Piracy and politics

Reporter Jay Bahadur doesn’t fall for the myth that the pirates of Somalia were forced into crime by foreign intrusion into their fishing waters, and you won’t either, after you read his detailed look at the buccaneers of the Horn of Africa. In The Pirates of Somalia: Inside Their Hidden World, Bahadur describes the months of work he put in face-to-face with the pirates—and their neighbors—to understand the situation in one of the worst failed states in the world. While their neighbors live with civil war, poverty and food shortages, the pirates are after SUVs and other lavish consumer goods they’re going to buy with their ransoms. He details how modern piracy evolved and how it is a local response to a national—and international—problem. The pirates need a stable regime to operate, but would wither under a stable government; hence they really are a criminal enterprise born from chaos.