affected the city and how, despite all the new building and modern infrastructure, some of the great historic sites have been preserved and maintained. Sites include: Deshengmen Arrow Tower, Qianmen Arrow Tower, Qianmen Gate, Entrance to the Imperial City, Mao's Mausoleum, Tiananmen Gate, Duanmen Gate, Entrance to the Forbidden City, Wumen Gate, Hall of Supreme Harmony, Jingshan, Beihai Park, the White Dagoba, Imperial Canal, Drum Tower, Beihai Lake, Bell Tower, Temple of Confucius, Hall of Classics, Imperial Observatory, Qianmen Boulevard, Hall of Prayer, Altar of Heaven, British Legation, Dong Tang, Marble Boat, Jade Belt Bridge, Ming Tombs, Spirit Road and the Great Wall of China.
`This is history bursting at the seams with English eccentrics and Indian gentry...the charm of Tunzelmann's approach is to restore her cast to full and vital life' Observer `A compelling narrative, sometimes controversial, occasionally perverse, never boring or unintelligent' Spectator Fully revised and updated for the 70th anniversary. The stroke of midnight on 15 August 1947 liberated 400 million Indians from the British Empire. One of the defining moments of world history had been brought about by a tiny number of people, including Jawaharlal Nehru, the fiery prime minister-to-be; Gandhi, the mystical figure who enthralled a nation; and Louis and Edwina Mountbatten, the glamorous but unlikely couple who had been dispatched to get Britain out of India without delay. Within hours of the midnight chimes, however, the two new nations of India and Pakistan would descend into anarchy and terror. Indian Summer depicts the epic sweep of events that ripped apart the greatest empire the world has ever seen, and reveals the secrets of the most powerful players on the world stage: the Cold War conspiracies, the private deals, and the intense and clandestine love affair between the wife of the last viceroy and the first prime minister of free India. With wit, insight and a sharp eye for detail, Alex von Tunzelmann relates how a handful of people changed the world for ever.
The people of the first nomadic empire left no written records, but from 200 BC they dominated the heart of Asia for 400 years. They changed the world. The Mongols, today's descendants of Genghis Khan, see them as ancestors. Their rise cemented Chinese unity and inspired the first Great Wall. Their heirs under Attila the Hun helped destroy the Roman Empire. We don't know what language they spoke, but they became known as Xiongnu, or Hunnu, a term passed down the centuries and across Eurasia, enduring today in shortened form as `Hun'. Outside Asia precious little is known of their rich history, but new evidence reframes our understanding of the indelible mark they left on a vast region stretching from Europe and sweeping right across Central Asia deep into China. Based on meticulous research and new archaeological evidence, Barbarians at the Wall traces their epic story, and shows how the nomadic cultures of the steppes gave birth to a `barbarian empire' with the wealth and power to threaten the civilised order of the ancient world.
They were the most famous sisters in China. As the country battled through a hundred years of wars, revolutions and seismic transformations, the three Soong sisters from Shanghai were at the centre of power, and each of them left an indelible mark on history. Red Sister, Ching-ling, married the `Father of China', Sun Yat-sen, and rose to be Mao's vice-chair. Little Sister, May-ling, became Madame Chiang Kai-shek, first lady of pre-Communist Nationalist China and a major political figure in her own right. Big Sister, Ei-ling, became Chiang's unofficial main adviser - and made herself one of China's richest women. All three sisters enjoyed tremendous privilege and glory, but also endured constant mortal danger. They showed great courage and experienced passionate love, as well as despair and heartbreak. They remained close emotionally, even when they embraced opposing political camps and Ching-ling dedicated herself to destroying her two sisters' worlds. Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister is a gripping story of love, war, intrigue, bravery, glamour and betrayal, which takes us on a sweeping journey from Canton to Hawaii to New York, from exiles' quarters in Japan and Berlin to secret meeting rooms in Moscow, and from the compounds of the Communist elite in Beijing to the corridors of power in democratic Taiwan. In a group biography that is by turns intimate and epic, Jung Chang reveals the lives of three extraordinary women who helped shape twentieth-century China.
