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Land. Race. Murder. Betrayal. The true story of a case that broke a South African town - by BBC Africa Correspondent
At dusk, on a warm evening in 2016, a group of forty men gathered in the corner of a dusty field on a farm outside Parys in the Free State. Some were in fury. Others treated the whole thing as a joke - a game. The events of the next two hours would come to haunt them all. They would rip families apart, prompt suicide attempts, breakdowns, divorce, bankruptcy, threats of violent revenge and acts of unforgivable treachery. These Are Not Gentle People is the story of that night, and of what happened next. It's a murder story, a courtroom drama, a profound exploration of collective guilt and individual justice, and a fast-paced literary thriller.
Award-winning foreign correspondent and author Andrew Harding traces the impact of one moment of collective barbarism on a fragile community - exploding lies, cover-ups, political meddling and betrayals, and revealing the inner lives of those involved with extraordinary clarity. The book is also a mesmerising examination of a small town trying to cope with a trauma that threatens to tear it in two - as such, it is as much a journey into the heart of modern South Africa as it is a gripping tale of crime, punishment and redemption.
When a whole community is on trial, who pays the price?
Inspired by the fortunes and misfortunes of the Getty family, whose most extraordinary and troubled episode - the kidnap and ransom of grandson Paul Getty - is now a major motion picture, directed by Ridley Scott, from a screenplay written by David Scarpa and starring Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer and Mark Wahlberg.
Johannesburg was - and is - the Frontier of Money. Within months of its founding, the mining camp was host to organised crime: the African ‘Regiment of the Hills’ and ‘Irish Brigade’ bandits. Bars, brothels, boarding houses and hotels oozed testosterone and violence, and the use of fists and guns was commonplace.
Beyond the chaos were clear signs of another struggle, one to maintain control, honour and order within the emerging male and mining dominated culture. In the underworld, the dictum of ‘honour among thieves’, as well as a hatred of informers, testified to attempts at self-regulation. A ‘real man’ did not take advantage of an opponent by employing underhand tactics. It had to be a ‘fair fight’ if a man was to be respected.
This was the world that ‘One-armed Jack’ McLoughlin - brigand, soldier, sailor, mercenary, burglar, highwayman and safe-cracker – entered in the early 1890s to become Johannesburg’s most infamous ‘Irish’ anti-hero and social bandit. McLoughlin’s infatuation with George Stevenson prompted him to recruit the young Englishman into his gang of safe-crackers but ‘Stevo’ was a man with a past and primed for personal and professional betrayal. It was a deadly mixture.
Honour could only be retrieved through a Showdown at the Red Lion.
This is the gripping true crime story that inspired the major new Oscar-nominated motion picture which stars Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo.
The Foxcatcher estate, Pennsylvania, January 1996. Billionaire John du Pont fatally kills someone. After a two day siege at the ranch, du Pont is finally apprehended. It wasn't supposed to end that way. Du Pont had lured to his ranch America's top wrestlers, the brothers Mark and Dave Schultz, with the dream of building a world-class team. But as he grew paranoid and controlling, the brothers realised they were trapped. No one knows the inside story of Foxcatcher better than Mark Schultz. This book is a searing portrait of the relationship he and his brother had with du Pont, whose catastrophic break from reality led to tragedy.
Now a major motion picture, the incredible true story of these championship-winning brothers and the wealthiest convicted murderer of all time will be enjoyed by fans of Argo, Captain Phillips and American Hustle.
