In The Mayor of Mogadishu, one of the BBC’s most experienced foreign correspondents, Andrew Harding, reveals the tumultuous life of Mohamoud “Tarzan” Nur—an impoverished nomad who was abandoned in a state orphanage in newly independent Somalia, and became a street brawler and activist. When the country collapsed into civil war and anarchy, Tarzan and his young family became part of an exodus, eventually spending twenty years in north London.
But in 2010 Tarzan returned, as Mayor, to the unrecognizable ruins of a city now almost entirely controlled by the Islamist militants of Al Shabab. For many in Mogadishu, and in the diaspora, Tarzan became a galvanizing symbol of courage and hope for Somalia. But for others, he was a divisive thug, who sank beneath the corruption and clan rivalries that continue, today, to threaten the country’s revival.
The Mayor of Mogadishu is a rare an insider’s account of Somalia’s unraveling, and an intimate portrayal of one family’s extraordinary journey.
"Andrew Harding, one of the BBC’s most intrepid and empathetic journalists . . . has chronicled the extraordinarily uplifting life of one Somali, Mohamud Nur, nicknamed Tarzan . . . According to Mr Harding, Tarzan’s courage, inventiveness and resilience typify the finest qualities of the Somali people. It would be wrong, he insists, to give up hope."—The Economist
"Captivating . . . With a fascinating protagonist and the riches-to-rags story told in an intimate and sympathetic manner without whitewashing the chaos of one of the most dangerous cities in the world, the book is a great read."—The East African
"The Mayor of Mogadishu is much more than the story of one ambitious Somali politician. It is the modern history of one of the world’s most troubled country, told with sensitivity, wisdom and compassion—and a rollicking good read besides."—The National
"Harding brings this East African coastal country to vivid life . . . made up of tall, slender nomads whom he found 'impossibly, jaw-droppingly resilient' in the face of decades of hardship and violence . . . A beautifully rendered narrative and characterization portrays the soul of a country few Westerners truly understand."—Kirkus Reviews
Reviews from Goodreads
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