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A riveting, action-filled account that sheds light on the realities of working in a war-torn country, this is the first book on the war in Iraq by a South African.
Johan Raath and a security team were escorting American engineers to a power plant south of Baghdad when they were ambushed. He had first arrived in Iraq only two weeks before. This was a small taste of what was to come over the next 13 years while he worked there as a private military contractor (PMC). His mission? Not to wage war but to protect lives. Raath acted as a bodyguard for VIPs and, more often, engineers who were involved in construction projects to rebuild the country after the 2003 war. His physical and mental endurance was tested to the limit in his efforts to safeguard construction sites that were regularly subjected to mortar and suicide attacks. Key to his survival was his training as a Special Forces operator, or Recce.
Working in places called the Triangle of Death and driving on the ‘Hell Run’, Raath had numerous hair-raising experiences. As a trained combat medic he also helped to save people’s lives after two suicide bomb attacks on sites he then worked at.
In 1934, eleven-year-old Shimon Peres emigrated to the land of Israel from his native Poland, leaving behind an extended family who would later be murdered in the Holocaust. Few back then would have predicted that this young man would eventually become one of the towering figures of the twentieth century. Peres would indeed go on to serve the new state as prime minister, president, foreign minister, and the head of several other ministries.
He was central to the establishment of the Israeli Defense Forces and the defense industry that would provide the young state with a robust deterrent power. He was crucial to launching Israel’s nuclear energy program and to the creation of its high-tech “Start-up Nation” revolution. His refusal to surrender to conventional wisdom and political norms helped save the Israeli economy and prompted some of the most daring military operations in history, among them the legendary Operation Entebbe. And yet, as important as his role in creating and deploying Israel’s armed forces was, his stunning transition from hawk to dove—with its accompanying unwavering commitment to peace—made him one of the globe’s most recognized, honored, and admired statesmen.
In this, his final work, finished only weeks before his passing, Peres offers a long-awaited examination of the crucial turning points in Israeli history through the prism of having been a decision maker and eyewitness. Told with the frankness of someone aware this would likely be his final statement, No Room for Small Dreams spans decades and events, but as much as it is about what happened, it is about why it happened. Examining pivotal moments in Israel’s rise, Peres explores what makes for a great leader, how to make hard choices in a climate of uncertainty and distress, the challenges of balancing principles with policies, and the liberating nature of imagination and unpredicted innovation.
In doing so, he not only charts a better path forward for his beloved country but provides deep and universal wisdom for younger generations who seek to lead—be it in politics, business, or the broader service of making our planet a safer, more peaceful, and just place.
The first definitive history of the Mossad, Shin Bet, and the IDF’s targeted killing programs, hailed by The New York Times as “an exceptional work, a humane book about an incendiary subject.”
The Talmud says: “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.” This instinct to take every measure, even the most aggressive, to defend the Jewish people is hardwired into Israel’s DNA. From the very beginning of its statehood in 1948, protecting the nation from harm has been the responsibility of its intelligence community and armed services, and there is one weapon in their vast arsenal that they have relied upon to thwart the most serious threats: Targeted assassinations have been used countless times, on enemies large and small, sometimes in response to attacks against the Israeli people and sometimes preemptively.
In this page-turning, eye-opening book, journalist and military analyst Ronen Bergman—praised by David Remnick as “arguably [Israel’s] best investigative reporter”—offers a riveting inside account of the targeted killing programs: their successes, their failures, and the moral and political price exacted on the men and women who approved and carried out the missions.
Bergman has gained the exceedingly rare cooperation of many current and former members of the Israeli government, including Prime Ministers Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, and Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as high-level figures in the country’s military and intelligence services: the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), the Mossad (the world’s most feared intelligence agency), Caesarea (a “Mossad within the Mossad” that carries out attacks on the highest-value targets), and the Shin Bet (an internal security service that implemented the largest targeted assassination campaign ever, in order to stop what had once appeared to be unstoppable: suicide terrorism).
Including never-before-reported, behind-the-curtain accounts of key operations, and based on hundreds of on-the-record interviews and thousands of files to which Bergman has gotten exclusive access over his decades of reporting, Rise and Kill First brings us deep into the heart of Israel’s most secret activities. Bergman traces, from statehood to the present, the gripping events and thorny ethical questions underlying Israel’s targeted killing campaign, which has shaped the Israeli nation, the Middle East, and the entire world.
Now a major motion picture directed by Clint Eastwood.
