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Publisher's Summary

Somalia, on the tip of the Horn of Africa, has been inhabited as far back as 9,000 B.C. 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 is a forty-five-hour, five-flight voyage through Frankfurt, Dubai, Djibouti, Bosasso (on the Gulf of Aden), and, finally, Galkacyo. 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 primetime 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.

©2011 Jay Bahadur (P)2011 Random House

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • Andy
  • Westport, CT, United States
  • 07-31-11

from fisherman to felons

Interesting story about the evolution of piracy in the Gulf of Aden, along with a glimpse into the life of a pirate. Great rundown on the role of khat in the life of a pirate, as well as a solid description of the pirate business model.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Marie
  • Arlington, TN, United States
  • 10-29-13

This is so close to the truth

What made the experience of listening to The Pirates of Somalia the most enjoyable?

My husband is a real Somalia Pirate Hunter, no I am not kidding. We bought the book in print and on Audible, it is SO true what is really going on. The sadness, the danger, the politics, the mystery and the hardships. If you have watched the movie. Captn Phillips and read this book you will know what our guys are doing to protect all these tankers!!

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

It is a true story, and I am LIVING it!!

What does Sunil Malhotra bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Great perfomance

If you could give The Pirates of Somalia a new subtitle, what would it be?

No, the title is just right!

Any additional comments?

Worth a credit and I would recommend for history teaching as well.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Nick
  • San Marcos, TX, United States
  • 08-01-11

Solid Work

Provides an interesting and highly informative view of Somali piracy. Certainly a good buy for someone interested in current global events and/or history.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Flavius
  • Morro Bay, CA, United States
  • 01-27-12

The story behind the headlines

This book is illuminating in that it dispels many of the preconceived notions the media has fed us regarding Somali piracy. Moreover, TPOS delves into some of Puntland's recent history, and some of the causes for the current spate of pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden. Readers will come away from this book knowing a great deal more not only about the current situation in Somali waters, but understand a great deal more about the pirates themselves.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

A Report, Not a Story, But Landlocked

Not so much about piracy on the high seas as pirates hanging around on land. Lacks context or much in the way piratic action.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Disappointing

I really thought this would be an interesting subject to learn more about. It ended up being more like listening to someone read aloud from the encyclopedia. The cover is enticing, the content boring.

2 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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Enjoyed Pirates of Somalia

What did you love best about The Pirates of Somalia?

A complex view of Somali pirates was presented utilizing a combination of a news reports, statistics, interviews, and other research.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful