In 1920s Shanghai, Zhou Enlai founded the first Chinese communist spy network, operating in the shadows against nationalists, Western powers and the Japanese. The story of Chinese spies has been a global one from the start.
Unearthing previously unseen papers and interviewing countless insiders, Roger Faligot’s astonishing account reveals nothing less than a century of world events shaped by Chinese spies. Working as scientists, journalists, diplomats, foreign students and businessmen, they’ve been everywhere, from Stalin’s purges to 9/11 to Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. This murky world has swept up Ho Chi Minh, the Clintons and everyone in between, with the action moving from Cambodia to Cambridge, and from the Australian outback to the centres of Western power.
This fascinating narrative exposes the sprawling tentacles of the world’s largest intelligence service, from the very birth of communist China to Xi Jinping’s absolute rule today.
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.
A landmark historical investigation into crimes against humanity and the nature of evil
Vast and revelatory, Dan Gretton’s I You We Them is an unprecedented study of the perpetrators of crimes against humanity: the “desk killers” who ordered and directed some of the worst atrocities of the modern era. From Albert Speer’s complicity in Nazi barbarism to Royal Dutch Shell’s role in the murders of the Nigerian activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and the rest of the Ogoni Nine, Gretton probes the depths of the figure “who, by giving orders, uses paper or a phone or a computer to kill, instead of a gun.”
Over the past twenty years, Gretton has interviewed survivors and perpetrators, and pored over archives and thousands of pages of testimony. His insight into the psychology of the desk killer is contextualized by the journey he took to penetrate it. Woven into the narrative are his contemplative interludes―perspectives gleaned during walks in the woods, reminiscences about a lost love, and considerations of timeless moral conundrums. The result is a genre-bending work steeped as much in personal reflection as it is in literature and historical and psychological illumination.
A synthesis of history, reportage, and memoir, I You We Them is the first volume of a groundbreaking journal of discovery that bears witness to and reckons with the largest and most pressing questions before humanity.
Ruth Ben-Ghiat is the expert on the “strongman” playbook employed by authoritarian demagogues from Mussolini to Putin—enabling her to predict with uncanny accuracy the recent experience in America and Europe. In Strongmen, she lays bare the blueprint these leaders have followed over the past 100 years, and empowers us to recognize, resist, and prevent their disastrous rule in the future.
For ours is the age of authoritarian rulers: self-proclaimed saviors of the nation who evade accountability while robbing their people of truth, treasure, and the protections of democracy. They promise law and order, then legitimize lawbreaking by financial, sexual, and other predators.
They use masculinity as a symbol of strength and a political weapon. Taking what you want, and getting away with it, becomes proof of male authority. They use propaganda, corruption, and violence to stay in power.
Vladimir Putin and Mobutu Sese Seko’s kleptocracies, Augusto Pinochet’s torture sites, Benito Mussolini and Muammar Gaddafi’s systems of sexual exploitation, and Silvio Berlusconi and Donald Trump’s relentless misinformation: all show how authoritarian rule, far from ensuring stability, is marked by destructive chaos.
No other type of leader is so transparent about prioritizing self-interest over the public good. As one country after another has discovered, the strongman is at his worst when true guidance is most needed by his country.
Recounting the acts of solidarity and dignity that have undone strongmen over the past 100 years, Ben-Ghiat makes vividly clear that only by seeing the strongman for what he is—and by valuing one another as he is unable to do—can we stop him, now and in the future.
Most accounts of Nigeria’s colonisation were written by British officials, presenting it as a noble civilising mission to rid Africans of barbaric superstition and corrupt tribal leadership. Thanks to this skewed writing of history, many Nigerians today still have Empire nostalgia and view the
colonial period through rose-tinted glasses.
Max Siollun offers a bold rethink: an unromanticised history, arguing compellingly that colonialism had few benevolent intentions, but many unjust outcomes. It may have ended slavery and human sacrifice, but it was accompanied by extreme violence; ethnic and religious identity were cynically exploited to maintain control, while the forceful remoulding of longstanding legal and social practices permanently altered the culture and internal politics of indigenous communities. The aftershocks of this colonial meddling are still being felt decades after independence. Popular narratives often suggest that the economic and political turmoil are homegrown, but the reality is that Britain created many of Nigeria’s crises, and has left them behind for Nigerians to resolve.
This is a definitive, head-on confrontation with Nigeria’s experience under British rule, showing how it forever changed the country–perhaps cataclysmically.
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.