From 1999 to 2009, U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle recorded the most career sniper kills in United States military history. His fellow American warriors, whom he protected with deadly precision from rooftops and stealth positions during the Iraq War, called him "The Legend"; meanwhile, the enemy feared him so much they named him al-Shaitan ("the devil") and placed a bounty on his head.
Kyle, who was tragically killed in 2013, writes honestly about the pain of war—including the deaths of two close SEAL teammates—and in moving first-person passages throughout, his wife, Taya, speaks openly about the strains of war on their family, as well as on Chris. Gripping and unforgettable, Kyle's masterful account of his extraordinary battlefield experiences ranks as one of the great war memoirs of all time.
Includes new material by Taya Kyle about the making of the American Sniper film.
David Ben-Gurion cast a great shadow during his lifetime, and his legacy continues to be sharply debated to this day. There have been many books written about the life and accomplishments of the Zionist icon and founder of modern Israel, but this new biography by eminent Israeli historian Anita Shapira strives to get to the core of the complex man who would become the face of the new Jewish nation.
Shapira tells the Ben-Gurion story anew, focusing especially on the period after 1948, during the first years of statehood. As a result of her extensive research and singular access to Ben-Gurion’s personal archives, the author provides fascinating and original insights into his personal qualities and those that defined his political leadership. As Shapira writes, “Ben-Gurion liked to argue that history is made by the masses, not individuals. But just as Lenin brought the Bolshevik Revolution into the world and Churchill delivered a fighting Britain, so with Ben-Gurion and the Jewish state. He knew how to create and exploit the circumstances that made its birth possible.”
Shapira’s portrait reveals the flesh-and-blood man who more than anyone else realized the Israeli state.
From the former editor in chief of "Haaretz", comes the first in-depth, comprehensive biography of Ariel Sharon, the most dramatic and imposing Israeli political and military leader of the last forty years.
The life of Ariel Sharon spans much of modern Israel's history. A commander in the Israeli Army from its inception in 1948, Sharon participated in the 1948 War of Independence, played decisive roles in the 1956 Suez War and the Six-Day War of 1967, and is credited here with the shift in the outcome of the Yom Kippur War of 1973.
After leaving the professional army, Sharon became a political leader and served in numerous governments, most prominently as the defense minister during the 1982 Lebanon War in which he bore "personal responsibility," according to the state's commission of inquiry, for massacres of Palestinian civilians by Lebanese militia. As a general and as a politician, he championed the construction of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. But as prime minister, he performed a dramatic reversal: orchestrating Israel's unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip.
Landau brilliantly chronicles Sharon's surprising about-face, combining the immediacy of firsthand reportage with the analysis and independent insight of a historian's perspective. Sharon suffered a stroke in January 2006 and remains in a persistent vegetative state. This biography recounts the life of the man who is considered by many to be Israel's greatest military leader and political statesman, illustrating how Sharon's leadership transformed Israel, and how his views were shaped by the changing nature of Israeli society.
Is there an inevitable global violent clash unfolding between the world's largest religions: Islam and Christianity? Do religions cause violent conflicts, or are there other factors at play? How can we make sense of increasing reports of violence between Christian and Muslim ethnic communities across the world? By seeking to answer such questions about the relationship between religion and violence in today's world, Ziya Meral challenges popular theories and offers an alternative explanation, grounded on insights inferred from real cases of ethno-religious violence in Africa and the Middle East.
The relationship between religion and violence runs deep and both are intrinsic to the human story. Violence leads to and shapes religion, while religion acts to enable violence as well as providing responses that contain and prevent it. However, with religious violence being one of the most serious challenges facing the modern world, Meral shows that we need to de-globalise our analysis and focus on individual conflicts, instead of attempting to provide single answers to complex questions.
