Somalia: The New Barbary? Piracy and Islam in the Horn of Africa
by Martin N. Murphy
Columbia University Press, 179 pp., $26.50 (to be published on November 23)
Warriors: Life and Death Among the Somalis
by Gerald Hanley
London: Eland, 228 pp., $32.95 (distributed in the US by Dufour)
Abshir Boyah is one of Somalia’s pirate chieftains. Last spring, he took me to lunch at a small restaurant directly across the street from the presidential palace of the Puntland semiautonomous regional government. Boyah has hijacked dozens of ships and is a member of a secretive council of pirates called “The Corporation.” He is six foot four, very thin, with a long, handsome face, brilliant white teeth, and a booming, supremely confident laugh. The minute we walked into the restaurant, he was surrounded by admirers.