The Long Read

A long version of what happened in Somalia is available at The Guardian, and, in somewhat shorter form, for German readers, in Der Spiegel. It’s long, but not even near complete. Enormous parts of the story have been left untold. They’ll have to wait for a book. But it was important to lay out some basic facts and correct the strange idea that I had traveled in Somalia without security. That rumor was nonsense, and the rumor that I’d been shot in the hand was also pure pirate fabrication. Those bits of gossip had a strange half-life among my friends after I went free; now I hope they’ll be put to rest.

A short Radio 4 interview about the story aired on the BBC as well as NPR. It’s archived here, at 29 min 55 sec. And the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting has a roundup of coverage so far.

I want to thank everyone who helped get me out of Somalia, in Germany and the United States, and for the still-astonishing support from my family and friends.

ALSO: The picture above shows our arrival in Hobyo in January 2012, several days before my abduction. A Land Rover shaped in plaster, on the right, decorates the mansion of a Somali pirate boss named Fatxi.


Michael Scott Moore is a journalist and a novelist, author of a comic novel about L.A., Too Much of Nothing, as well as a travel book about surfing, Sweetness and Blood, which was named a best book of 2010 by The Economist. He’s won Fulbright, Logan, and Pulitzer Center grants for his nonfiction, and a MacDowell Colony fellowship for his fiction.

He worked for several years as an editor and writer at Spiegel Online in Berlin. He was kidnapped in early 2012 on a reporting trip to Somalia and held hostage by pirates for 32 months. The Desert and the Sea, a memoir about that ordeal, is out now from HarperCollins.

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Speaking Events

January 31, 2019

Hermosa Beach Historical Society

On the history of surfing, and Sweetness & Blood

6pm

710 Pier Avenue
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

April 03, 2019

University of New Hampshire

Current Issues Lecture Series

7pm

Memorial Union Building

Strafford Room
83 Main Street

Durham, NH 03824

more speaking events

VIDEOS

My review of Ingrid Betancourt's first novel, The Blue Line, is up at the Los Angeles Review of Books.

While I was in Somalia a man called Geoff Carter wrote about a picture of Indian men surfing on stand-up boards around 1800 off Chennai, which altered the known history of surfing a bit, even though the picture was hiding in plain sight at the Australian National Maritime Museum.

The men from the Naham 3 are all friends of mine — a crew of 26 sailors from southeast Asia who worked on a tuna long-liner flagged in Oman but owned by a company in Taiwan, which abandoned them after Somali pirates hijacked the ship in 2012.

A version of what happened in Somalia is available as a Long Read at The Guardian, and, in somewhat shorter form, for German readers, in Der Spiegel. It’s not even near complete. Enormous parts of the story have been left untold.

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