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER `His masterpiece' Antony Beevor, Spectator `A masterful performance' Sunday Times `By far the best book on the Vietnam War' Gerald Degroot, The Times, Book of the Year Vietnam became the Western world's most divisive modern conflict, precipitating a battlefield humiliation for France in 1954, then a vastly greater one for the United States in 1975. Max Hastings has spent the past three years interviewing scores of participants on both sides, as well as researching a multitude of American and Vietnamese documents and memoirs, to create an epic narrative of an epic struggle. He portrays the set pieces of Dienbienphu, the Tet offensive, the air blitz of North Vietnam, and less familiar battles such as the bloodbath at Daido, where a US Marine battalion was almost wiped out, together with extraordinary recollections of Ho Chi Minh's warriors. Here are the vivid realities of strife amid jungle and paddies that killed 2 million people. Many writers treat the war as a US tragedy, yet Hastings sees it as overwhelmingly that of the Vietnamese people, of whom forty died for every American. US blunders and atrocities were matched by those committed by their enemies. While all the world has seen the image of a screaming, naked girl seared by napalm, it forgets countless eviscerations, beheadings and murders carried out by the communists. The people of both former Vietnams paid a bitter price for the Northerners' victory in privation and oppression. Here is testimony from Vietcong guerrillas, Southern paratroopers, Saigon bargirls and Hanoi students alongside that of infantrymen from South Dakota, Marines from North Carolina, Huey pilots from Arkansas. No past volume has blended a political and military narrative of the entire conflict with heart-stopping personal experiences, in the fashion that Max Hastings' readers know so well. The author suggests that neither side deserved to win this struggle with so many lessons for the 21st century about the misuse of military might to confront intractable political and cultural challenges. He marshals testimony from warlords and peasants, statesmen and soldiers, to create an extraordinary record.
Vietnam became the Western world’s most divisive modern conflict, precipitating a battlefield humiliation for France in 1954, then a vastly greater one for the United States in 1975. Max Hastings has spent the past three years interviewing scores of participants on both sides, as well as researching a multitude of American and Vietnamese documents and memoirs, to create an epic narrative of an epic struggle. He portrays the set pieces of Dienbienphu, the Tet offensive, the air blitz of North Vietnam, and less familiar battles such as the bloodbath at Daido, where a US Marine battalion was almost wiped out, together with extraordinary recollections of Ho Chi Minh’s warriors. Here are the vivid realities of strife amid jungle and paddies that killed 2 million people.
Many writers treat the war as a US tragedy, yet Hastings sees it as overwhelmingly that of the Vietnamese people, of whom forty died for every American. US blunders and atrocities were matched by those committed by their enemies. While all the world has seen the image of a screaming, naked girl seared by napalm, it forgets countless eviscerations, beheadings and murders carried out by the communists. The people of both former Vietnams paid a bitter price for the Northerners’ victory in privation and oppression. Here is testimony from Vietcong guerrillas, Southern paratroopers, Saigon bargirls and Hanoi students alongside that of infantrymen from South Dakota, Marines from North Carolina, Huey pilots from Arkansas.
No past volume has blended a political and military narrative of the entire conflict with heart-stopping personal experiences, in the fashion that Max Hastings’ readers know so well. The author suggests that neither side deserved to win this struggle with so many lessons for the 21st century about the misuse of military might to confront intractable political and cultural challenges. He marshals testimony from warlords and peasants, statesmen and soldiers, to create an extraordinary record.
Every war has its "bridge"--Old North Bridge at Concord, Burnside's Bridge at Antietam, the railway bridge over Burma's River Kwai, the bridge over Germany's Rhine River at Remagen, and the bridges over Korea's Toko Ri. In Vietnam it was the bridge at Thanh Hoa, called Dragon's Jaw. For seven long years hundreds of young US airmen flew sortie after sortie against North Vietnam's formidable and strategically important bridge, dodging a heavy concentration of anti-aircraft fire and enemy MiG planes. Many American airmen were shot down, killed, or captured and taken to the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" POW camp. But after each air attack, when the smoke cleared and the debris settled, the bridge stubbornly remained standing. For the North Vietnamese it became a symbol of their invincibility; for US war planners an obsession; for US airmen a testament to American mettle and valor. Using after-action reports, official records, and interviews with surviving pilots, as well as untapped Vietnamese sources, Dragon's Jaw chronicles American efforts to destroy the bridge, strike by bloody strike, putting readers into the cockpits, under fire. The story of the Dragon's Jaw is a story rich in bravery, courage, audacity, and sometimes luck, sometimes tragedy. The "bridge" story of Vietnam is an epic tale of war against a determined foe.
