- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Vintage (13 Jun. 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099575116
- ISBN-13: 978-0099575115
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 326,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
A Very British Killing: The Death of Baha Mousa Paperback – 13 Jun 2013
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More About the Author
"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 or 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)
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
Williams book, a forensic examination of this incident, comes in four parts. The first, situated in Iraq, and second part where we return to Britain, cover the investigation by the Royal Military Police who don't, even taking into account the difficult conditions, inspire much confidence, but still they are attempting to construct a case? Eventually 7 soldiers are charged including a senior officer, and a date for a court martial set. All this takes three years.
Williams expert eye on matters legal is readily apparent, and throws much needed light on the shady court martial that forms the third part of the book. All the prosecution witnesses from the army have developed a pretty comprehensive case of amnesia that no amount of prodding by the prosecution will cure; the Iraqi witnesses are subjected to protracted, aggressive questioning by the "best" legal minds in the country, who take brutal advantage of the fact that the Iraqis were hooded with empty hessian sandbags for almost the entirety of their ordeal. And if after that your not feeling thoroughly nauseated there's a whole barrage of witnesses heaping extravagant praise of the pass me the bucket brand on the most senior of the accused, Colonel Mendonca. Eventually the trial is brought to a halt by the judge.Read more ›
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.
a more balanced view of what actually happens to soldiers and their prisoners when there is deep mutual distrust.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
You can see why this was a worthy winner of the Winner of the Orwell Prize for Political Writing 2013.Published 22 days ago by P. J. Dunn
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. ShamefulPublished 23 months ago by Amazon Customer
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 morePublished on 28 Jan. 2014 by catherine long
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.Published on 31 Aug. 2013 by broken britain
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. Read morePublished on 19 Aug. 2013 by Sharifah Sekalala
The most puzzling thing about this book is why it was written. What was the author trying to achieve? Read morePublished on 29 July 2013 by Ginger Webb
I was drawn to this because it won the George Orwell prize. I would ordinarily not have noticed this but for that reason. Read morePublished on 6 July 2013 by Mr. J. N. Plant
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 morePublished on 3 April 2013 by Michael Jenkins
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