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Unpeople: Britain's Secret Human Rights Abuses Paperback – 4 Nov 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (4 Nov. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099469723
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099469728
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Mark Curtis is, in my opinion, this country's best popular historian" (John Pilger)

"Curtis is a brave recorder of truths which the powerful would rather not have told" (Victoria Brittain, former foreign editor at The Guardian)

Book Description

Curtis's second book of revelations on post-war British foreign policy.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Dave Watton on 22 Feb. 2005
Format: Paperback
As a British citizen living under the long shadow of the New Labour political project, it is difficult not to be overwhelmed with cynicism when pondering the motivations and goals of a set of politicians so deeply in thrall to Big Business. Increasingly, too, the poverty of ideals among the mainstream UK political parties, in essence rival factions of the same party representing the narrow interests of the ruling state-corporate elite (as in the US), makes many fearful for the future of representative democracy in the UK.
Yet, even for those disillusioned with this depressing state of affairs, modern historian Mark Curtis' disturbing new book, Unpeople, is still likely to come as a huge shock. Unstintingly and unswervingly, in case study after case study, Curtis uncovers the extraordinary levels of deception lurking beneath the squeaky-clean veneer of UK foreign policy's much-vaunted concern for human rights. At the heart of the author's portrayal of Britain as an outlaw state - one that certainly gives the US a good run for its money - lie the 'unpeople'. These are the expendable citizens of faraway countries who have suffered and died under the miseries imposed by the equally ruthless foreign policies of both Labour and Tory governments. Indeed, according to Curtis' conservative calculations, Britain may well be complicit in the deaths of in excess of 10 million 'unpeople' since World War Two.
Those who have already read Curtis' previous expose, Web of Deceit (2003), will immediately recognise the rigour of his content and the thoroughness of his research, while warming once again to his very readable writing style.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By ShiDaDao Ph.D on 4 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
A remarkable book upon the subject of 'realpolitik'. In this case, British power politics since the end of WWII, during the declononisation and dismantling of the British empire, and the apparent, wide-spread disregard for Human Rights. Curtis - a former Research Fellow of the Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House), uses the term 'Unpeople' to refer to those people that the British state has deemed 'unworthy' of life, whilst pursuing political and economic gain. Curtis argues that the 'Unpeople' have taken the place of the 'savage', a term and concept that was common during Britain's imperial expansion across the globe the last two hundred years or so. This group of people are not accorded basic human dignity - indeed, they are not perceived as fully 'human' at all, but much like the German notion of 'Lebensunwertes Leben' (life unworthy of life), this group is viewed as fully expendable, and their collective lives are seen as worthless, something to be thrown away, ignored or removed at the whim of a politician.

The paperback (2004) contains 377 numbered pages and is comprised of an Introduction, a Conclusion and is separated into four parts:

Introduction.
Part I. Iraq.
Part II. Propaganda, Reality.
Part III. Terror, Aggression.
Part IV. Coups, Dictators.

Although contemporary with the Tony Blair-New Labour government, this research covers British foreign policy over the years, including the British 'secret' support for US aggression in Vietnan, the war for oil policy in Nigeria, covert operations in Indonesia, the support of Idi Amin in Uganda, protecting a dictator in Chile (Thatcher's friend general Pinochet), and the dirty wars in British Guiana and Arabia.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. T. Marchesi on 1 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In considering the various blackguardly actions of the UK under all governments, Mr Curtis continues from his excellent "Web of Deceit" to hammer home the incontestable truth that our great and good have had virtually no concern for the killings and maimings entailed in their suppression of the lesser races.
All this done in our name, and, if we believe the media, in the best of all possible taste, and , of course, in the national interest.Chapter 8, From the Horse's Mouth , notes files from the cabinet meetings and FO which were not really for contemporary public consumption, but which demonstrate the clear-headed, cold-hearted resolve of our lords and masters to impose their world-view and choices. Since about 1970, we have been more and more clearly the "junior partner" , as Mr Cameron put it, to the US in the ruthless imposition of "our" will on "the natives". While many who keep their head even as all are invited to worship militarism have long known some of the stories behind our leaders' mask of humanity, it is good to see Mark Curtis reminding us of the ghastly Pinochet's tortures and murders - not so long ago.The shameful and shabby episode of Diego Garcia is mentioned. At the nd of the book, the table of Britain and Global Deaths comes as a useful summary of the last 50-60 years. It was, I think, Lieutenant William Calley who remarked that "no one ever told him that Communists were people". One supposes that he shared this ignorance with the "counter-insurgency" experts such as Sir Gerald Templar and Robert Thompson from the Malayan days.
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