The moving story of one young man's struggle to find peace during war, and the power of music to bring hope to a desperate nation. BBC Radio 4 'Book of the Week' __________ A man, a piano, a Syrian street under siege . . . One morning on the outskirts of war-torn Damascus, a starving man stumbles through a once familiar street - now just piles of rubble. Everything he once knew has been destroyed by famine and war. In despair he turns to his only comfort and joy, music, and pushes his piano into the street and begins to play. He plays of love and hope, he plays for his family and for his fellow Syrians. He plays even though he knows he could be killed for doing so. As word of his act of defiance spreads around the world, he becomes a beacon of hope and even resistance. Yet he fears for his wife and children, his elderly parents. And he is right to be scared, because the more he plays, the more he and his family are drawn into danger. Finally he is forced to make a terrible choice - between staying and waiting to die, or saving himself, but this would mean abandoning his family . . . Aeham Ahmad's spellbinding and uplifting true story tells of the triumph of love and hope, of the incredible bonds of family, and the healing power of music in even the very darkest of places.
The deadliest animal of all time meets the world's most legendary hunter in a classic battle between man and wild. But this pulse-pounding narrative is also a nuanced story of how colonialism and environmental destruction upset the natural order, placing man, tiger and nature on a collision course. In Champawat, India, circa 1900, a Bengal tigress was wounded by a poacher in the forests of the Himalayan foothills. Unable to hunt her usual prey, the tiger began stalking and eating an easier food source: human beings. Between 1900 and 1907, the Champawat Man-Eater, as she became known, emerged as the most prolific serial killer of human beings the world has ever known, claiming an astonishing 436 lives. Desperate for help, authorities appealed to renowned local hunter Jim Corbett, an Indian-born Brit of Irish descent, who was intimately familiar with the Champawat forest. Corbett, who would later earn fame and devote the latter part of his life to saving the Bengal tiger and its habitat, sprang into action. Like a detective on the tail of a serial killer, he tracked the tiger's movements, as the tiger began to hunt him in return. This was the beginning of Corbett's life-long love of tigers, though his first encounter with the Champawat Tiger would be her last.
'Sharply observed, snappily written and thoroughly researched, She Merchants provides a fabulous panorama of a largely ignored area of social history. Katie Hickman successfully challenges the stereotype of the snobbish, matron-like memsahib by deploying a riveting gallery of powerful and often eccentric women ranging from stowaways and runaways through courtesans and society beauties to Generals' feisty wives and Viceroys' waspish sisters. It is full of surprises and new material and completely engaging from beginning to end' William Dalrymple The first British women to set foot in India did so in the very early seventeenth century, two and a half centuries before the Raj. Women made their way to India for exactly the same reasons men did - to carve out a better life for themselves. In the early days, India was a place where the slates of 'blotted pedigrees' were wiped clean; bankrupts given a chance to make good; a taste for adventure satisfied - for women. They went and worked as milliners, bakers, dress-makers, actresses, portrait painters, maids, shop-keepers, governesses, teachers, boarding house proprietors, midwives, nurses, missionaries, doctors, geologists, plant-collectors, writers, travellers, and - most surprising of all - traders. As wives, courtesans and she-merchants, these tough adventuring women were every bit as intrepid as their men, the buccaneering sea captains and traders in whose wake they followed; their voyages to India were extraordinarily daring leaps into the unknown. The history of the British in India has cast a long shadow over these women; Memsahibs, once a word of respect, is now more likely to be a byword for snobbery and even racism. And it is true: prejudice of every kind - racial, social, imperial, religious - did cloud many aspects of British involvement in India. But was not invariably the case. In this landmark book, celebrated chronicler, Katie Hickman, uncovers stories, until now hidden from history: here is Charlotte Barry, who in 1783 left London a high-class courtesan and arrived in India as Mrs William Hickey, a married 'lady'; Poll Puff who sold her apple puffs for 'upwards of thirty years, growing grey in the service'; Mrs Hudson who in 1617 was refused as a trader in indigo by the East Indian Company, and instead turned a fine penny in cloth; Julia Inglis, a survivor of the siege of Lucknow; Amelia Horne, who witnessed the death of her entire family during the Cawnpore massacres of 1857; and Flora Annie Steel, novelist and a pioneer in the struggle to bring education to purdah women. For some it was painful exile, but for many it was exhilarating. Through diaries, letters and memoirs (many still in manuscript form), this exciting book reveals the extraordinary life and times of hundreds of women who made their way across the sea and changed history.