In 1932, the city of Natchez, Mississippi, reckoned with an unexpected influx of journalists and tourists as the lurid story of a local murder was splashed across headlines nationwide. Two eccentrics, Richard Dana and Octavia Dockery - known in the press as the "Wild Man" and the "Goat Woman" - enlisted an African American man named George Pearls to rob their reclusive neighbor, Jennie Merrill, at her estate. During the attempted robbery, Merrill was shot and killed. The crime drew national coverage when it came to light that Dana and Dockery, the alleged murderers, shared their huge, decaying antebellum mansion with their goats and other livestock, which prompted journalists to call the estate "Goat Castle." Pearls was killed by an Arkansas policeman in an unrelated incident before he could face trial. However, as was all too typical in the Jim Crow South, the white community demanded "justice," and an innocent black woman named Emily Burns was ultimately sent to prison for the murder of Merrill. Dana and Dockery not only avoided punishment but also lived to profit from the notoriety of the murder by opening their derelict home to tourists. Strange, fascinating, and sobering, Goat Castle tells the story of this local feud, killing, investigation, and trial, showing how a true crime tale of fallen southern grandeur and murder obscured an all too familiar story of racial injustice.
Meet Daisy De Melker, who 'lovingly' prepared a flask of strychnine-laced coffee for her son. She is very different from Najwa Petersen, who carefully planned a 'house robbery' to eliminate her musician husband. Chané van Heerden placed her victim's facial skin in the freezer for preservation, yet Phoenix Racing Cloud Theron wished to dispose of her mother's body before it was even cold. And Dina Rodrigues? She 'wouldn't harm a fly' - but then went and organised a hit on a baby.
Women are not paragons of virtue who cannot commit murder. Nor are they always insane when they do deliberately cause death. And the women with 'blood on their hands' are not homogeneous.
In Blood on Her Hands, award-winning journalist Tanya Farber investigates the lives, minds and motivations of some of South Africa's most notorious female murders, from the poisonous nurse Daisy de Melker, to the privileged but deeply disturbed Najwa Petersen, to the mysterious Joey Haarhoff, who died before revealing the fate of her victims. Written in a style lighter than the subject matter might suggest, Blood on Her Hands will keep you reading until late at night.
A single moment can change a life forever… A van full of men armed with AK47s is stopped by two policemen while driving through Bethlehem in the Free State. They open fire on the policemen and, from that moment, their lives are irrevocably changed. So to for Fusi Mofokeng, resident of Bethlehem, who was not at the scene of the crime but was the brother-in-law of one of the perpetrators. He is accused of being an accomplice and tried, sentenced and jailed.
Nineteen years later, in 2011, Fusi is released into a world that has changed beyond recognition, a world in which his mother, father and brother have all died. Throughout his incarceration he fought for his release, appearing before the TRC, and schooling himself in law. Even today, he seeks a presidential pardon.
It is to this life that award-winning author Jonny Steinberg turns his attention in One Day in Bethlehem. In examining the life and struggle of Fusi Mofokeng, Steinberg shines a searing light on the burden of the 'everyman' in his quest for justice. In doing so, he also captures a country as it violently sheds the skin of the past to emerge, blinking, into the modern era.
WINNER OF THE WINDHAM-CAMPBELL LITERATURE PRIZE 2013
WASHINGTON POST BOOK OF THE YEAR
At the end of a steep gravel road in one of the remotest corners of South Africa's Eastern Cape lies the village of Ithanga. Home to a few hundred villagers, the majority of them unemployed, it is inconceivably poor. It is to here that award-winning author Jonny Steinberg travels to explore the lives of a community caught up in a battle to survive the ravages of the greatest plague of our times, the African AIDS epidemic.
He befriends Sizwe, a young local man who refuses to be tested for AIDS despite the existence of a well-run testing and anti-retroviral programme. It is Sizwe's deep ambivalence, rooted in his deep sense of the cultural divide, that becomes the key to understanding the dynamics that thread their way through a terrified community.
As Steinberg grapples to get closer to finding answers that remain just out of reach, he realizes that he must look within himself to unlock the paradoxes at the heart of his country.
In January 1991, when civil war came to Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, two-thirds of the city's population fled.
Among them was eight-year-old Asad Abdullahi. His mother murdered by a militiaman, his father somewhere in hiding, he was swept into the great wartime migration that scattered the Somali people throughout sub-Saharan Africa and the world.
