Murder in Samarkand Goes Paperless 38


Finally Murder in Samarkand is coming out in an electronic edition. Here it is on Kindle. I expect it will be available on other platforms as well.

I cheer myself up sometimes by reading the customer reviews on Amazon. Very few books with so many reviews have so high an average rating. To find that the book means a lot to so many people helps me feel my own existence is worthwhile. If you have read it and have you not already done so, you might consider posting your own review. While I can’t pretend I find the less admiring reviews equally cheering, I do find them useful and instructive too, so please do be frank.

I also strongly commend David Hare’s radio adaptation and David Tennant’s performance in it. If you haven’t already listened to that, click on David Tennant’s picture top right then persist in clicking on play in subsequent pages. The BBC seems determined it will not get broadcast a second time despite the star names attached, so anything you can do to get others to listen to it via your own blogs etc is appreciated.

This is an unapologetic “keep Craig’s morale up” post!!


38 thoughts on “Murder in Samarkand Goes Paperless

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  • Jay

    Guano- The politicial governance as it is , spearheads the mass of institutioms and corporations that have ownership and control from oligopoly to momopoly.

    A trend of which you point out ‘adrenalim of change.’

    Yes and one it seems detrimental to the notion of godliness, in all forms.

    How are the bitrds your way, we have ‘drumming’ snipes here?

  • John Goss

    Ten years of lies and deceit and the shady west continues to support the Karimovs and their repressive dictatorship. After I read “Murder in Samarkand” I did everything to promote this important historical document because it told me things I and other ordinary readers needed to know. I defy any decent person to have placed before their inner eye a picture of a man deliberately ‘boiled to death’ without any condemnation from their native land, even when this picture was presented to our leaders by the British ambassador to Uzbekistan.

    I very soon realised that there was a powerful elite preventing its widespread distribution. This was modern history – not a sanitised text-book that glorifies some evil empire – and therefore it should have been on every university library shelf. In the end I stopped emailing international relations’ professors whose duty it was, in my opinion, to ensure that it was purchased by their departments. It turned out to be a waste of time and effort. Even today, I have just checked the catalogue, the University of Birmingham does not have a copy of this work. That tells you something, or ought to do. Perhaps Jack Straw can tell us why. On the cover is a classic quote by Straw.

    ‘Craig Murray has been a deep embarrassment to the entire Foreign Office’

    My only criticism of this history book, a history book that reads like a novel, is the paper it’s printed on. It’s already browning at the edges, a sure sign of acid-reduced pulp-stock, and in a hundred years or more it will start to crumble in your hands. A good job then that is now available as an electronic book. Perhaps the universities will start making it available. Don’t bank on it.

    Congratulations on your persistence and integrity, Craig Murray.

  • John Goss

    Regarding English universities here is a list of known holdings of Murder in Samarkand from a COPAC search.

    • Imperial College
    • Leeds
    • Liverpool
    • London Library
    • London School of Economics
    • Oxford
    • Southampton
    • St. Andrews
    • Warwick
    • British Library
    • Cardiff
    • Trinity College Dublin
    • UCL (University College London)
    • School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS)

    Cambridge should be on this list too, so I doubt it is complete.

  • Abe Rene

    All the best with the Kindle edition. I hope that lots of people will read it and then exert what influence they can for human rights.

  • Iain Orr

    There’s a revealing story about the Amazon reviews of “Murder On Samarkand”. First, you have to appreciate that reviews are not shared between the Amazon.co.uk website and its transatlantic parent, Amazon.com . As a tyro Amazon reviewer, I quickly learned this lesson. In most cases it makes sense, anyway, to write different reviews for different audiences – including different spellings e.g. for “Labor Party” – since the shared political and cultural allusions on which one can rely in Inverness or Wolverhampton may not mean much in Houston or Schenectady.

    The first review I wrote of “Murder in Samarkand” was for Amazon.co.uk . It included the following passage: “…only to be stabbed in the back by his own Prime Minister. Tony Blair ignored diplomatic advice if it conflicted his relations with George W. Bush…”. However, you will not find that passage in the published “most helpful review” of the book on Amazon.co.uk [“Telling the Truth for his Country” of 11 July 2006, which 99 of 100 people found “helpful”]. Here is why. When I became concerned at the delay in my submitted review being published, I started an email exchange with the website. That revealed that Amazon.co.uk wished to censor my submission for using “inappropriate language”.

