At fourteen, Richard Holloway left his home in the Vale of Leven, north of Glasgow, and travelled hundreds of miles to be educated and trained for the priesthood by a religious order in an English monastery. By twenty-five he had been ordained and was working in the slums of Glasgow. Throughout the following forty years, Richard touched the lives of many people in the Church and in the wider community. But behind his confident public face lay a restless, unquiet heart and a constantly searching mind. Why is the Church, which claims to be the instrument of God’s love, so prone to cruelty and condemnation? And how can a man live with the tension between public faith and private doubt? In his long-awaited memoir, Richard seeks to answer these questions and to explain how, after many crises of faith, he finally and painfully left the Church. It is a wise, poetic and fiercely honest book. Taken from Canongate
Archives: Legacy book prize entriesTTTT
These are the book prize entries
Bloody Nasty People: The Rise of Britain’s Far Right
The past decade saw the rise of the British National Party, the country’s most successful ever far-right political movement, and the emergence of the anti-Islamic English Defence League. Taking aim at asylum seekers, Muslims, “enforced multiculturalism” and benefit “scroungers”, these groups have been working overtime to shift the blame for the nation’s ills onto the shoulders of the vulnerable. What does this extremist resurgence say about the state of modern Britain? Drawing on archival research and extensive interviews with key figures, such as BNP leader Nick Griffin, Daniel Trilling shows how previously marginal characters from a tiny neo-Nazi subculture successfully exploited tensions exacerbated by the fear of immigration, the War on Terror and steepening economic inequality. Mainstream politicians have consistently underestimated the far right in Britain while pursuing policies that give it the space to grow. Bloody Nasty People calls time on this complacency in an account that provides us with fresh insights into the dynamics of political extremism. Taken from Verso Books
The world has watched, stunned, the bloodshed in Mexico. Forty thousand murdered since 2006; police chiefs shot within hours of taking office; mass graves comparable to those of civil wars; car bombs shattering storefronts; headless corpses heaped in town squares. And it is all because a few Americans are getting high. Or is it part of a worldwide shadow economy that threatens Mexico’s democracy? The United States throws Black Hawk helicopters, DEA assistance, and lots of money at the problem. But in secret, Washington is at a loss. Who are these mysterious figures who threaten Mexico’s democracy? What is El Narco? El Narco is not a gang; it is a movement and an industry drawing in hundreds of thousands, from bullet-riddled barrios to marijuana-covered mountains. The conflict spawned by El Narco has given rise to paramilitary death squads battling from Guatemala to the Texas border (and sometimes beyond). In this “propulsive … high-octane” book (Publishers Weekly), Ioan Grillo draws the first definitive portrait of Mexico’s cartels and how they have radically transformed in the past decade. Taken from Bloomsbury
A Very British Killing: The Death of Baha Mousa
On 15 September 2003 Baha Mousa, a hotel receptionist, was killed by British Army troops in Iraq. He had been arrested the previous day in Basra and was taken to a military base for questioning. For forty-eight hours he and nine other innocent civilians had their heads encased in sandbags and their wrists bound by plastic handcuffs and had been kicked and punched with sustained cruelty. A succession of guards and casual army visitors took pleasure in beating the Iraqis, humiliating them, forcing them into stress positions in temperatures up to 50 degrees Centigrade, and watching them suffer in the dirty concrete building where they were held. Other soldiers, officers, medics, the padre, did not take part in the violence but they saw what was happening and did nothing to stop it. Some knew it was wrong. Some weren’t sure. Some were too scared to intervene. But none said anything or enough until it was far too late and Baha Mousa had been beaten to death.
This book tells the inside story of these crimes and their aftermath. It examines the institutional brutality, the bureaucratic apathy, the flawed military police inquiry and the farcical court martial that attempted to hold people criminally responsible. Even though a full public inquiry reported its findings into the crimes in September 2011, its mandate restricted what it could say. The full story, told with the power of a true-crime expose or court-room drama, shows how this was not simply about a few bad men or ‘rotten apples’. It shines a light on all those involved in the crime and its investigation, from the lowest squaddie to the elite of the army and politicians in Cabinet. What it reveals is devastating.