Serially betrayed by the people who promised to care for him, Asad lived his childhood at a sceptical remove from the adult world, his relation to others wary and tactical.
By the time he had reached the cusp of adulthood, Asad had honed an array of wily talents. At the age of seventeen, in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, he made good as a street hustler. He also courted the famously beautiful Foosiya and, to the astonishment of his peers, married her.
Buoyed by success in work and in love, Asad put $1 200 into his pocket and made his way down the length of the African continent to Johannesburg, South Africa. And so began a shocking adventure in a country richer and more violent than he could possibly have imagined.
A Man of Good Hope is the story of a person shorn of the things we have come to believe make us human - personal possessions, parents, siblings. And yet Asad's is an intensely human life, one suffused with dreams and desires and a need to leave something of permanence on this earth.
WINNER OF THE SUNDAY TIMES ALAN PATON AWARD
In the spring of 1999, in the beautiful and seemingly tranquil hills of the KwaZulu-Natal midlands, a young white farmer is shot dead on the dirt road running from his father's farmhouse to his irrigation fields. The murder is the work of assassins rather than robbers.
Journalist Jonny Steinberg travels to the midlands to investigate. It is clear that the young white man is not the only one who will die and that the story of his and other deaths will illuminate a great deal about the early days of post-apartheid South Africa.
Midlands is a triumph of literary investigative journalism.
WINNER OF THE SUNDAY TIMES ALAN PATON AWARD
On 9 June 2003, a 43-year-old coloured man named Magadien Wentzel walked out of Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town. Behind him lay a lifelong career in the 28s, South Africa's oldest and most reviled prison gang, for decades rumoured to have specialised in rape and robbery. In front of him lay the prospect of a law-abiding future, and life in a household of eight adults and six children, none of whom earned a living. Jonny Steinberg met Wentzel in prison in the dying months of 2002. By the time Wentzel was released, he and Steinberg had spent more than 50 hours discussing his life experiences.
The Number is an account of their conversations and of Steinberg's journeys to the places and people of Wentzel's past. Wentzel had lived a bewilderingly schizophrenic life, wandering to and fro between three worlds: the arcane universe of prison gangs, steeped in a mythology of banditry and retribution, where he was known as JR; the fringes of South Africa's criminal economy, where he lived by a string of stolen names and learned the arts of commercial fraud; and his scattered family which eked out a living int the coloured ghettos of the Cape flats. The Number visits each of those worlds in turn. It is a tale of modern South Africa's historic events seen through the eyes of the country's underclass.
Surprisingly, perhaps, it is neither a story of passivity nor despair, but of beguiling ingenuity and cool cynicism. Most of all, the book is an account of memory and identity, of Wentzel's project to make some sense of his bewildering past and something worthy of his future. When Steinberg met him, Wentzel was embarking on a quest to retrieve the name he had been given at birth. He was also beginning the daunting task of gathering together the estranged children he had sired into a nuclear family. It was an eccentric and painful venture for a man with his past, but it has led him to construct an account of himself that begs to be told.
In August 1952, the distinguished British scientist Sir Jack Drummond, alongside his wife, Lady Ann, and their ten-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, was brutally murdered on a roadside in rural France. Sir Jack, a well-known nutritionist who modernized the classification of vitamins and helped devise UK rationing in World War II, was on holiday with his family in the French Riviera when they stopped to make camp just off the road near a farm called La Grand'Terre in Provence. The family was found murdered the following morning. Gaston Dominici, the illiterate, seventy-five-year-old patriarch of the nearby La Grand'Terre was accused, convicted, and condemned to death by guillotine soon after. When Dominici was first convicted there was general agreement that the ignorant, pitiless, and depraved old peasant had gotten what he deserved. At the time, Dominici stood for everything backwards and brutish about a peasantry left behind in the wake of France's post-war transformation and burgeoning prosperity. But with time perspectives changed. Subsequent enquiries coupled with widespread doubts and misgivings prompted President de Gaulle to order his release from prison in 1960, and by the 1980s many in France came to believe--against all evidence--that Gaston Dominici was innocent. He had become a romanticized symbol of a simpler, genuine, and somehow more honest life from a bygone era. Reconstructing the facts of the case and setting it against broader social, economic, and historical currents in post-war France, The Dominici Affair sheds light on one of the most puzzling and notorious crimes of 20th Century France, illuminating an entire Rorschach of social dynamics in the country.