The Horse Soldiers is the true, dramatic account of a small band of Special Forces soldiers who entered Afghanistan immediately following September 11, 2001 and, riding to war on horses, defeated the Taliban. Heavily outnumbered, they nonetheless succeed in capturing the strategic Afghan city of Mazar-e Sharif, where they are welcomed as liberators as they ride on horseback into the city, the streets thronged with Afghans overjoyed that the Taliban have been kicked out. The soldiers rest easy, as they feel they have accomplished their mission. Then the action takes a wholly unexpected turn. During a surrender of Taliban troops, the Horse Soldiers are ambushed by the would-be P.O.W.s and, still dangerously outnumbered, they must fight for their lives in the city's ancient fortress known as Qala-I Janghi, or the House of War...
Anthony Swofford's grandfather fought in WWII; his father fought in Vietnam; and he - a directionless, testosterone-battered teenager - became a scout/sniper in the marines and fought in the Gulf War. His account of that time is also part of a lineage - after Wilfred Owen, Norman Mailer, Michael Herr and Tim O'Brien, it brings the raw and searing tradition of soldiers' stories up to date. A harrowing yet inspiring portrait of a tormented consciousness struggling for reconciliation and peace, JARHEAD is authentic, revelatory and brilliantly crafted.
Guardian Book of the Day New Statesman Book of the Year History Today Book of the Year Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year BBC History Magazine Book of the Year 'Bustles impressively with detail and anecdote' -Sunday Times `Consistently fascinating' -The Spectator 'Beautifully written and deeply researched' -The Observer 'Barr draws on a rich and varied trove of sources to knit a sequence of dramatic episodes into an elegant whole. Great events march through these pages' -Wall Street JournalUpon victory in 1945, Britain still dominated the Middle East. She directly ruled Palestine and Aden, was the kingmaker in Iran, the power behind the thrones of Egypt, Iraq and Jordan, and protected the sultan of Oman and the Gulf sheikhs. But her motives for wanting to dominate this crossroads between Europe, Asia and Africa were changing. Where `imperial security' - control of the route to India - had once been paramount, now oil was an increasingly important factor. So, too, was prestige. Ironically, the very end of empire made control of the Middle East precious in itself: on it hung Britain's claim to be a great power. Unable to withstand Arab and Jewish nationalism, within a generation the British were gone. But that is not the full story. What ultimately sped Britain on her way was the uncompromising attitude of the United States, which was determined to displace the British in the Middle East. The British did not give in gracefully to this onslaught. Using newly declassified records and long-forgotten memoirs, including the diaries of a key British spy, James Barr tears up the conventional interpretation of this era in the Middle East, vividly portraying the tensions between London and Washington, and shedding an uncompromising light on the murkier activities of a generation of American and British diehards in the region, from the battle of El Alamein in 1942 to Britain's abandonment of Aden in 1967. Reminding us that the Middle East has always served as the arena for great power conflict, this is the tale of an internecine struggle in which Britain would discover that her most formidable rival was the ally she had assumed would be her closest friend. Reviews for A Line In The Sand:- 'Masterful' -The Spectator 'With superb research and telling quotations, Barr has skewered the whole shabby story' -The Times 'Lively and entertaining. He has scoured the diplomatic archives of the two powers and has come up with a rich haul that brings his narrative to life' -Financial Times
From the best-selling author of The Circle - the gripping true story of a young Yemeni American man, raised in San Francisco, who dreams of resurrecting the ancient art of Yemeni coffee but finds himself trapped in Sana'a by civil war Mokhtar Alkhanshali is twenty-four and working as a doorman when he becomes fascinated with the rich history of coffee and Yemen's central place in it. He leaves San Francisco and travels deep into his ancestral home to tour terraced farms high in the country's rugged mountains. He collects samples and organizes farmers and is on the verge of success when civil war engulfs the country. Saudi bombs rain down, the U.S. embassy closes, and Mokhtar has to find a way out of Yemen with only his hopes on his back. The Monk of Mokha is the story of this courageous and visionary young man following the most American of dreams. 'Extraordinary... No story is more urgent' Observer 'Dramatic, aspirational smartly and engagingly written... Exactly what I want to read right now' The Times 'The antidote to Trumpism... This is a book that celebrates [the] exuberance of the human spirit' Mail on Sunday 'This book... is about the American dream, and the threat that it is under' Spectator 'Remarkable... full of derring-do, tenacity and exceptional luck' Metro
