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'Eat the Heart of the Infidel'

The Harrowing of Nigeria and the Rise of Boko Haram

Andrew Walker



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C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd
25 February 2016
Boko Haram's appetite for exemplary violence and kidnapping women and girls has thrust it to the top of the global news agenda. In a few furious years its cadres have all but severed parts of northern Nigeria -- Africa's most populous state and largest economy -- from the hands of the government in Abuja. Videos broadcast by Boko Haram feature its leader, a grimacing rantingdemagogue who taunts viewers, claiming he will 'eat the heart of the infidel' and calling on Nigerians to reject their corrupt democracy and return to a 'pure' form of Islam. Thousands have been slaughtered in their campaign of purification which has evolved through a bloody civil war. In Northern Nigeria - which has witnessed many caliphates in the past - radical ideas flourish and strange sects are common. Boko Haram has drawn on and exploited these traditions to mobilise people against the corruption of Nigeria's politicians and oligarchs who have preyed on a state buoyed by oil revenues and turned public institutions into spoons for the pot. When the going was good it didn't matter. Now a new ravenous force threatens them all.

Andrew Walker guides the reader through Boko Haram's hinterland - examining northern Nigeria's history, culture and politics - in search of where the group comes from and where Nigeria might be going.
By:   Andrew Walker
Imprint:   C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 225mm,  Width: 145mm,  Spine: 23mm
Weight:   381g
ISBN:   9781849045582
ISBN 10:   1849045585
Pages:   240
Publication Date:   25 February 2016
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Andrew Walker has been writing about Nigeria since 2006. He worked in Abuja for The Daily Trust and reported from there for the BBC.

Reviews for 'Eat the Heart of the Infidel': The Harrowing of Nigeria and the Rise of Boko Haram

'Walker's book is anecdotal, well researched and engaging. He has a novelist's eye for story and situation. But the most important thing is that he knows Nigeria well, having lived there for about a decade ... there is no denying the author's mastery of his subject and the usefulness of this overview to anyone interested in Nigerian history and the role of religion in Nigerian politics.' -- The Guardian; 'A fascinating and disturbing read. Eat the Heart of the Infidel is vital for anyone interested in understanding the origins of Boko Haram.' -- Jon Lee Anderson, New Yorker staff writer, and author of 'Guerrillas: Journeys in the Insurgent World'; 'Boko Haram have often appeared as nothing more than a Nigerian offshoot of Al Qaeda. Andrew Walker's wide-ranging, solidly-researched and grippingly-told story shows a more complex and troubling picture of a group whose historical precedents go back centuries, and whose recent rise owes as much to local social injustice, political instability and local rivalries as to religious fanaticism. The conflict as Walker presents it is over nothing less than Nigeria's identity.' -- Anthony Sattin, author of 'The Gates of Africa'; 'Global responses to modern day terrorism have been marked by a crisis of imagination and an inability to look back in search of the solutions that would enable us to move forward. Andrew Walker's book provides us with a rare insight into the historical and cultural factors that drive insurgencies, a veritable road map into this complex world.' -- Dr Fatima Akilu, expert on countering violent extremism and Director, Neem Institute; 'In a sea of shabby work on Boko Haram, from the excessively sensational to the simplistic, Andrew Walker's stands out by going many extra miles, reaching the heart of several matters either unexplored or inadequately dealt with by most previous commentators. Whatever one makes of the connections he teases out between contemporary events and historical figures in northern Nigeria, one thing is evident: Eat the Heart of the Infidel is well-researched, deeply contemplated, and beautifully written.' -- Elnathan John, Nigerian novelist, satirist and writer

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