Strange Trade by Asale Angel-Ajani
The Story of Two Women Who Risked Everything in the International Drug Trade

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The dialogue is cinematic but never melodramatic. And like the equally fine work of investigative reportage (or anthropological study) that it is, it tells the story in a way that never panders or condescends...
-NY Journal of Books

Synopsis

Strange Trade tells the compelling stories of Mary, a Liberian drug courier with a college education, and Pauline, a Ugandan wife, mother, and drug cartel boss. A leading expert on women and organized crime, Asale Angel-Ajani spent years interviewing these women in Italy's notorious Rebibbia Prison—and gained unprecedented access into the narcotics trade. Herself the daughter of a drug trafficker, Angel-Ajani brings a wrenching, deeply personal perspective to the account of these women's lives, and offers a nuanced understanding of the global context within which African women are entering the drug trade in ever-increasing numbers.

Strange Trade follows Pauline and Mary as they traverse three continents, survive wars, poverty, and shattered families, secure drug shipments, and commit murder. Angel-Ajani paints rich, intimate, and profoundly surprising portraits without glamorizing, sanitizing, or offering judgment. The result is an unvarnished journey into a world that, until now, has remained hidden; and a glimpse into the motives that led these women to risk—and ultimately lose—everything.
 

About Asale Angel-Ajani

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Asale Angel-Ajani earned her MA and her PhD in anthropology from Stanford University. She is the author of numerous articles and is the coeditor of the collection Engaged Observer. Angel-Ajani has traveled from West Africa to South America, witnessing the impact of drug trafficking and civil war on the lives of women. Before turning to writing full-time, she was a professor at New York University and the University of Texas at Austin. She is married and has two young children. This is her first book.
 
Published September 28, 2010 by Seal Press. 336 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction
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NY Journal of Books

Above average
Reviewed by John Desjarlais John Desjarlais on Nov 10 2017

The dialogue is cinematic but never melodramatic. And like the equally fine work of investigative reportage (or anthropological study) that it is, it tells the story in a way that never panders or condescends...

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