Somalia: the world’s most notorious failed state, and one of the most dangerous places on earth.

It’s a land of pirates, criminal gangs and militant Islamists, which even the military might of the U.S.A. couldn’t tame. With no government for two decades, there can be few worse places to be taken hostage…

This is Sunday Telegraph foreign correspondent Colin Freeman’s account of being kidnapped on the lawless Somali pirate coast – and how it became a haven for modern-day buccaneers.

‘More than simply a Terrific book on the scourge of Somali piracy, Freeman’s wry style and heartfelt candour raises Kidnapped to the highest rank’
Tim Butcher, author of Blood River

‘A hair-raising account of life as a prisoner of Somalia’s 21st century buccaneers. Essential reading for anyone interested in the world’s most broken state, and why it became that way’
Oliver Poole, London Evening Standard



COLIN FREEMAN is a burnt-out newspaper hack, wasting his life hanging around outside the houses of minor celebrities. His job is soul-destroyingly pointless and his personal life isn’t much better. His girlfriend wants commitment he can’t give and the future looks bleak. So he jacks it all in and goes to Iraq – as Britain’s most amateur war correspondent. Shacked up in a filthy $5 a night hotel, he finds a city – and a country – in turmoil. Half the people he meets are mad, drunk or fanatical (and armed to the teeth) and the other half are trying to rebuild their lives after George Bush’s invasion. Against the odds, Freeman finds his feet as a reporter and reveals a slice of Iraq unlike any other (and gets shot in the backside for his troubles).
The Curse of the Al Dulaimi Hotel – half of the inhabitants are kidnapped or, like Freeman, shot – is a hilarious and insightful travelogue from the edges of modern journalism.
“Hugely entertaining and honest… neither a macho ‘seen it all before’ war correspondent memoir, nor an angst-ridden self-flaggellation.” — Daily Mail (UK), January 9, 2009

“Freeman’s light tone darkens as the violence in Baghdad escalates; he communicates his experiences in a refreshingly unmacho way.”
— Sunday Telegraph (UK), August 24, 2008


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