Sunday 25 June 2023

I-Spy Penang, Malaysia. A reward for losing America

This is Fort Cornwallis, built by the British East India Company in the late 18th century to defend Penang against pirates. It was named after Earl Cornwallis, who lost America. Maybe I should have lost America, then I could have had a fort named after me!

Actually, that's a bit unfair to Cornwallis. There were plenty of British defeats and disasters in the American War of Independence (see my book Britain's 20 Worst Military Disasters, Spellmount), but the British never recovered from Cornwallis's surrender at Yorktown in 1781 and the following year parliament voted to end the war. Cornwallis went on to become Governor-General of India, and Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland.

Thursday 22 June 2023

How I became a victim of piracy!


My book Assassins' Deeds. A history of assassination from ancient Egypt to the present day (Reaktion Books) has apparently been translated into Persian without the permission of the publisher or of me, and without, of course, any payment being made for the rights. I assume that is its cover pictured above.

I owe this interesting piece of information to the 'Iran's Book News Agency' which reports that the work has been translated by 'Abbas-Gholi Ghaffari-Fard' and published by 'Tehran-based Negah Publishing'. Apart from that, the 'story' just reproduces a Reaktion press release issued when the book was published in the UK.

I understand from Reaktion that Negah has form and has pirated other books, and that it ignores communications. I hear from other sources that Persian publishers also translate magazines without permission. Rogue-state Iran is not a signatory to the Berne Convention which protects the rights of authors.

Wednesday 21 June 2023

The 5 most fascinating assassinations in history - my podcast

Dr James Rogers has just issued a challenge to me on his fascinating Warfare podcast - 'talk about the 5 most interesting assassinations in history'. Apparently it's the most popular episode this month.

We discuss methods, motives, causes, consequences, strange coincidences and weird twists of fate, drawing on my book 'Assassins' Deeds. A history of assassination from ancient Egypt to the present day.' (Reaktion Books).

Who did I pick? Do you know who was the only British prime minister to be assassinated? Which assassin did John Wilkes Booth quote when he shot Abraham Lincoln? And what role did love play in the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand?

The answers are here. See what you think of my choice: