In this spellbinding true story, a pair of award-winning CNN investigative journalists track down the mysterious French psychic at the center of an international scam targeting the elderly and emotionally vulnerable, resulting in an exposé of one of the longest running cons in history.
While investigating financial crimes for CNN Money, Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken were intrigued by reports that elderly Americans were giving away thousands of dollars to mail-in schemes. With a little digging, they soon discovered a shocking true story.
Victims received personalized letters from a woman who, claiming amazing psychic powers, convinced them to send money in return for riches, good health, and good fortune. The predatory scam has continued unabated for decades, raking in more than $200 million in the United States and Canada alone—with investigators from all over the world unable to stop it. And at the center of it all—an elusive French psychic named Maria Duval.
Based on the five-part series that originally appeared on CNN’s website in 2016 and was seen by more than three million people, A Deal with the Devil picks up where the series left off as Ellis and Hicken reveal more bizarre characters, follow new leads, close in on Maria Duval, and connect the dots in an edge-of-your-seat journey across the US to England and France. A Deal with the Devil is a fascinating, thrilling search for the truth and is long-form investigative journalism at its best.
Over the course of fifty-four years till the eve of independence, eight colonial pro-consuls governors for the British Empire pitched wit, passion and guile against under-celebrated, sometimes everyday Nigerians – Ahmadu Attahiru I, the Sokoto Caliph and his cavalry, who violently resisted British ouster and occupation; Eleko and the Lagos Chieftains, who first claimed they would “rather die than pay tax”… This is a story of Nigeria’s history as well as the history of Nigeria’s story. The other story!
Who was Kim Philby? Those closest to him—like his fellow MI6 officer and best friend since childhood, Nicholas Elliot, and the CIA’s head of counterintelligence, James Jesus Angleton—knew him as a loyal confidant and an unshakeable patriot. Philby was a brilliant and charming man who rose to head Britain’s counterintelligence against the Soviet Union. Together with Elliott and Angleton he stood on the front lines of the Cold War, holding Communism at bay. But he was secretly betraying them both: He was working for the Russians the entire time.
Every word uttered in confidence to Philby by his colleagues in the West made its way to Moscow, leading countless missions to their doom and subverting American and British attempts to subdue the Soviet threat. So how was this cunning double-agent finally exposed? In A Spy Among Friends, Ben Macintyre expertly weaves the heart-pounding tale of how Philby almost got away with it all—and what happened when he was finally unmasked.
Based on personal papers and never-before-seen British intelligence files, this is Ben Macintyre’s epic telling of one of the greatest spy stories ever, a Cold War history that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
For a country where heroes are hardly celebrated and epic football is almost forgotten, this book takes the reader on an enthralling historical excursion. The most detailed and certainly the best written account of the pre-Independence history of Nigerian football. Wiebe Boer has combined facts and figures with fluid prose in delivering a most engaging narration.
Amazing Grace tells the story of the remarkable life of the British abolitionist William Wilberforce (1759-1833). This accessible biography chronicles Wilberforce’s extraordinary role as a human rights activist, cultural reformer, and member of Parliament.
At the center of this heroic life was a passionate twenty-year fight to abolish the British slave trade, a battle Wilberforce won in 1807, as well as efforts to abolish slavery itself in the British colonies, a victory achieved just three days before his death in 1833.
Metaxas discovers in this unsung hero a man of whom it can truly be said: he changed the world. Before Wilberforce, few thought slavery was wrong. After Wilberforce, most societies in the world came to see it as a great moral wrong.
To mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the British slave trade, HarperSanFrancisco and Bristol Bay Productions have joined together to commemorate the life of William Wilberforce with the feature-length film Amazing Grace and this companion biography, which provides a fuller account of the amazing life of this great man than can be captured on film.
This account of Wilberforce’s life will help many become acquainted with an exceptional man who was a hero to Abraham Lincoln and an inspiration to the anti-slavery movement in America.
Berkeley, California, 1933. In a lab filled with curiosities–beakers, microscopes, Bunsen burners, and hundreds upon hundreds of books–sat an investigator who would go on to crack at least two thousand cases in his forty-year career. Known as the “American Sherlock Holmes,” Edward Oscar Heinrich was one of America’s greatest–and first–forensic scientists, with an uncanny knack for finding clues, establishing evidence, and deducing answers with a skill that seemed almost supernatural.
Heinrich was one of the nation’s first expert witnesses, working in a time when the turmoil of Prohibition led to sensationalized crime reporting and only a small, systematic study of evidence. However with his brilliance, and commanding presence in both the courtroom and at crime scenes, Heinrich spearheaded the invention of a myriad of new forensic tools that police still use today, including blood spatter analysis, ballistics, lie-detector tests, and the use of fingerprints as courtroom evidence. His work, though not without its serious–some would say fatal–flaws, changed the course of American criminal investigation.
Based on years of research and thousands of never-before-published primary source materials, American Sherlock captures the life of the man who pioneered the science our legal system now relies upon–as well as the limits of those techniques and the very human experts who wield them.
One of America’s most versatile writers, author of bestselling biographies such as Steve Jobs and Benjamin Franklin, has assembled a gallery of portraits of (mostly) Americans that celebreate genius, talent, and versatility, and traces his own education as a writer and biographer.
In this collection of essays, the brilliant, acclaimed biographer Walter Isaacson reflects on lessons to be learned from Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Henry Kissinger, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton, and other interesting characters he has chronicled both as biographer and journalist. The people he writes about have an awesome intelligence, but that is not the secret to their success. They had qualities that were even more rare, such as imagination and true curiousity.
Isaacson also reflects on how he became a writer, the lessons he learned from various people he met, and the challenges for journalism in the digital age.
He also offers loving tributes to his hometown of New Orleans, which offers many of the ingredients for a creative culture, and to the Louisiana novelist Walker Percy, who was an early mentor. In an anecdotal and personal way, Isaacson describes the joys of writing and the way that tales about the lives of fascinating people can enlighten our own lives.
Adélékè Adéeko documents Yorùbá patterns of behavior and articulates a philosophy of how to be Yorùbá in this innovative study. As he focuses on historical writings, Ifá divination practices, the use of proverbs in contemporary speech, photography, gendered ideas of dressing well, and the formalities of ceremony and speech at celebratory occasions
From a Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist specializing in the Middle East, this groundbreaking account of the Syrian Civil War reveals the never-before-published true story of a 21st-century humanitarian disaster.
In spring 2011, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad turned to his friend and army commander, Manaf Tlass, for advice about how to respond to Arab Spring-inspired protests. Tlass pushed for conciliation but Assad decided to crush the uprising — an act which would catapult the country into an eight-year long war, killing almost half a million and fueling terrorism and a global refugee crisis.
Assad or We Burn the Country examines Syria’s tragedy through the generational saga of the Assad and Tlass families, once deeply intertwined and now estranged in Bashar’s bloody quest to preserve his father’s inheritance. By drawing on his own reporting experience in Damascus and exclusive interviews with Tlass, Dagher takes readers within palace walls to reveal the family behind the destruction of a country and the chaos of an entire region.
Dagher shows how one of the world’s most vicious police states came to be and explains how a regional conflict extended globally, engulfing the Middle East and pitting the United States and Russia against one another. Timely, propulsive, and expertly reported, Assad or We Burn the Country is the definitive account of this global crisis, going far beyond the news story that has dominated headlines for years.
In an effort to tell the complete story of basketball in all its fascinating dimensions, acclaimed authors Jackie Macmullan, Rafe Bartholomew and Dan Klores have compiled nearly a thousand hours’ worth of interviews with a staggering number of basketball greats. They’ve talked to hundreds of legendary players, such as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Magic Johnson, and spoken with renowned coaches, including Phil Jackson and Coach K, as well as numerous executives, commissioners, and journalists. Most impressive was the extraordinary quality of the interviews. Again and again, players spoke candidly about secrets and told stories they’d never before discussed on the record.
The book that grew out of those interviews is an extraordinary project and quite possibly the most ambitious basketball book ever written. At once a defining oral history and something far more literary and intimate, this is the never-before-told story of how basketball came to be, and about what it means to those who’ve given their lives to the game.
For a hundred years GCHQ – Government Communications Headquarters – has been at the forefront of British secret statecraft. Born out of the need to support military operations in the First World War, and fought over ever since, today it is the UK’s biggest intelligence, security and cyber agency and a powerful tool of the British state.
Famed primarily for its codebreaking achievements at Bletchley Park against Enigma ciphers in the Second World War, GCHQ has intercepted, interpreted and disrupted the information networks of Britain’s foes for a century, and yet it remains the least known and understood of British intelligence services.
It has been one of the most open-minded, too: GCHQ has always demanded a diversity of intellectual firepower, finding it in places which strike us as ground-breaking today, and allying it to the efforts of ordinary men and women to achieve extraordinary insights in war, diplomacy and peace. GCHQ shapes British decision-making more than any other intelligence organisation and, along with its partners in the Five Eyes intelligence partnership-including the United States’ National Security Agency-has become ever more crucial in an age governed by information technology.
Based on unprecedented access to documents in GCHQ’s archive, many of them hitherto classified, this is the first book to authoritatively explain the entire history of one of the world’s most potent intelligence agencies. Many major contemporary conflicts-between Russia and the West, between Arab nations and Israel, between state security and terrorism-become fully explicable only in the light of the secret intelligence record. Written by one of the world’s leading experts in intelligence and strategy, Behind the Enigma reveals the fascinating truth behind this most remarkable and enigmatic of organisations.
In the early morning of April 14, 2014, the militant Islamic group Boko Haram violently burst into the small town of Chibok, Nigeria, and abducted 276 girls from their school dorm rooms. From poor families, these girls were determined to make better lives for themselves, but pursuing an education made them targets, resulting in one of the most high-profile abductions in modern history. While the Chibok kidnapping made international headlines, and prompted the #BringBackOurGirls movement, many unanswered questions surrounding that fateful night remain about the girls’ experiences in captivity, and where many of them are today.
