Friday, September 09, 2011

What is Matt Potter reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Matt Potter, author of Outlaws Inc.: Under the Radar and on the Black Market with the World's Most Dangerous Smugglers.

His entry begins:
I love to read for research – a good thing too, being a journalist. Luckily, it doesn’t feel like work to me. While I was writing Outlaws Inc, though – and specifically while tracking mercenaries through East Africa or dodging rocket fire over Afghanistan – a few books kept me sane. Among them were what might be called ‘mission-critical’ books with a bearing on my research, my quarry or my predicament of the day. Others just reminded me what I do this for in the first place. Four of the latter are chosen here.

The Crisis Caravan, Linda Polman

That Linda Polman is fearless, as both a woman and a journalist, is beyond doubt. Her previous book, We Did Nothing, an account of the impotence, and at times complicity, of UN peacekeepers and aid workers in the field, from Rwanda and Bosnia to Haiti and Somalia. The Crisis Caravan, though, is something braver still: a calling to account of the global industry of aid. While there are truly shocking revelations – at least, to anyone who hasn’t seen the aid caravan’s failings with their own eyes in the world’s worst trouble spots – this is more than an exposé: Polman is at pains to point out that this is an industry notoriously bad at reforming itself, whether purging bad apples in its ranks (such as those who prey on Linkthe very people they are sent to help) or choosing its local partners (who often include the warlords and apparatchiks causing the humanitarian disaster). The Crisis Caravan is rich in anecdote, humanity – even humour – and...[read on]
Among the early praise for Outlaws Inc.:
“Journalist Matt Potter spins a nonfiction tale more suspenseful and compelling than any espionage novel.... Potter’s first-hand accounts of hair-raising missions, high-level obfuscation and battered humanity make his book a must-read for thrill-seekers and policy buffs alike. A vicarious thrill ride.”
--Joanna Oppenheimer, The Baltimore Sun

“**** Outlaws Inc. is a chilling indictment of a worldwide failure of regulatory will.”
--Manchester Evening News

Outlaws Inc is an explosive mix of heart-stopping action and tenacious detective work that shines a light into the darkest corners of the global underworld, revealing how these flying mercenaries operate – and their influence on the world we live in – all the more terrifying for being true.”
--Sean Rayment, author of Bomb Hunters and Security & Defence Correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph
Learn more about the book and author at Matt Potter's website.

Writers Read: Matt Potter.

--Marshal Zeringue