Clarence van Buuren is met 'n geheim galg toe. Vyftig jaar later probeer Chris Marnewick hierdie geheim oplos. Van Buuren is in 1956 skuldig bevind aan die moord op Myrna Joy Aken en tereggestel. Vroue het buite die hof in lang rye gewag om die verhoor by te woon en het mekaar vertrap wanneer die deure oopgegaan het. Van Buuren het met van hulle flirteer tydens die verhoor, en het tot op die einde skuld ontken. Die saak was opspraakwekkend om verskeie redes: 'n Siener het die lyk na 'n seance opgespoor, Van Buren en Aken was lovers, maar die lyk is seksueel vermink. Inligting dui daarop dat Van Buuren 'n narsissistiese psigopaat was en 'n sadis wat veral vroue geteister en gemartel het. 'n Emosionele vampier. 'n Sadistiese seksmoordenaar. Maar daar was niks hiervan in die hofsaak nie. Ook nie in die koerante nie.
"Wait till you read this book. It blew me away. . . . This is a must-read book. . . . This will be a movie." -Sean Hannity "George Papadopoulos was the whole reason for the Trump Russia investigation." -Mark Meadows, White House Chief of Staff A shocking account of international spy games and a disturbing eyewitness report on a secret double government-the Deep State-intent on destroying lives and a presidency George Papadopoulos became a national figure when he was called in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. His global network and clandestine meetings about Hillary Clinton's hacked emails made him the first target of Spygate, the Mueller Investigation, and the Russian Collusion Hoax. And it was a hoax, as validated by the Mueller Hearings-but first exposed here in Papadopoulos' historic account. As he explains in Deep State Target, American and allied intelligence services set out to destroy a Trump presidency before it even started. Papadopoulos faced a rogues' gallery of infamous figures employed by agents from the US, Britain, and Australia. Here, he gives the play-by-play of how operatives like Professor Joseph Mifsud, Sergei Millian, Alexander Downer, and Stefan Halper worked to invent a Russian conspiracy that would damage the Trump administration.
As seen on Discovery ID, these two true-crime thrillers follow a
neighbours' quarrel that turns violent and cyber-bullying that explodes
in a double murder.
The legendary FBI criminal profiler and international bestselling author of Mindhunter and The Killer Across the Table returns with this timely, relevant book that goes to the heart of extremism and domestic terrorism, examining in-depth his chilling pursuit of, and eventual prison confrontation with Joseph Paul Franklin, a White Nationalist serial killer and one of the most disturbing psychopaths he has ever encountered. Worshippers stream out of an Midwestern synagogue after sabbath services, unaware that only a hundred yards away, an expert marksman and avowed racist, antisemite and member of the Ku Klux Klan, patiently awaits, his hunting rifle at the ready. The October 8, 1977 shooting was a forerunner to the tragedies and divisiveness that plague us today. John Douglas, the FBI's pioneering, first full-time criminal profiler, hunted the shooter--a white supremacist named Joseph Paul Franklin, whose Nazi-inspired beliefs propelled a three-year reign of terror across the United States, targeting African Americans, Jews, and interracial couples. In addition, Franklin bombed the home of Jewish leader Morris Amitay, shot and paralyzed Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, and seriously wounded civil rights leader Vernon Jordan. The fugitive supported his murderous spree robbing banks in five states, from Georgia to Ohio. Douglas and his writing partner Mark Olshaker return to this disturbing case that reached the highest levels of the Bureau, which was fearful Franklin would become a presidential assassin--and haunted him for years to come as the threat of copycat domestic terrorist killers increasingly became a reality. Detailing the dogged pursuit of Franklin that employed profiling, psychology and meticulous detective work, Douglas and Olshaker relate how the case was a make-or-break test for the still-experimental behavioral science unit and revealed a new type of, determined, mission-driven serial killer whose only motivation was hate. A riveting, cautionary tale rooted in history that continues to echo today, The Killer's Shadow is a terrifying and essential exploration of the criminal personality in the vile grip of extremism and what happens when rage-filled speech evolves into deadly action and hatred of the "other is allowed full reign. The Killer's Shadow includes an 8-page color photo insert.
