The Trigger: Hunting the Assassin Who Brought the World to War is a remarkable historical travelogue that blends the life of Gavrilo Princep, the man who shot dead Archduke Franz Ferdinand Karl Ludwig Josef von Habsburg-Lothringen in 1914, thereby setting in motion events that started the First World War, with that of the author's own experiences and memories from time spent reporting on the Bosnian War between 1992 and 1995. Delivering a lively history lesson that reaches far beyond a simple retelling of the assassination, The Trigger is essential reading for anyone interested in Balkan and World War I history.
The Dead Yard ain't no usual travel book, oh no, but I love it. Part social commentary, travelogue and historical account of the Jamaica that exists behind the sand, sun and sex that most tourists only ever experience, this is an impressively comprehensive and accessible narrative of a country still struggling to break free of the slavery shackles binding Jamaicans today via its class and racial divides.
Where Soldiers Fear to Tread is an extremely interesting and frightening account of Burnett's time working for the United Nations during the 1998 flood relief operations in Somalia. Whilst mostly a first person story about the difficulties and experiences he endures, Burnett also provides an indictment on how the UN treats those in the field, as well as the issue of Western aid that is sure to have you questioning the role of foreign intervention in third world countries.
If you don't know your Baltics from from your Balkans, then Balkan Ghosts is the book for you. Well known travel journalist Robert D. Kaplan wrote this, his third book, from his travels and experiences across the Balkan Peninsula in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union and immediately prior to the Yugoslav Wars that began in 1991.
Surrender or Starve: Travels in Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, and Eritrea is not, as the title might suggest, a travel book, but rather a geopolitical discourse on a a crucial period in the Horn of Africa's history. At its heart this is predominantly a story of the modern history of Ethiopia between 1984 and 1987 during which the western media beamed in images of a drought-scarred landscape and heart-rending famine scenes that led to the 1985 Live Aid benefit concert which I can still recall some thirty years later.