Published to coincide the with 50th anniversary of the Israel occupation of the West Bank, an anthology that explores the human cost of the conflict there as witnessed by such notable writers as Colum McCann, Colm Toibin, Dave Eggers, Madeleine Thien, Eimear McBride, Taiye Selasi and editors Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman. June 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Israel occupation of the West Bank. The violence on both sides of the conflict has been horrific, the casualties catastrophic. Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, two of today's most renowned novelists and essayists, have joined forces with the Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence-an organization comprised of former Israeli soldiers who served in the occupied territories and saw firsthand the injustice there-and a host of illustrious writers to tell the stories of the people on the ground in the contested territories. KINGDOM OF OLIVES AND ASH includes contributions from some of our most esteemed storytellers, including essays from editors Chabon and Waldman. Their writing enables readers to understand the human narratives behind the litany of grim destruction broadcasted nightly on the news. Together they all stand witness to the human cost of the occupation.
From the best-selling author of The Circle - the gripping true story of a young Yemeni American man, raised in San Francisco, who dreams of resurrecting the ancient art of Yemeni coffee but finds himself trapped in Sana'a by civil war Mokhtar Alkhanshali is twenty-four and working as a doorman when he becomes fascinated with the rich history of coffee and Yemen's central place in it. He leaves San Francisco and travels deep into his ancestral home to tour terraced farms high in the country's rugged mountains. He collects samples and organizes farmers and is on the verge of success when civil war engulfs the country. Saudi bombs rain down, the U.S. embassy closes, and Mokhtar has to find a way out of Yemen with only his hopes on his back. The Monk of Mokha is the story of this courageous and visionary young man following the most American of dreams. 'Extraordinary... No story is more urgent' Observer 'Dramatic, aspirational smartly and engagingly written... Exactly what I want to read right now' The Times 'The antidote to Trumpism... This is a book that celebrates [the] exuberance of the human spirit' Mail on Sunday 'This book... is about the American dream, and the threat that it is under' Spectator 'Remarkable... full of derring-do, tenacity and exceptional luck' Metro
One morning on the outskirts of Damascus, two starving friends are walking through their desolate city and come across a familiar street that has been turned to rubble, concrete bridges towering above them like tombs and houses turned inside out. Aeham turns to the only comfort he has left and pushes his piano into the street to play a song of hope to his fellow Syrians. It is a song that will reach far beyond the streets of his home and carry consequences he could never have dreamed of. This tender and poetic account of Aeham's experiences, from losing his city, friends and family to leaving his country and finding safety, will move readers with its raw and candid emotion. This is a gripping portrait of a man's search for solace and of a country that has been fiercely torn apart.
The Sunday Times Bestseller At the age of 23, Brian Wood was thrust into the front line in Iraq, in the infamous Battle of Danny Boy. Ambushed, he led a charge across open ground with insurgents firing at just five soldiers. On his return, he was awarded the Military Cross. But Brian's story had only just begun. Struggling to re-integrate into family life, he suffered from PTSD. Then, five years later, a letter arrived: it summoned him to give evidence at the Al-Sweady Inquiry into allegations of war crimes by British soldiers during the Iraq invasion of 2003. After years of public shame, Brian took the stand and delivered a powerful testimony, and following the tense inquiry room scenes, justice was finally served. Phil Shiner, the lawyer who made the false accusations, was struck off and stripped of an honorary doctorate. In this compelling memoir, Brian speaks powerfully and movingly about the three battles in his life, from being ambushed with no cover, to the mental battle to adjust at home, to being falsely accused of hideous war crimes. It's a remarkable and dark curve which ends with his honour restored but, as he says, it was too little, too late.
The true story of the fierce band of women who battled Washington - and Hanoi - to bring their husbands home from the jungles of Vietnam. On 12 February, 1973, one hundred and sixteen men who, just six years earlier, had been high flying Navy and Air Force pilots, shuffled, limped, or were carried off a huge military transport plane at Clark Air Base in the Philippines. These American servicemen had endured years of brutal torture, kept shackled and starving in solitary confinement, in rat-infested, mosquito-laden prisons, the worst of which was The Hanoi Hilton. Months later, the first Vietnam POWs to return home would learn that their rescuers were their wives, a group of women that included Jane Denton, Sybil Stockdale, Louise Mulligan, Andrea Rander, Phyllis Galanti, and Helene Knapp. These women, who formed The National League of Families, would never have called themselves 'feminists', but they had become the POW and MIAs most fervent advocates, going to extraordinary lengths to facilitate their husbands' freedom - and to account for missing military men - by relentlessly lobbying government leaders, conducting a savvy media campaign, conducting covert meetings with antiwar activists, and most astonishingly, helping to code secret letters to their imprisoned husbands. In a page-turning work of narrative non-fiction, Heath Hardage Lee tells the story of these remarkable women for the first time. The League of Wives is certain to be on everyone's must-read list.
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