The astronaut crime that shocked the world. Star Crossed transports readers to the moment the news broke that one of America's heroes, an astronaut who had flown aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery just months before, had been arrested for a very bizarre crime. Lisa Nowak had driven 900 miles from Houston to Orlando to intercept and confront her romantic rival in an airport parking lot-allegedly using diapers on the trip so she wouldn't have to stop. Nowak had been dating astronaut William "Billy" Oefelein when she learned that Oefelein was seeing a new girlfriend-U.S. Air Force captain Colleen Shipman. The "astronaut love triangle" scandal quickly made headlines. The world watched as Nowak was dismissed from NASA, pleaded guilty to a felony, and received an "other than honorable" military discharge.An award-winning investigative reporter who covered Nowak's criminal case, Kimberly Moore offers behind-the-scenes insights into Nowak's childhood, her rigorous training, and her mission to space. Moore ventures inside the mind of the detective who studied the actions Nowak took that fateful February night. She includes never-before-told details of Nowak's psychiatric diagnosis, taking a serious look at how someone so accomplished could spiral into mental illness to the point of possible attempted murder. This book spotlights the often-overlooked psychological health of astronauts, exploring how they are cared for by NASA doctors and what changes have been made in recent years to support space travelers on long-term missions. Expertly told, Moore's story is a riveting journey inside the high-pressure world of one of America's most elite agencies and the life of one beleaguered astronaut.
On Valentine's Day 2008, Steve Kazmierczak killed five and wounded eighteen at Northern Illinois University, then killed himself. But he was an A student, a Deans' Award winner. How could this happen?
CNN could not get the story. The "Chicago Tribune," "Washington Post," and all others came up empty because Steve's friends and professors knew very little. He had reinvented himself in his final five years. But David Vann, investigating for Esquire, went back to Steve's high school and junior high friends, found a life perfectly shaped for mass murder, and gained full access to the entire 1,500 pages of the police files. The result: the most complete portrait we have of any school shooter. But Vann doesn't stop there. He recounts his own history with guns, contemplating a school shooting. This book is terrifying and true, a story you'll never forget.
Rebecca and Ronald Akins and their three daughters appeared to be a typical suburban family in 1970 Macon, Georgia, but the attractive facade hid a family in crisis. The girls suffered physical and emotional abuse at the hands of their mother. Although he worked two, sometimes three, jobs, Ronnie was never able to provide Becky with the money and lifestyle she wanted. After their 1974 divorce, Becky took the children to South Florida where she pursued a life of gambling and partying while her daughters were left to fend for themselves. But she wasn't content just living the high life in the tropical sun. Fueled by popular books and films, she wanted to live in what she believed was the exciting world of organized crime. So eager was she to do so that she changed her name and her daughters's to Machetti, a name she believed to be appropriate for the Mafia. In only a few months, she found not one, but two, men who joined her in her murderous fantasy which culminated in two deaths. The resulting legal proceedings went on for more than a decade and the Akins's three daughters were right in the middle of it, torn between fear of their mother and the desire to tell the truth. This is the story of Rebecca Machetti, a cold-blooded woman whose prosecutor described as ""pure evil"" and her three daughters who lived through years of abuse before finally finding peace and normal lives.
