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Download The Pirates of Somalia: Inside Their Hidden World Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Pirates of Somalia: Inside Their Hidden World Audiobook, by Jay Bahadur Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (367 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jay Bahadur Narrator: Sunil Malhotra Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2011 ISBN: 9780307969798
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Somalia, on the tip of the Horn of Africa, has been inhabited as far back as 9,000 BC. Its history is as rich as the country is old. Caught up in a decades-long civil war, Somalia, along with Iraq and Afghanistan, has become one of the most dangerous countries in the world. Getting there from North America is a forty-five-hour, five-flight voyage through Frankfurt, Dubai, Djibouti, Bossaso (on the Gulf of Aden), and, finally, Galkayo. Somalia is a place where a government has been built out of anarchy.
 
For centuries, stories of pirates have captured imaginations around the world. The recent bands of daring, ragtag pirates off the coast of Somalia, hijacking multimillion-dollar tankers owned by international shipping conglomerates, have brought the scourge of piracy into the modern era.
 
The capture of the American-crewed cargo ship Maersk Alabama in April 2009, the first United States ship to be hijacked in almost two centuries, catapulted the Somali pirates onto prime-time news. Then, with the horrific killing by Somali pirates of four Americans, two of whom had built their dream yacht and were sailing around the world (“And now on to: Angkor Wat! And Burma!” they had written to friends), the United States Navy, Special Operation Forces, FBI, Justice Department, and the world’s military forces were put on notice: the Somali seas were now the most perilous in the world.
 
Jay Bahadur, a journalist who dared to make his way into the remote pirate havens of Africa’s easternmost country and spend months infiltrating their lives, gives us the first close-up look at the hidden world of the pirates of war-ravaged Somalia.
 
Bahadur’s riveting narrative exposé—the first ever—looks at who these men are, how they live, the forces that created piracy in Somalia, how the pirates spend the ransom money, how they deal with their hostages. Bahadur makes sense of the complex and fraught regional politics, the history of Somalia and the self-governing region of Puntland (an autonomous region in northeast Somalia), and the various catastrophic occurrences that have shaped their pirate destinies. The book looks at how the unrecognized mini-state of Puntland is dealing with the rise—and increasing sophistication—of piracy and how, through legal and military action, other nations, international shippers, the United Nations, and various international bodies are attempting to cope with the present danger and growing pirate crisis.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Bahadur has gone deep in exploring the causes of this seaborne crime wave, charting its explosive growth and humanizing the brigands who have eluded some of the world’s most powerful navies . . . [He] captures the inner workings of Somali piracy in extraordinary detail . . . Bahadur seems to admire the pirates’ audacity and resourcefulness, yet at the same time he avoids glamorizing them . . . Brave and exhaustively reported. Joshua Hammer, The New York Times Book Review 
  • Bahadur debunks myths about the roots and practices of Somali pirates and presents a remarkable analysis of piracy along the coast of the Horn of Africa . . . This intrepid reporter's fascinating account of piracy is a worthwhile read for scholars of Africa and general audiences alike. Library Journal
  • An insightful report . . . revelatory journalism and astute analysis of causes and solutions that prove far more informative than any TV footage about the contemporary piracy problem. Booklist
  • The inner workings of the world of Somali pirates are astutely explored by Bahadur. . . an engaging account, full of solid analysis. . . What’s especially impressive (aside from Bahadur’s sheer nerve in insinuating himself among these dangerous men in a lawless corner of the world) is the amassing of multiple perspectives—of pirates and policymakers—that support a rich, suspenseful account. Publishers Weekly
  • A rare inside look. . . a nicely crafted, revealing report. Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle | 2/18/2014

    " This book could have been so much better! I appreciated the author's knowledge and the factual information he provided, but it would have been a much more enjoyable reading experience if he'd incorporated more of the actual stories of piracy. I'm sure there are hundreds of people who could be interviewed about their experience as a captive on a ship hijacked by Somali pirates. The part of the book about the capture and ransom of the Victoria was the most engaging, and could serve as a model for a future sequel to this one. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 rachel | 2/9/2014