In Beneath the Tamarind Tree, Isha Sesay tells this story as no one else can. Originally from Sierra Leone, Sesay led CNN’s Africa reporting for more than a decade, and she was on the front lines when this story broke. With unprecedented access to a group of girls who made it home, she follows the journeys of Priscilla, Saa, and Dorcas in an uplifting tale of sisterhood and survival.
Sesay delves into the Nigerian government’s inadequate response to the kidnapping, exposes the hierarchy of how the news gets covered, and synthesizes crucial lessons about global national security. She also reminds us of the personal sacrifice required of journalists to bring us the truth at a time of growing mistrust of the media. Beneath the Tamarind Tree is a gripping read and a story of resilience with a soaring message of hope at its core, reminding us of the ever-present truth that progress for all of us hinges on unleashing the potential of women.
Fifty years ago, Nigeria endured a period of violent disturbance leading to the breakaway of the Eastern Region under the name Biafra. The resulting conflict (1967-70) aroused shock and protests around the world because of mass starvation in the war zone. While Britain supplied arms to the federal
Nigerian government, and France to the Biafrans, relief agencies with contributions from countless individuals organized a memorable airlift of food and medicine to the Biafrans’ Uli airstrip.
Jonathan Derrick, then a journalist for the London weekly West Africa, followed these events closely and
recorded the war in the magazine’s news pages, right up to the federal forces’ final victory and the remarkable reconciliation between supporters of Biafra–predominantly Igbo–and other Nigerians. He later worked for some years in Nigeria, and has studied much of the material published on the war
Here, he recounts the history of the conflict as documented in West Africa, referring to later literature on and analysis of the events, which inspired passion at the time and have provoked debate ever since. His account deals with myths, misapprehensions and controversies surrounding the conflict, while recalling the tragic facts of a grim episode in African history.
In this vital re-examination of a shared history, historian and broadcaster David Olusoga tells the rich and revealing story of the long relationship between the British Isles and the people of Africa and the Caribbean.
This edition, fully revised and updated, features a new chapter encompassing the Windrush scandal and the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, events which put black British history at the centre of urgent national debate. Black and British is vivid confirmation that black history can no longer be kept separate and marginalised. It is woven into the cultural and economic histories of the nation and it belongs to us all.
Drawing on new genealogical research, original records, and expert testimony, Black and British reaches back to Roman Britain, the medieval imagination, Elizabethan ‘blackamoors’ and the global slave-trading empire. It shows that the great industrial boom of the nineteenth century was built on American slavery, and that black Britons fought at Trafalgar and in the trenches of both World Wars. Black British history is woven into the cultural and economic histories of the nation. It is not a singular history, but one that belongs to us all.
Unflinching, confronting taboos, and revealing hitherto unknown scandals, Olusoga describes how the lives of black and white Britons have been entwined for centuries.
The famous Benin Bronzes are among the most prized possessions of the British Museum. Celebrated for their great beauty, they embody the history, myth and artistry of the ancient Kingdom of Benin, once the most powerful in West Africa and now part of Nigeria. But despite their renown, little
has been written about the brutal act of imperial violence through which the Bronzes were plundered.
This incisive new history tells that neglected story: the 1897 British invasion of Benin. Diving into the archives, Blood and Bronze sets the assault on Benin in its late Victorian context. As Britain faced new commercial and strategic pressures on its power elsewhere, it ruthlessly expanded its rule in West Africa. Revealing both the extent of African resistance and previously concealed British outrages, this is a definitive account of the conquest and destruction of Benin. By laying bare the Empire’s true motives and its violent means, Paddy Docherty demolishes any moral claim for Britain retaining the Bronzes, and makes a passionate case for their immediate repatriation to Nigeria.
What happens after you click Tweet? The heart-stopping definitive account of the mission to rescue hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls whose abduction ignited a global social media campaign and a dramatic worldwide intervention.
In the spring of 2014, millions of Twitter users, including some of the world’s most famous people, unwittingly helped turn a group of 276 schoolgirls abducted by a little-known Islamist sect into a central prize in the global War on Terror by retweeting a call for their release: #BringBackOurGirls. With just four words, their tweets launched an army of would-be liberators. Soldiers and drones, spies, mercenaries, and glory hunters descended into an obscure conflict that few understood, in a remote part of Nigeria that had barely begun to use the internet.
When hostage talks and military intervention failed, the schoolgirls were forced to take survival into their own hands. As their days in captivity dragged into years, the young women learned to withstand hunger, disease, and torment, and became witnesses and victims of unspeakable brutality. Many of the girls were Christians who refused to take the one path offered them—converting to their captors’ fundamentalist creed. In secret, they sang hymns, and kept a diary, relying on their faith and friendships to stay alive.
Bring Back Our Girls unfolds across four continents, from the remote forests of northern Nigeria to the White House; from clandestine meetings in Khartoum safe houses to century-old luxury hotels on picturesque lakes in the Swiss Alps. A twenty-first century story that plumbs the promise and peril of an era whose politics are fueled by the power of hashtag advocacy, this urgent and engrossing work of investigative journalism reveals the unpredictable interconnectedness of our butterfly-wings world, where a few days of online activism can bring years of offline consequences for people continents away.