In the early hours of New Year's Eve 1969, in the small soft coal mining borough of Clarksville, Pennsylvania, longtime trade union insider Joseph "Jock" Yablonski and his wife and daughter were brutally murdered in their old stone farmhouse. Seven months earlier, Yablonski had announced his campaign to oust the corrupt president of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), Tony Boyle, who had long embezzled UMWA funds, silenced intra-union dissent, and served the interests of Big Coal companies. Yablonski wanted to return the union to the coal miners it was supposed to represent and restore the organization to what it had once been, a powerful force for social good. Boyle was enraged about his opponent's bid to take over-and would go to any lengths to maintain power. The most infamous crimes in the history of American labor unions, the Yablonski murders triggered one of the most intensive and successful manhunts in FBI history-and also led to the first successful rank-and-file takeover of a major labor union in modern U.S. history, one that inspired workers in other labor unions to rise up and challenge their own entrenched, out-of-touch leaders. An extraordinary portrait of one of the nation's major unions on the brink of historical change, Blood Runs Coal comes at a time of resurgent labor movements in the United States and the current administration's attempts to bolster the fossil fuel industry. Brilliantly researched and compellingly written, it sheds light on the far-reaching effects of industrial and socioeconomic change that unfold across America to this day.
What happens when the President of the United States engages in criminal activity? He runs for re-election.
Donald Trump's campaign chairman went to jail. So did his personal lawyer. His long-time political consigliere was convicted of serious federal crimes, and his National Security Advisor pleaded guilty to several more. Multiple Russian spies were indicted in absentia. Career intelligence agents and military officers were alarmed enough by his actions as President that they alerted senior government officials and ignited the impeachment process. Yet despite all this, a years-long inquiry led by Robert Mueller, and the third Presidential impeachment trial in American history, Donald Trump survived to run for presidency again. Why?
Jeffrey Toobin's highly entertaining, definitive account of the Mueller investigation and the impeachment of the President takes readers behind the scenes of the epic legal and political struggle to call Trump to account for his misdeeds. Toobin recounts the mind-boggling twists and turns in the case – Trump's son met with a Russian operative promising Kremlin support; Trump paid a porn star $130,000 to hush up an affair; Rudy Giuliani and a pair of shady Ukrainian-American businessmen got the Justice Department to look at Russian-created conspiracy theories. Toobin shows how Trump's canny lawyers used Mueller's famous integrity against him, and how Trump's bullying and bluster cowed Republican legislators into ignoring the clear evidence of the impeachment hearings.
Based on dozens of interviews with prosecutors in Mueller's office, Trump's legal team, Congressional investigators, White House staffers, and several of the key players, including some who are now in prison, True Crimes and Misdemeanours is a revelatory narrative that makes sense of the seemingly endless chaos of the Trump years. Filled with never-before-reported details of the high-stakes legal battles and political machinations, the book weaves a tale of a rogue President guilty of historic misconduct, and how he got away with it.
Chronologically recounting the story of history's silent assassin, Poison documents the gripping tales of the users and victims of these mysterious substances, from Cleopatra, the Borgias and Qin Shi Huang to contemporary secret service agents and terrorists. Profiles of the most commonly used toxins of each era reveal how the power-hungry, the dangerous and the desperate have harnessed these natural killers to achieve their ends. Poisoning is a dark art as old as human history itself. The Roman emperors used poison liberally to dispose of rivals, guests at Renaissance dinner parties were quietly assassinated with adulterated wine, and professional poisoners equipped murderous wives with toxic tonics for their husbands. In twentieth-century warfare, poisonous substances were used in new and awful ways to terrorize and obliterate both civilians and enemy forces. Today, in the search for the perfect covert weapon, shadowy figures deploy pernicious poisons which are almost impossible to trace. They are only the latest in a long line of experimenters: for the same poisons used to kill or injure others have been used throughout history as intoxicants, aphrodisiacs and even elixirs of life. As every amateur toxicologist knows, the difference between a poison and medicine is often simply the dose.
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