Taken from Random House
In a timely and eye-opening book Rodric Braithwaite examines the Russian experience during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Basing his account on Russian sources and interviews he shows the war through the eyes of the Russians themselves – politicians, officers, soldiers, advisers, journalists and women. As former ambassador to Moscow, Rodric Braithwaite brings unique insights to the Soviet war in Afghanistan. The story has been distorted not only by Cold War propaganda but also by the myths of the nineteenth century Great Game. It moves from the high politics of the Kremlin to the lonely Russian conscripts in isolated mountain outposts. The parallels with Afghanistan today speak for themselves.’A superb achievement of narrative history, sensitive writing and exciting fresh research’: so wrote Simon Sebag Montefiore about Rodric Braithwaite’s bestsellerMoscow 1941. But those words, and many others of praise that were given it, could equally apply to his new book. Taken from Profile Books
Cables from Kabul: The Inside Story of the West’s Afghanistan Campaign
A frank and honest memoir by Britain’s former ambassador to Kabul which provides a unique, high-level insight into Western policy in Afghanistan. For three years, from 2007 until 2010, Sherard Cowper-Coles was on the diplomatic frontline in Kabul as the West’s mission in Afghanistan sank deeper into crisis. First as British Ambassador and, later, as the Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative, he witnessed at first hand a struggle that by the time he left was swallowing billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money a year, and had already cost the lives of more than 2,000 coalition troops, including nearly 350 British soldiers, as well as tens of thousands of Afghans, in and out of uniform. In Cables from Kabul he offers a ringside seat in this unfolding drama in a high-octane narrative that transports the reader from the backstreets of Kabul and fly-blown villages of the Helmand Valley to the corridors of power in London and Washington. Packed with colourful portraits of major political and diplomatic players such as President Karzai and the US Special Representative Richard Holbrooke, the book gives a rich flavour of embassy life in one of the most dangerous places on earth. With his unique, high-level insight into the West’s policy in Afghanistan, Cowper-Coles raises fundamental questions about the viability of the whole Afghanistan project, even after the death of bin Laden. While paying fulsome tribute to the bravery of our soldiers and the tactical success they are undoubtedly achieving at a local level, he asks whether this will be enough to secure within three years the wider strategic goal of stabilising Afghanistan to the point where the Afghan authorities can govern the country without outside intervention. As Our Man in Kabul, nobody is better placed to tell this story. Powerful, witty and astonishingly frank, Cables from Kabul explains how we got into the quagmire of Afghanistan, and how we can get out of it. Taken from Harper Press
The Beautiful and the Damned: Life in the New India
From leadership seminars in fancy hotels to medieval figures walking from town to town looking for work in small town factories; from the naïve waitresses working in the mecca of five star hotels to farmers struggling to grow the right crops for the 21st century, Siddhartha Deb’s book is the riveting, moving, darkly comic, brilliantly told story of modern India. With the novelist’s vision, reminiscent of V.S. Naipaul’s An Area of Darkness, combined with the modern narrative force of Maximum City, Deb’s account paints a portrait of this country in turmoil through the story of its people: aspiring and deluded, desperate and hopeful, beautiful and damned. Taken from Penguin Books
DarkMarket: CyberThieves, CyberCops and You
