Michael Scott Moore spent 977 days as a hostage of Somali pirates. He is a journalist and in 2012 he set out for the Somali coast on a reporting trip when he was kidnapped. What followed was a two and a half year ordeal that he masterfully recounts in his new book: The Desert and the Sea.

In our conversation we discuss his capture and time in captivity, as well as broader issues surrounding piracy off the coast of Somalia. And one thing that does come through is that the gang that held Michael was part of an organized crime network whose business was kidnapping for ransom. The foot soldiers of this gang are far from what we might typically consider as “pirates.”

This book is both a beautifully written memoir and exposé into a criminal underworld that contribute to instability in the Horn of Africa.

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