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The World's Most Dangerous Place: Inside the Outlaw State of Somaliaby James Fergusson
Synopses & Reviews
Although the war in Afghanistan is now in its endgame, the West’s struggle to eliminate the threat from Al Qaeda is far from over. A decade after 9/11, the war on terror has entered a new phase and, it would seem, a new territory. In early 2010, Al Qaeda operatives were reportedly “streaming” out of central Asia toward Somalia and the surrounding region.
Somalia, now home to some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists, was already the world’s most failed state. Two decades of anarchy have spawned not just Islamic extremism but piracy, famine, and a seemingly endless clan-based civil war that has killed an estimated 500,000, turned millions into refugees, and caused hundreds of thousands more to flee and settle in Europe and North America.
What is now happening in Somalia directly threatens the security of the world, possibly more than any other region on earth. James Fergusson’s book is the first accessible account of how Somalia became the world’s most dangerous place and what we can—and should—do about it.
"Veteran journalist Fergusson's riveting narrative about strife-riddled Somalia is a glimpse of a potential future 'should our own systems of governance ever be allowed to collapse.' His journey to understand the problem took him beyond Somalia to visit diaspora refugees who fled during the two-decade span marked by the lack of a functional government. Taliban-influence al-Shabaab saw opportunity in a Somalia weakened by civil war, drought, and famine — and home to scores of fatherless young males vulnerable to indoctrination. Interviews with members of peace-enforcing AMISOM, local generals, medics, and a young man whose family had been destroyed give face to the suffering in a country where the estimated violent death figure is 500,000 and where few people are educated. Somalia's future lies with refugees who have become educated Western professionals, which Fergusson confirms in interviews with Somalis in Minneapolis and London, although he also details their struggles to adapt. Horrific suffering, brutality, and devastation — often caused by outside influences, including the U.S., but also by the 'self-destructive obstinacy' of Somalis themselves — are all detailed in fluid reportage. Fergusson rounds out this invaluable work by noting the glimmers of hope appearing with the demand for education and disdain for the clan system. Maps & photos. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book News Annotation:
Fergusson takes readers behind the headlines emanating from Somalia and the Horn of Africa, where instances of piracy and the accompanying poverty and crime seem to be documented almost daily. However, following interviews with a variety of Somalis from mercenaries and extremists to politicians and refugees, the author discovered something even more unsettling. A large percentage of Somali young people, mostly male, are participating in the Al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab militant group. One possible solution he suggests is continuous engagement with those young men to help ensure a brighter future for the country. Annotation ©2014 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)
The first authoritative account of the Somali region, its history, and the Islamic extremists operating there today
About the Author
James Fergusson is a freelance journalist and foreign correspondent who has written for many publications, including The Times of London and The Economist. He is the author of Taliban: The Unknown Enemy and the award-winning A Million Bullets. He lives in Edinburgh.
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History and Social Science » Africa » General