Close But No Cigar
By Stephen Purvis
WINNER OF THE CRIME WRITERS' ASSOCIATION GOLD DAGGER FOR NON-FICTION 2017'In its tragic absurdity, Close But No Cigar reads like a Graham Greene story, with a cast of characters to make Hemingway proud' Daily TelegraphFor over a decade Stephen Purvis had been a pillar of Havana's expat community, one of many foreign businessmen investing in Cuba's crawl from Cold War communism towards modernity. But for reasons unknown to him he was also under State Security's microscope. One morning during the height of President Raúl Castro's purges in 2012, while his family slept, the unmarked Ladas of State Security arrived at his home and he was taken away into the absurd and brutal world of Cuban justice.In this engrossing memoir, Purvis recounts his fifteen-month ordeal. Accused at first of selling state secrets, he is taken to the notorious interrogation centre Villa Marista, where he endures brutal conditions designed by the KGB and Stasi to break the bodies and minds of spies and political prisoners, and resists the paranoia and incompetence of his jailers. Later, held in a maximum-security prison, he finds himself surrounded by a motley crew of convicts: people-smugglers and drug-runners together with a handful of confused businessmen also awaiting formal charges.From his arrest to his farcical secret trial and sudden release, Purvis exposes the madness of modern Cuba with wit, grit and a sharp eye for character. As tourists flock to Havana to marvel at a city frozen in time, he shows that despite reforms and international reconciliation the Castro regime remains a corrupt, dictatorial relic. Close But No Cigar is part thriller, part comedy and part morality tale, but most of all a true story that takes the reader into a dark side of a sunny place that remains an enigma.
By Parag Khanna
Which lines on the map matter most?It's time to reimagine how life is organized on Earth. In Connectography, Parag Khanna guides us through the emerging global network civilization in which mega-cities compete over connectivity and borders are increasingly irrelevant. Travelling across the world, Khanna shows how twenty-first-century conflict is a tug-of-war over pipelines and Internet cables, advanced technologies and market access.Yet Connectography also offers a hopeful vision of the future - beneath the chaos of a world that appears to be falling apart, a new foundation of connectivity is pulling it together.
By Ben Chu
'Chu's smart, iconoclastic portrait dismantles seven misconceptions' [NEW STATESMEN] about modern China and offers a corrective to Western assumptions.THE CHINESE ARE THE MOST HARDWORKING PEOPLE ON EARTH...so why are the younger generation derided as spoiled and lazy?CHINESE PEOPLE DON'T CARE ABOUT POLITICAL FREEDOM...so why is the country's internet exploding with anti-regime dissent?CHINA WILL ONE DAY RULE THE WORLD...so why do the country's political leaders feel so insecure?Perhaps it is time to stop engaging in a centuries-old game of Chinese whispers in which the facts have become more and more distorted in the telling.Ben Chu examines the myths that have come to dominate our view of the world's most populous nation, forcing us to question everything we thought we knew about it. The result is a penetrating, surprising and provocative insight into China today.
By Michael Gove
Celsius 7/7 analyses how the West's approach to fundamentalism is destined to lead to further atrocities.In his column which appeared in The Times on the morning of 9/11, Michael Gove prophetically argued that the West's policy of appeasement towards terror was destined to provoke yet greater atrocities.In CELSIUS 7/7, Gove explores the roots of Islamic rage, the historical factors which culminated in the current terrorist campaign and the Muslim world's troubled accommodation with modernity. He also analyses the intellectual roots and political appeal of Islamism, explains the factors behind Jihadi violence and places the current fundamentalist challenge in context.Combining a broad historical sweep with character sketches of key figures such as Michel Aflaq, Charles de Gaulle, Sayyid Qutb, Donald Rumsfeld, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Henry Kissinger and Osama bin Laden, as well as a detailed survey of Western political failures, Gove's account is a shrewd and detached analysis that provides powerfully convincing recommendations for future action.