    So, I then decided to test my judgement that – reflecting the US Constitution’s entrenched provisions in defence of free speech, still a feature of the USA which I find immensely comforting – the editorial arrangements for the Amazon.com website would be reactive rather than pusillanimously reflective of a culture cowed by anticipative fear of writs from the Queen’s Schillings ( see http://uk-mg42.mail.yahoo.com/neo/launch#mail ) . I submitted to Amazon.com the same review. Lo, within 15 minutes it was on the website and has been there ever since: “A Diplomat Tells the Truth for his Country” of 11 July 2006, also the “most helpful review” – attracting 30 of 31 “helpful” ticks.

    I was then faced with a decision: whether or not to submit to Amazon.co.uk’s censorship. I decided – no doubt influenced by the vanity of wanting to appear in electronic print and influential in my own society* – to submit an amended review (see my second paragraph, above), which was published on the website.
    * I’m not sure if Craig was ever on an FCO training course at the London Business School. The one I went on revealed that the psychological profile of UK diplomats differed sharply from that of senior Shell executives. What motivated the latter was money; what turned on diplomats was their G-spot of “you are influential” being expertly located and massaged. Bear that lesson in mind – expanded to cover other sectors of the UK’s unwritten social constitution – and you will be well on your way to becoming a social anthropologist with qualifications based on fieldwork along the Great Rift Valley of Great Britain.

    These are the accommodations which our media culture forces many to make; or to shut up. Amazon.co.uk are devoted worshippers at the shrine of “the markets”, the anti-poor, pro-rich, homophobic, misogynist, celebrity culture which newspaper proprietors love and support until it turns round and bites them (cf Jimmy Savile, cf hacking, cf the fear of honest definitions of corruption).

    Let me end with a topical example of organizations that mimic Amazon.co.uk in their fear of scourging by the Daily Mail and the pornographer’s Daily Express for their sensitivity to political correctness. I tried to send a friend an email about the London Marathon with the text of Giles Fraser’s entertaining article in the Guardian on Saturday 20 April 2013. It bounced back because it included “hate/offensive language”. I was flabbergasted: there had been no four-letter words in my email, as there are in far too many blogs or tweets. Why was my attempt to be influential failing? After much cogitation it appears that the culprit was Giles Fraser’s own text. He had explained that, unfit as he was, he was running to raise funds for a charity that supported poor and disadvantaged people in an Accra slum, known locally as “Sodom and Gomorrah”. As far as I can see the defensive electronic walls of at least one London borough need to be raised, like the Thames Barrier, whenever the word “Sodom” appears in any inflooding email. Don’t you feel safer?

  • daniel

    I can honestly say (and this is no exaggeration), two books have changed the way I look at my life – John Pilger’s ‘Hidden Agendas’ and Craig Murray’s ‘Murder In Samarkand’. I can’t even begin to describe how wonderful these books are so I won’t try, suffice to say they are life affirming.

  • Sam from UK but in NZ

    Hi Craig, i wish to express the same sentiments as the vast majority of people on here! Your posts shine a light on such a wide range of issues and i, for one, am very grateful for the hard work and passion you clearly put into your work!

    I have been backpacking around europe, india, nepal, and now will be finding work in new zealand. Wherever i’ve been i have checked into your website when i get a minute on a computer and try to tell as many people as possible to check it out! I have to say i enjoyed my time in india but there is a lot negative aspects to indian society and that is often very difficult to stomach. your piece the other day on these issues was appreciated.

    Keep up the good work!

  • Iain Orr

    As a PS to my earlier comments on the reviews of “Murder in Samarkand”, I should have added that of the http://www.amazon.com website there are a totally different set of reviews of the separate US edition of Craig’s book. The title and cover (for the latter see Private Eye of ) say it all in terms of contrasting UK and US publishing traditions as far as titles, book design and marketing go. You need to look for the US version under it’s full title: ” Dirty Diplomacy: The Rough-and-Tumble Adventures of a Scotch-Drinking, Skirt-Chasing, Dictator-Busting and Thoroughly Unrepentant Ambassador Stuck on the Frontline of the War Against Terror”.

    Craig’s is, of course, one of those books which crosses genre boundaries and which booksellers therefore sometimes have difficuly displaying in an appropriate section. As Craig knows, “Murder in Samarkand” can still sometimes be found jostling for attention besides P D James titles in the Crime section, while I’m sure “Dirty Diplomacy” must be in the Fetish section of some bookstores in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

    Finally, for really excellent analysis of West African issues and for an excellent read (with an inspired title), anyone who has liked (or hated) “Murder in Samarkand” will feel the same about “The Catholic Orangemen of Togo”. Read it and post comments on it here if you want to cheeer him up, as he like most of us sometimes needs.

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