Africa south of the Sahara is a land of wide-ranging traditions and varying cultures. Despite the diversity and the lack of early written records, the continent possesses a rich body of folk tales and legends that have been passed down through the strong custom of storytelling and which often share similar elements, characters and ideas between peoples. So this collection offers a hefty selection of legends and tales – stories of the gods, creation and origins, trickster exploits, animal fables and stories which entertain and edify – from ‘Obatala Creates Mankind’, from the Yoruba people of west Africa, to ‘The Girl Of The Early Race, Who Made Stars’, from the San people of southern Africa, all collected in a gorgeous gold-foiled and embossed hardback to treasure.
The author of The Professor and the Madman, The Map That Changed the World, and The Perfectionists explores the notion of property—bought, earned, or received; in Europe, Africa, North America, or the South Pacific—through human history, how it has shaped us and what it will mean for our future.
Land—whether meadow or mountainside, desert or peat bog, parkland or pasture, suburb or city—is central to our existence. It quite literally underlies and underpins everything. Employing the keen intellect, insatiable curiosity, and narrative verve that are the foundations of his previous bestselling works, Simon Winchester examines what we human beings are doing—and have done—with the billions of acres that together make up the solid surface of our planet.
Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World examines in depth how we acquire land, how we steward it, how and why we fight over it, and finally, how we can, and on occasion do, come to share it. Ultimately, Winchester confronts the essential question: who actually owns the world’s land—and why does it matter?
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China is one of the oldest states in the world. It achieved its approximate current borders with the Ascendancy of the Yuan dynasty in the 13th century, and despite the passing of one Imperial dynasty to the next, it has maintained them for the eight centuries since. Even the European colonial powers at the height of their power could not move past coastal enclaves. Thus, China remained China through the Ming, the Qing, the Republic, the Occupation, and Communism.
But, despite the desires of some of the most powerful people in the Great State through the ages, China has never been alone in the world. It has had to contend with invaders from the steppe and the challenges posed by foreign traders and imperialists. Indeed, its rulers for the majority of the last eight centuries have not been Chinese.
Timothy Brook examines China’s relationship with the world from the Yuan through to the present by following the stories of ordinary and extraordinary people navigating the spaces where China met and meets the world. Bureaucrats, horse traders, spiritual leaders, explorers, pirates, emperors, invaders, migrant workers, traitors, and visionaries: this is a history of China as no one has told it before.
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
In this compelling story of lies, greed and tarnished idealism, two Wall Street Journal reporters investigate a man who Bill Gates, Western governments, and other investors entrusted with billions of dollars to make profits and end poverty, but who now stands accused of masterminding one of the biggest, most brazen financial frauds ever.
Arif Naqvi was charismatic, inspiring, and self-made—all the qualities of a successful business leader. The founder of Abraaj, a Dubai-based private-equity firm, Naqvi was the Key Man to the global elite searching for impact investments to make money and do good. He persuaded politicians he could help stabilize the Middle East after 9/11 by providing jobs and guided executives to opportunities in cities they struggled to find on the map. Bill Gates helped him start a $1 billion fund to improve healthcare in poor countries and the UN and Interpol appointed him to boards. As Pope Francis blessed a move to harness capitalism for the good of the poor, Naqvi won the support of Obama’s administration and investors, who compared him to Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible.
In 2018, Simon Clark and Will Louch were contacted by an anonymous whistleblower who said Naqvi had swindled investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars and offered bribes to sustain his billionaire lifestyle. Digging into the claims, Clark and Louch uncovered hundreds of documents and exposed the wrongdoing. In April 2019—months after their exposé broke—Naqvi was arrested on charges of fraud and racketeering, and faces up to 291 years in jail.
Populated by a cast of larger-than-life characters and moving across Asia, Africa, Europe and America, The Key Man is the story of how the global elite was duped by a capitalist fairytale. Clark and Louch shine a light on efforts to clean up global capital flows even as opaque private equity firms amass trillions of dollars and offshore tax havens cast a veil of secrecy which prevents regulators, investors and citizens from understanding what’s really going on in the finance industry.
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.
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.