The benefits of living in a digital, globalised society are enormous; so too are the dangers. The world has become a law enforcer’s nightmare and every criminal’s dream. We bank online, shop online, date, learn, work and live online. But have the institutions that keep us safe on the streets learned to protect us in the burgeoning digital world? Have we become complacent about our personal security – sharing our thoughts, beliefs and the details of our daily lives with anyone who cares to relieve us of them? In this fascinating and compelling book, Misha Glenny, author of the international bestseller McMafia, explores the three fundamental threats facing us in the 21st century: cyber crime, cyber warfare and cyber industrial espionage. Governments and the private sector are losing billions of dollars each year, fighting an ever-morphing, often invisible, often super-smart new breed of criminal: the hacker.* Glenny has travelled and trawled the world. And by exploring the rise and fall of the criminal website, DarkMarket, he has uncovered the most vivid, alarming and illuminating stories. Whether JiLsi or Matrix, Iceman, Master Splynter or Lord Cyric; whether Detective Sergeant Chris Dawson in Scunthorpe or Agent Keith Mularski in Pittsburgh, Glenny has tracked down and interviewed all the players – the criminals, the geeks, the police, the security experts and the victims – and he places everyone and everything in a rich brew of politics, economics and history. The result is simply unputdownable. DarkMarket is authoritative and completely engrossing. It’s a must-read for everyone who uses a computer: the essential crime book for our times. Taken from Bodley Head
The Conservatives – A History
The history of the Conservative party has, extraordinarily, rarely been written in a single volume for the general reader. There are academic multi-volume accounts and a multitude of smaller books with limited historical scope. But now, Robin Harris, Margaret Thatcher’s speechwriter and party insider, has produced this authoritative but lively history book which tells the whole story and fills a gaping hole in Britain’s historiographical record. Taking as his starting point the larger than life personalities of the Conservative Party’s leaders and prime ministers since its inception, Robin Harris’s book also analyses the interconnected themes and issues which have dominated Conservative politics over the years. The careers of Peel, Disraeli, Salisbury, Baldwin, Chamberlain, Churchill, Eden, Macmillan, Heath, Thatcher, Major, Hague and Cameron together amount to an alternative history of Britain since the early nineteenth century. This landmark book is essential reading for anyone with an interest in history or politics, or anyone who has ever wondered how Britain came to be the nation it is today.
Dead Men Risen
This is the gripping story of the men of the Welsh Guards and their bloody battle for survival in Afghanistan in 2009. Underequipped and overstretched, they found themselves in the most intense fighting the British had experienced in a generation. They were led into battle by Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe, a passionate believer in the justness of the war who was deeply dismayed by the way it was being resourced and conducted. Thorneloe was killed by an IED during Operation Panther’s Claw, the biggest operation mounted by the British in Helmand.
Dead Men Risen draws on secret documents written by Thorneloe, which raise questions from beyond the grave that will unnerve politicians and generals alike. The Welsh Guards also lost Major Sean Birchall, commanding officer of IX Company, and Lieutenant Mark Evison, a platoon commander whose candid personal diary was unnervingly prophetic. Not since the Korean War had a single British battalion lost officers at the three key levels of leadership.
Harnden transports the reader into the heart of a conflict in which a soldier has to be prepared to kill and die, to ward off paralysing fear and watch comrades perish in agony. Given unprecedented access to the Welsh Guards, Harnden conducted hundreds of interviews in Afghanistan, England and Wales. He weaves the experiences of the guardsmen and the loved ones they left behind into a seamless and unsparing narrative that sits alongside a piercing analysis of the political and military strategy. No other book about modern warfare succeeds on so many levels.
Taken from Quercus
Judges of the 2012 Book Prize, Helena Kennedy, Miranda Carter and Sameer Rahim, said; ‘It sometimes seems that we only care about the soldiers fighting in our names when they are killed. Once the platitudes are over we forget about them. Toby Harnden’s remarkable book takes us into the hearts and minds of the Welsh Guards in a way that is both compelling and visceral. It challenges every citizen of this country to examine exactly what we’re asking soldiers to do in Afghanistan. And rather than offering easy answers it lets the soldiers speak for themselves.’
