The Pirates of Somalia by Jay Bahadur
Inside Their Hidden World.

88%

9 Critic Reviews

Bahadur has done his homework, and while one does wish for something of a wider historical context, his book should stand as a go-to text for those trying to understand modern Somali piracy.
-National Post arts

Synopsis

Somalia, on the tip of the Horn of Africa, has been inhabited as far back as 9,000 BC. Its history is as rich as the country is old. Caught up in a decades-long civil war, Somalia, along with Iraq and Afghanistan, has become one of the most dangerous countries in the world. Getting there from North America is a forty-five-hour, five-flight voyage through Frankfurt, Dubai, Djibouti, Bossaso (on the Gulf of Aden), and, finally, Galkayo. Somalia is a place where a government has been built out of anarchy.
 
For centuries, stories of pirates have captured imaginations around the world. The recent bands of daring, ragtag pirates off the coast of Somalia, hijacking multimillion-dollar tankers owned by international shipping conglomerates, have brought the scourge of piracy into the modern era.
 
The capture of the American-crewed cargo ship Maersk Alabama in April 2009, the first United States ship to be hijacked in almost two centuries, catapulted the Somali pirates onto prime-time news. Then, with the horrific killing by Somali pirates of four Americans, two of whom had built their dream yacht and were sailing around the world (“And now on to: Angkor Wat! And Burma!” they had written to friends), the United States Navy, Special Operation Forces, FBI, Justice Department, and the world’s military forces were put on notice: the Somali seas were now the most perilous in the world.
 
Jay Bahadur, a journalist who dared to make his way into the remote pirate havens of Africa’s easternmost country and spend months infiltrating their lives, gives us the first close-up look at the hidden world of the pirates of war-ravaged Somalia.
 
Bahadur’s riveting narrative exposé—the first ever—looks at who these men are, how they live, the forces that created piracy in Somalia, how the pirates spend the ransom money, how they deal with their hostages. Bahadur makes sense of the complex and fraught regional politics, the history of Somalia and the self-governing region of Puntland (an autonomous region in northeast Somalia), and the various catastrophic occurrences that have shaped their pirate destinies. The book looks at how the unrecognized mini-state of Puntland is dealing with the rise—and increasing sophistication—of piracy and how, through legal and military action, other nations, international shippers, the United Nations, and various international bodies are attempting to cope with the present danger and growing pirate crisis.

A revelation of a world at the epicenter of political and natural disaster.




From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Jay Bahadur

See more books from this Author
Jay Bahadur 's articles have appeared in The Times (London), The New York Times, the Financial Times, and the Globe and Mail (Toronto). He has advised the United States State Department and has worked as a freelance correspondent for CBS News. He lives in Toronto.
 
Published July 19, 2011 by Vintage. 320 pages
Genres: Travel, Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, War, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Pirates of Somalia
All: 9 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Good
on May 04 2011

A Toronto-based journalist debuts with a rare inside look at the pirates preying on tourist and commercial ships off the coast of Somalia...A nicely crafted, revealing report.

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NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by JOSHUA HAMMER on Aug 05 2011

A solution to the scourge of Somali piracy, as Bahadur’s brave and exhaustively reported book makes clear, won’t fall into place so easily.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Andrew Anthony on Jun 12 2011

...Bahadur seeks to explain how and why this spectacular outbreak of maritime crime occurred. But he does so with such fair-minded attention to competing arguments that in the end the picture is not a whole lot clearer than it was at the beginning.

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Blog Critics

Excellent
Reviewed by ToddT on Aug 11 2011

...is a new (July, 2011) and important book about the pirates themselves, giving readers a full-color view of their origin, their clannish culture, and their motives.

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NPR

Excellent
Reviewed by NPR on Jul 19 2011

Bahadur tells their stories, debunks myths and examines the rise of piracy off the Somali coast in his new book, The Pirates of Somalia.

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Globe and Mail

Excellent
Reviewed by DANIEL SEKULICH on Jul 22 2011

And he has turned his research into a compelling and insightful book that takes readers into the very communities that harbour these high-seas criminals to meet with many Somalis, including pirates.

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National Post arts

Excellent
Reviewed by Richard Poplak on Jul 22 2011

Bahadur has done his homework, and while one does wish for something of a wider historical context, his book should stand as a go-to text for those trying to understand modern Somali piracy.

Read Full Review of The Pirates of Somalia: Insid... | See more reviews from National Post arts

San Francisco Chronicle

Excellent
Reviewed by J. Peter Pham on Jul 24 2011

The result is the most creative of the book's 15 chapters, an essay titled "The Freakonomics of Piracy,"...

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National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Richard Poplak on Jul 22 2011

Bahadur has done his homework, and while one does wish for something of a wider historical context, his book should stand as a go-to text for those trying to understand modern Somali piracy.

Read Full Review of The Pirates of Somalia: Insid... | See more reviews from National Post arts

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