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A Very British Killing: The Death of Baha Mousa

A Very British Killing: The Death of Baha Mousa [Kindle Edition]

A. T. Williams
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"A deserving winner of the Orwell Prize" (Independent)

"[An] incendiary, eloquent account... A brilliantly researched indictment which argues that torture is endemic in the military" (Arifa Akbar Independent)

"For all its forensic detail, the book grips us emotionally, and has as keen a sense of storytelling as a horror story of courtroom drama. Ultimately, the greatest achievement of this incendiary, eloquent and angry book is that it humanises Mousa beyond the iconic and infamous figure he has become in his death" (Judges of the Orwell Prize for Political Writing 2013)

"This is a landmark book. Fluently, meticulously, A. T. Williams allows us to understand both the murderous nature of colonial war and the insidious moral corruption behind its institutional facades" (John Pilger)

"What to do after reading it? some might put this book away and try to forget about it, the way you would a bad dream. Others will feel changed by the awareness. A few will channel their feelings into action. There can't be any better definition of political writing at its most excellent" (Independent)

Book Description

Winner of the Orwell Prize for Political Writing 2013

This is the true story of a murder that sums up the stink of invading Iraq and why the Iraq story is far from over.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 543 KB
  • Print Length: 324 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0224096885
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (18 Oct 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0097AX9C0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #98,784 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There are quite a few books around now about the failure of the 'civilised West' in the face of 9-11 to live up to its human rights rhetoric, even some books about the UK's complicity in the US' breaches at Guantanamo/Bagram/through Rendition. But this is the first detailed account of how far short the UK - the mother of all democracies - fell in Iraq and the war on terror. The answer is shocking. The book is well written and the detail meticulous. What happened to Baha Mousa should never be allowed to happen again, but I fear that it will. Truly a shameful moment in our history and an important book that shines a light on a part of the British state that this 'help for heroes' generation prefers to ignore...
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! 31 Oct 2012
I found this book to be an incredibly engaging, coherent and most of all, eye-opening account of the death of Baha Moussa. The book opens as it carries on, taking the reader on a concise and succinct journey through the morally bankrupt heart of the British Army. It is a great read not only for its fascinating (yet troubling) content, but also the manner in which it is written by Williams. I thoroughly recommend!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping book 19 Aug 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Although this book is very sad, it is so well written that parts of it will make you laugh out loud. It traces the death of Baha Mousa an Iraq hotel receptionist. The book weaves seamlessly between the events in Iraq at the time, the position of Britains obliagation under International law, the feelings of Mousa's family and the other tortured men and even goes on to satarise the British court system. A must read for all those who believe in justice.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars british war crimes 31 Aug 2013
A superb and very disturbung read. Completely destroys the myth that British soldiers do no harm. Should be part of every history syllabus, from GCSE to degree.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for modern Britain 23 July 2013
This is written by Andrew Williams who is Professor of Law at Warwick University. It was published in 2013 by Vintage. From the copy I have I cannot tell if Williams has published other material. He should. This is a magisterial record of the events that lead to the death of Baha Mousa on 15th September 2003 and the subsequent court martial. The later public enquiry by Sir William Gage is dealt with in an epilogue.
298 pages including a 25 page epilogue. A great and annoying failure is that there is no index. This is the sort of non fiction publication that will remain on shelves as a work of reference. It should have had an index.
Professor Williams has a wonderful writing style that I compare to Anthony Beevor. Super grasp of detail and comment are related in a way that impels the reader through the narrative. I am not surprised this book won the Orwell Prize for political writing. The narrative thrust is accompanied by commentaries on the use of worldwide torture, the Geneva Convention, the laws of war etc. I have one or two comments which should not prevent readers getting this book. I felt Williams often failed to hide his disdain for the barristers (QCs etc) at the court martial and for the Bar in general and he clearly thinks very little of the now retired Col. Mendonca who commanded the regiment responsible for the death of Baha Mousa. In these 2 areas I felt he allowed his otherwise resoundingly objective approach to fall away a little. Subject to those comments I recommend that anyone interested in modern Britain and our global role should read this book. I refrain from using the word murder or to describe the privates involved as 'thugs' etc as some reviews have done. The death of Baha Mousa was the coming together of a great number of complex actual and historical factors. Williams does his best to bring a balance and he does not pretend to offer solutions - just pointers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The British Problem of Occupying a Country. 6 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was drawn to this because it won the George Orwell prize. I would ordinarily not have noticed this but for that reason. How can British troops unprepared for their job cope in a dusty, very hot climate with little or no sympathy for the people living in that country. Corporal Lewis had problems, he appeared to hate the natives so that on duty one Sunday night an Iraqi is tortured to the point of death, Lewis is the senior NCO present. The young man's father brings a case before the British Government. Enquiries followed. Too many, including officers were complicit and the whole thing took more than three years to resolve.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read 28 Nov 2012
This book is a fantastic read. It's very well written and very difficult to put down once you start it. I highly recommended it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing and honest
A must read for any one who still believes 'that old lie 'Dulce et Decorum est pro patria mori'....Baha and his family paid the ultimate price at their hands. Shameful
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars 'The truth will out'
May the Press always be free in this country.Man's inhumanity to another must never be hidden. Of course truth is always the first element to be thwarted in warfare. Read more
Published 6 months ago by catherine long
5.0 out of 5 stars A serious book about a very controversial topic.
Although this is a serious book about the British army's treatment of terrorist suspects, it is a real page-turner. It's totally absorbing, not a book you can dip in and out of. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Steve Hart
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacking any focus
The most puzzling thing about this book is why it was written. What was the author trying to achieve? Read more
Published 12 months ago by Ginger Webb
5.0 out of 5 stars A bit more than one bad apple
This book brings shame on the British armed forces, read this along with Cruel Britania by Ian Cobain, and you will see what our brave men (and women) including doctors and padre's... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Michael Jenkins
5.0 out of 5 stars heartbreaking.
"join the professionals" the army ads say. this bunch of thugs collectively don't attain the brain of an amoeba. they are a shameful stain on the british army! Read more
Published 20 months ago by paula potier
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