For forty years, Christopher Hitchens has been at the epicentre of the battle of letters in Britain & America. This blockbuster volume is the collection of a lifetime. ‘As soon as we abandon our own reason,’ wrote Bertrand Russell, ‘and are content to rely upon authority, there is no end to our troubles.’ For over forty years, Christopher Hitchens has proclaimed truth where others have spun falsehood and written, with passionate commitment, on matters that others fear to broach. This volume of essays spans Hitchens’ whole career and encompasses his writing on politics, literature and religion. It is the most comprehensive collection of the work of the finest English essayist since Orwell. Arguably contains all aspects of Hitchens’ wide repertoire as journalist, polemicist and critic. Divided into sections such as: ‘All American’, ‘Eclectic Affinities’ and ‘Foreign Quarrels’, Hitchens unfolds his views on subjects ranging from Clinton to Kissinger; Powell to Proust. Hitchens’ life has, above all else, been one of defiance and wit, courage and humility: in an age of digital punditry and twenty-four hour hucksterism, he has been a voice of reason amid the clamour, making his indelible and brilliant mark on politics and literature on both sides of the Atlantic. While his many books exist as a formidable legacy, it is his mastery of short-form journalism and criticism that constitute his lasting claim to greatness. Arguably is a unique anthology and the indispensible companion to the Anglosphere’s pre-eminent political writer. Taken from Atlantic Books
Everything you read in here is true. In Manchester, Anders Svensson is on the trail of drug baron Merlin and his lieutenant Flow, a man so dangerous his type is said to appear only once in a decade. In Glasgow, faced with the highest murder rate in Europe, Karyn McCluskey is a one-woman mission to end gang warfare. In London, Pilgrim finds he’s no longer feared. Troll, the child soldier, is terrorizing the streets. This is our hidden urban underworld. Untold, until now.
Adventures In The Orgasmatron: Wilhelm Reich and the Invention of Sex
Adventures in the Orgasmatron is the untold story of the dawn of the sexual revolution in America – an illuminating, startling, at times bizarre story of sex and science, ecstasy and repression. In the middle of the 20th century, the United States became an adoptive home for dozens of expatriated European thinkers, who saw this rich, young country ripe for sexual liberation. One of the most left-field of them was the Viennese psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, a disciple of Freud’s who had broken with the master. Reich’s own approach was based on his theories of the orgasm and sexual energy, which he dubbed ‘orgone energy’. Instead of the couch, he made use of a tall, slender construction of wood, metal, and steel wool, which he called the orgone box. A highly sexed man himself, Reich thought that a person who sat in the box could elevate their ‘orgastic potential’ ridding the body of repressive forces, improving sexual potency, and enhancing overall health. After World War Two, Reich’s theories caught on among writers and artists, the early adopters of the counter-culture. Norman Mailer and Saul Bellow were amongst those for whom the orgone box represented a yearned-for synthesis of sexual and political liberation, and of physical science and psychology. Meanwhile, Reich himself faced one debacle after another. Albert Einstein heard him out before rebuffing him. The FBI investigated him as a Communist sympathizer: it turned out that they were hunting the wrong man. The federal government banned the orgone box and tagged Reich as a fraud. There were claims of sexual misdeeds, and bouts of Reich’s own mental instability. This is the story of the blossoming of the 20th century’s sexual revolution, and the unshackling of a repressed society, and sex before science. Taken from Fourth Estate
Bloody Sunday: Truths, Lies and The Saville Inquiry
One hundred and eight rounds of bullets. Fourteen dead. Fourteen wounded. Two sides to a story and a four-decade search for the truth… It was meant to be a peaceful march. But on the afternoon of 30 January 1972 in the City of Derry a riot started, the army went in and firing began. ‘Bloody Sunday’ became a catalyst for three more decades of violence. In 1998 a new Inquiry was ordered. It took thirteen years. This book tells what happened when victims, soldiers, spies, politicians and paramilitaries finally appeared on the witness stand. It is about the search for truth, the hope of reconciliation and the people who still stand in its way. Taken from Biteback Publishing
A Train in Winter: A Story of Resistance, Friendship and Survival