For decades, large dam projects have been undertaken by both nations and international agencies with the aim of doing good: preventing floods, bringing electricity to rural populations, producing revenues for poor countries, and more. But time after time, the social, economic, and environmental costs have outweighed the benefits of the dams, sometimes to a disastrous degree. In this volume, a diverse group of experts-involved for years with the Nam Theun 2 dam in Laos-issue an urgent call for critical reassessment of the approach to, and rationale for, these kinds of large infrastructure projects in developing countries. In the 2000s, as the World Bank was reeling from revelations of past hydropower failures, it nonetheless promoted the enormous Nam Theun 2 project. NT2, the Bank believed, offered a new, wiser model of dam development that would alleviate poverty, protect the environment, engage locally affected people in a transparent fashion, and stimulate political transformation. This was a tall order. For the first time, this book shows in detail why, despite assertions of success from the World Bank and other agencies involved in the project, the dam's true story has been one of substantial loss for affected villagers and the regional environment. Nam Theun 2 is an important case study that illustrates much broader problems of global development policy.
The Prisoner in His Palace is an evocative and thought-provoking account of how the lives of twelve young American soldiers deployed to Iraq are upended when they're asked to guard the most `high-value detainee' of all, the notorious dictator Saddam Hussein. What the self-dubbed `Super Twelve' experience in the autumn of 2006 is cognitive dissonance at its most extreme. Expecting to engage with the enemy `outside the wire', they're suddenly tasked with guarding and protecting a notorious dictator until he can be hanged. Watching over Saddam in a former palace the soldiers dub `The Rock' and regularly transporting their prisoner to his raucous trial, they gradually begin to question some of their firmest beliefs. Rather than the snarling beast they expect, Saddam proves confoundingly complex - voluble, charming and given to surprising displays of affection. Perhaps most shockingly, in his Spartan stoicism and the courage he shows in facing death he eventually becomes a role model. Employing a timeline that switches between present and past, The Prisoner in His Palace contrasts the man entrusted to the Super Twelve's care - a grandfatherly figure who proves `good company' - with a younger version of Saddam who is unspeakably ruthless, views murder and torture as legitimate tools and constantly keeps those around him in a blind panic. The magic of this book is that Bardenwerper keeps us on edge even though we know how it will end. We immediately sense that the Super Twelve will be forever changed by their experience, and we wonder if we ourselves will. In this artfully constructed narrative, Saddam, the `man without a conscience', manages to get everyone around him to examine theirs.
THE TRUE STORY THAT INSPIRED THE NETFLIX FILM THE RED SEA DIVING RESORT. In the early 1980s on a remote part of the Sudanese coast, a new luxury holiday resort opened for business. Catering for divers, it attracted guests from around the world. Little did the holidaymakers know that the staff were undercover spies, working for the Mossad - the Israeli secret service. Providing a front for covert night-time activities, the holiday village allowed the agents to carry out an operation unlike any seen before. What began with one cryptic message pleading for help, turned into the secret evacuation of thousands of Ethiopian Jews who had been languishing in refugee camps, and the spiriting of them to Israel. Written in collaboration with operatives involved in the mission, endorsed as the definitive account and including an afterword from the commander who went on to become the head of the Mossad, this is the complete, never-before-heard, gripping tale of a top-secret and often hazardous operation.
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