    " soooo i really wanted to learn more about somalian pirates & understand why & how they end up as modern day pirates, but this book made me realize...i didn't want to know THAT much about it. there was a bit too much detail given to the economics of piracy for the boat owners and the shippers and the various countries involved that made chunks of this quite dull. i did however find the interviews with the pirates & the descriptions of their lives very illuminating. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kandice Newren | 1/22/2014

    " I read this book over a month, so there is a lot I don't remember about the book. The author does a good job of giving a basic history of Somalia. The interviews and treks he takes to learn more about the pirate problem is well thought out, and you can imagine the frustration he feels during different situations. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dan Jones | 1/14/2014

    " Very interesting insight into the lives of the Somalian Pirates and some of the ground issues that led to piracy on the seas. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Caleb | 1/8/2014

    " Bahadur gets credit for having gone to some lengths to write a book about the Somali pirates. He basically shows up in Puntland (the semi-independent area at issue) after some phone calls and emails and sets out trying to talk with people and learn the facts on the ground. Somali life is notoriously clannish and people are not always fully honest about what's actually going on, but he talks to enough people where he seems able to get to the truth about many aspects of the piracy. That all being said, the book lacked the writing and depth of the content to make it truly memorable--the narrative jumps around too much and the pirates referenced start to blend together after a while. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Patrick | 1/8/2014

    " Abandoning for the moment. Reads like a laundry list and it lacks a strong narrative. May revisit when I have more time to focus. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Oldhat | 1/2/2014

    " Really interesting look in to the origin of piracy in Somalia, how the government plays a role and what society actually thinks of them. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 MicheleinNJ | 10/31/2013

    " Kind of interesting but not as interesting as I thought. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chhanda | 9/3/2013

    " first couple of chapters held my interest, but not for long. the book reads like a news article blown up many times. i was disappointed by not finding much about the daily lives of the somalis, their women and children, etc. still, it is of interest how the author ended up writing it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Avi | 3/21/2013

    " Ill say this much...the author is fearless. Not a bad. Read at all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 2/28/2013

    " One of 5 finalists for the Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism. Great read about an under-reported issue. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Flora | 12/5/2012

    " I found this book highly informative about basic pirate operations as well as the circumstances that caused and drive the current wave of hijackings. The book, based on someone's long-term visit in Somalia, also raised interesting questions about news coverage and the descriptions entailed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Whitney 'Thompson' Jenkins | 10/3/2012

    " Very well written and really interesting. I've been waiting 6 months to read this book and I was not disappointed. A inside look at a troubling situation! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Althea | 9/5/2012

    " Very dry writing but I did learn some interesting facts about the piracy situation in Somalia. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lauren H | 6/8/2012

    " An incredibly interesting glimpse into the realities of the Somali pirates as well as a more indirect look at Somali culture. Sort of depressing yet informed analysis of the future not only of the pirate profession but of Somalia in general. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Luna Hasani | 3/9/2012

    " I was interested in the topic of this book, which is piracy. But I didn't like the way in which it was written. I thought it was boring, too long and should have been summarized in an article. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maria | 7/31/2011

    " Very interesting and insightful. Bahadur is braver than I am to venture into that mess of a country. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael Flanagan | 7/31/2011

    " Really enjoyed this book it was easy to reaqd and very engaging. The author has done a great job at looking at piracy in Somalia as well the other surrounding issues. I was left wanting to read more which in my book is a great thing. "

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About the Narrator

Sunil Malhotra is an actor and voice artist. His film credits include Dude, Where’s the Party?, Call Center, 24, ER, Cold Case, and The West Wing. On stage, he has performed on Broadway and at East West Players. He has also worked as a writer, producer, and director, and his audiobook narrations have won two AudioFile Earphones Awards.