On an icy dawn morning in Paris in January 1943, 230 French women resisters were rounded up from the Gestapo detention camps and sent on a train to Auschwitz – the only train, in the four years of German occupation, to take women of the resistance to a death camp.The youngest was a schoolgirl of 15, the eldest a farmer’s wife of 68; there were among them teachers, biochemists, sales girls, secretaries, housewives and university lecturers. Caroline Moorehead’s remarkable new book is the story of these women – the first time it has been told.It is about who they were, how and why they joined the resistance, how they were captured and treated by the French police and the Gestapo, their journey to Auschwitz and their daily life in the death camps – and about what it was like for the 49 survivors when they returned to France. Six of the women were still alive in 2010 and able to tell their stories. What they had to say – and this was confirmed by the children of those who died – was that great affection and camaraderie grew up among the group. They became friends, and it was precisely this friendship that kept so many of them alive.They supported and cared for one another, worked together, shared everything, watched out for each other and faced the horror together.Friendship, almost as much as luck, dictated survival. Drawing on interviews with survivors and their families, on German, French and Polish archives, and on documents held by WW2 resistance organisations, A Train in Winter covers a harrowing part of our history but is, ultimately, a portrait of ordinary people, of bravery and endurance, and of the particular qualities of female friendship. Taken from Vintage Books
How is it that our favourite brands can import billions of pounds’ worth of goods from the developing world every year, and yet leave the people who produce them barely scraping a living? Is it that big business is incompatible with the eradication of poverty? And, if so, are charity and fair trade initiatives the only way forward? In Unfair Trade Conor Woodman traces a range of products back to their source to uncover who precisely is benefitting and who is losing out. He goes diving with lobster fishermen in Nicaragua who are dying in their hundreds to keep the restaurant tables of the US well stocked. He ventures into war-torn Congo to find out what the developed world’s insatiable demand for tin means for local miners. And he risks falling foul of the authorities in Laos as he covertly visits the country’s burgeoning rubber plantations, established to supply Chinese factories that in turn supply the West with consumer goods. In the process, he tests accepted economic wisdom on the best way to create a fairer world – and suggests a simpler but potentially far more radical solution. Taken from Random House
The Opium War
‘On the outside, [the foreigners] seem intractable, but inside they are cowardly. . . Although there have been a few ups-and-downs, the situation as a whole is under control.’ In October 1839, a few months after the Chinese Imperial Commissioner, Lin Zexu, dispatched these confident words to his emperor, a cabinet meeting in Windsor voted to fight Britain’s first Opium War (1839-42) with China. The conflict turned out to be rich in tragicomedy: in bureaucratic fumblings, military missteps, political opportunism and collaboration. Yet over the past 170 years, this strange tale of misunderstanding, incompetence and compromise has become the founding myth of modern Chinese nationalism: the start of China’s heroic struggle against a Western conspiracy to destroy the country with opium and gunboat diplomacy. Beginning with the dramas of the war itself, Julia Lovell explores its causes and consequences and, through this larger narrative, interweaves the curious stories of opium’s promoters and attackers.The Opium War is both the story of modern China – starting from this first conflict with the West – and an analysis of the country’s contemporary self-image. It explores how China’s national myths mould its interactions with the outside world, how public memory is spun to serve the present; and how delusion and prejudice have bedevilled its relationship with the modern West. Taken from Pan Macmillan
To Die For: Is fashion Wearing Out the World
Coming at a time when the global financial crisis and contracting of consumer spending is ushering in a new epoch for the fashion industry, To Die For offers a very plausible vision of how green could really be the new black. Taking particular issue with our current mania for both big-name labels and cheap fashion, To Die For sets an agenda for the urgent changes that can and need to be made by both the industry and the consumer. Far from outlining a future of drab, ethical clothing, Lucy Siegle believes that it is indeed possible to be an ‘ethical fashionista’, simply by being aware of how and where (and by whom) clothing is manufactured. The global banking crisis has put the consumer at a crossroads: when money is tight should we embrace cheap fast fashion to prop up an already engorged wardrobe, or should we reject this as the ultimate false economy and advocate a return to real fashion, bolstered by the principles of individualism and style pedigree? In this impassioned book, Siegle analyses the global epidemic of unsustainable fashion, taking stock of our economic health and moral accountabilities to expose the pitfalls of fast fashion. Refocusing the debate squarely back on the importance of basic consumer rights, Siegle reveals the truth behind cut price, bulk fashion and the importance of your purchasing decisions, advocating the case for a new sustainable design era where we are assured of value for money: ethically, morally and in real terms. Taken from Fourth Estate