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On May 3, 2010, an Irish national named Jeffrey Lendrum was apprehended at Britain’s Birmingham International Airport with a suspicious parcel strapped to his stomach. Inside were fourteen rare peregrine falcon eggs snatched from a remote cliffside in Wales.
So begins a tale almost too bizarre to believe, following the parallel lives of a globe-trotting smuggler who spent two decades capturing endangered raptors worth millions of dollars as race champions—and Detective Andy McWilliam of the United Kingdom’s National Wildlife Crime Unit, who’s hell bent on protecting the world’s birds of prey.
The Falcon Thief whisks readers from the volcanoes of Patagonia to Zimbabwe’s Matobo National Park, and from the frigid tundra near the Arctic Circle to luxurious aviaries in the deserts of Dubai, all in pursuit of a man who is reckless, arrogant, and gripped by a destructive compulsion to make the most beautiful creatures in nature his own. It’s a story that’s part true-crime narrative, part epic adventure—and wholly unputdownable until the very last page.
In the 1980s, a young adventurer and collector for a government library, Abdel Kader Haidara, journeyed across the Sahara Desert and along the Niger River, tracking down and salvaging tens of thousands of ancient Islamic and secular manuscripts that were crumbling in the trunks of desert shepherds. His goal: preserve this crucial part of the world’s patrimony in a gorgeous library. But then Al Qaeda showed up at the door.
“Part history, part scholarly adventure story, and part journalist survey…Joshua Hammer writes with verve and expertise” (The New York Times Book Review) about how Haidara, a mild-mannered archivist from the legendary city of Timbuktu, became one of the world’s greatest smugglers by saving the texts from sure destruction. With bravery and patience, Haidara organized a dangerous operation to sneak all 350,000 volumes out of the city to the safety of southern Mali. His heroic heist “has all the elements of a classic adventure novel” (The Seattle Times), and is a reminder that ordinary citizens often do the most to protect the beauty of their culture. His the story is one of a man who, through extreme circumstances, discovered his higher calling and was changed forever by it.
The Festival in the Desert was born out of that shared passion. A grand spectacle in Mali's desolate dunes, the festival attracted some of the most famous musicians in the world, including Bono, Jimmy Buffet, and Robert Plant. But as the music flourished, the friendship turned to enmity. Ghali, who once openly scoffed at religious piety, succumbed to the pull of radical Islam. Ansar, who couldn't fathom his friend’s transformation, maintained the festival in the face of increasing threats of deadly violence.
In "The Desert Blues", veteran foreign correspondent Joshua Hammer lays bare the longing at the heart of Mali's legendary sound, and brings to life the jubilant possibility the festival represented and the deadly drama that ripped it all apart.
Anni Dewanis Tod erschien zunächst wie ein Schicksalsschlag: Zwei naive Touristen hatten sich in einem fremden Land in unbekanntes Terrain gewagt und damit eine Tragödie heraufbeschworen. Doch bald kam bei den Mordermittlungen der Verdacht auf, dass dunkle Machenschaften hinter dem Drama steckten und dass die Opfer nicht so unschuldig waren, wie es auf den ersten Blick den Anschein hatte. In Tod in Kapstadt deckt der erfahrene Auslandskorrespondent Joshua Hammer eine Verknüpfung tragischer Umstände, Verschwörungen und Intrigen auf. Kulturelle Differenzen und politischer Druck führen zu weiteren Komplikationen für alle Beteiligten. Und nichts ist wirklich so, wie es scheint.
A Season in Bethlehem is the story of one West Bank town's two-year disintegration, as witnessed by a reporter who was there from the beginning. Woven together from Hammer's own firsthand reportage plus hundreds of interviews, it follows a dozen characters whose lives collided on the streets of this biblical city. They include a Bedouin tribesman who rose to become the commander of Bethlehem's most feared and brutal gang of gunmen; the beleaguered governor, an opponent of the al-Aqsa intifada, who believed he had a mandate to stop the violence, only to discover that Yasser Arafat was undermining him; a Christian businesman who watched helplessly as his community was squeezed between Muslim militants and the Israeli army; an eighteen-year-old female honors student turned suicide bomber; and an Israeli reservist, son of a leader of the Peace Now movement, who wrestled with his left-wing convictions as he rode to battle through the predawn streets.
The narrative reaches a climax with a moment-by-moment recreation of the epochal drama that drew many of these characters together: the thirty-nine-day siege of the Church of the Nativity. A clear-eyed chronicle of deepening chaos and violence, in which Hammer lets the opposing sides speak for themselves, A Season in Bethlehem is both a timely and timeless look at how longstanding religious and political tensions finally boiled over in a place of profound resonance: the birthplace of Jesus.