Murder in Samarkand Goes Paperless

by craig on April 23, 2013 11:45 am in Uncategorized

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!!

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  1. About David H in the last thread,

    David H dismisses my comment with “Wow – the conspiracy theorists are out in force. You do encourage them, Mr Murray!”

    Then, totally ignoring the photographic evidence that I point to he goes off in a tangent about some Russian involvement that is entirely (100%) speculative and – most informative of all – assumes that the official line is correct and that the poor patsies are guilty as (not) charged. Sadly, our host apparently goes along with this.

    It should be made clear that – as documented by Andraes von Bulow who oversaw German intelligence – some 80% of intelligence agency budgets is spent on propaganda, or (in other words) disinformation. Billions of dollars per year.

    We cannot compete against such a flood of monetary-generated propaganda, but, surely, we can remain open minded and skeptical.

  2. Sorry. Forgot to add: congratulations Craig. Delighted.

  3. Jingle Jangle

    23 Apr, 2013 - 12:12 pm

    Craig. For those of us who have already purchased the hardback version and who would welcome the chance of reading it direct on their iPad, without giving money to Amazon to spirit offshore, do you have any plans to “self publish” an electronic version (PDF for example) so you can pay a smidgeon of your massive income (cue laughter from CM) to HMRC who will no doubt pee it up the wall when it goes to the general fund.

  4. let’s stick the Amazon quotes up-front.

    A fearless book by a fearless man. Craig Murray tells the truth whether the “authorities” like it or not. I salute a man of integrity (Harold Pinter )

    I enjoyed reading, between shudders . . . It really is a remarkable achievement (Noam Chomsky )

    An amazing narrative, beautifully written, of one man’s war on the war on terror. Fascinating, compelling . . . a bloody good read (John Sweeney Literary Review )

    Heroic . . . rings horribly true. It helps explain the moral bankruptcy [of] the Blair government (Sir Max Hastings Sunday Times )

    I thought that diplomats like Craig Murray were an extinct breed. A man of the highest principle (John Pilger )

    Definitely worth £5.69. You don’t need a physical Kindle to read it in case anyone wonders.

  5. Hi Craig,
    have you thought about translating the book into other languages? Russian language, for example? Russians are very good readers. Considering that almost everyone in the ex-soviet republics reads and speaks Russian you may have a vast number of readers in waiting. I must say it is a well written and extremely readable book.

  6. Having worked in Uzbekistan I can certainly verify most of it. I think the most distressing aspect is that people do not realise that Uzbeks are the silient victims of the so called war on terror. Not that I wish to give him credit, but Karimov has exploited the dynamics of this situation extremely well. I sincerely hope I see a free and liberated Uzbekistan as they are very nice people, and I maintain an affection for them.

  7. OT 8 Chinese ships enter Senkaku waters

    Japanese coast guard patrollers say 8 Chinese government ships have entered Japan’s territorial waters off the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

  8. Coincidentally I received a copy of this from the RNIB Talking Book service on my doormat yesterday morning. Very much looking forward to listening to it Craig. I hope your other book(s) will make it to their catalogue too someday.

  9. Gary,

  10. james "jim" toothpick robinson peters smith

    23 Apr, 2013 - 12:54 pm

    the paperback is cheaper (4.63 inc postage)

  11. james "jim" toothpick robinson peters smith

    23 Apr, 2013 - 12:58 pm

    HMRC who will no doubt pee it up the wall when it goes to the general fund.

    No, they’ll give it to Chechen terrorists in Turkey to buy pressure cookers to take into Syria.

  12. james "jim" toothpick robinson peters smith

    23 Apr, 2013 - 12:59 pm

    I haven’t read the one about Catholics in orange togas yet

  13. I had no idea it was available as an RNIB talking book! How delightful. Has been for four years, I see.

  14. Craig, your existence is worthwhile, with or without a book. Look around you, ignore the people and artificial constructions, it’s an amazing thing this universe. There’s a lot to fix but don’t let the lack of time spoil your enjoyment of the short journey.

  15. Keep thar pecker up lad. I certainly appreciate your musings and i’m a daft nutter Troy gimp who probably shares approximately bugger all sympathy with any of your philosophies but damn well enjoy your critical faculties.

    COT – but I saw young Nicholas of Clegg doing a party political broadcast last night for the locals and he really hasn’t worked out that he’s a blethering liability to the Libbers. Geez, the 3 leaders at the moment have about as much gravitas as a fart in a lift with none of the comedy. Is this what Blighty has become? Choosing between 3 sghades of shite? Whoopy doo – hang out the bunting!

    All the best


  16. technicolour

    23 Apr, 2013 - 3:22 pm

    I was thinking fondly of Craig’s morale only last night, rather like a cat: appreciative and gentle pats to it. Grand that the book’s out on kindle – many people use them to sample texts before buying, for one thing.

  17. That’s great news, Craig. I already have the book in hardback, but I may download the Kindle version too. I’d like to read the book again, and Kindle has the advantage of allowing me to change font size, which is a bonus for my tired eyes!

  18. Uzbek in the UK

    23 Apr, 2013 - 4:09 pm

    First of all, Congratulations Mr Murray. The book is brilliant. Took me back to my (unfortunately) sad memories but also to plenty of great memories about the country where I was born and grew up. I will certainly post my review of the book which I read many times, on Amazon.

    Now, Gare, thank you for your warm wards about my compatriots. The situation with Uzbekistan is much more than Uzbeks being victims of War on Terror. It is scope of economic underdevelopment, richness with mineral resources (applies to the wider region and not only to Uzbekistan), difficult neighbourhood, 70+ years of soviet legacy (that was positive in some areas but also built strong foundations for non democratic governance and economic missmanagment) and so on. Karimov does not only exploit war on terror he plays US, EU, China and Russia against each other and maximises his benefit both political and economic. Being part of soviet legacy himself he know no other ways of governing as ensuring that his power is unchallenged by preventing any oppositional ideas to gather into a political force. The other part of the problem is people themselves. Never experiencing democratic governance and being colonised throughout most of the history (majority of) local population (unlike Europeans) are sceptical of any liberal ideas, which they understand as possible ways of deception and ripping them off. Social conservatism is one of the great reasons of many evils in Uzbekistan and in wider region.

  19. i have never posted here, or any forum before. Craig i have followed you and your work for several years now and am always exceptionally greatful for your clarity on a wide range of issues. I have a degree in econmics and politics, but am always astounded at the light you shine on the crap peddled by big media.
    please keep up the work, i do truely miss your posts when you disapear from time to time. your insight is invaliable. yes, i know my spelling s crap!

  20. Good luck with the kindle edition, Craig.


    The CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, has a new book out today, “The New Digital Age”.

    It’s received rave reviews from what Cryptome describes as the ghosts of Bilderberg:

    Interestingly, Julian Assange was “secretly” interviewed by Eric Schmidt for asssistance with the book in 2011, when he was still a guest of Vaughan Smith while on bail.

    Seems Julian is the teacher and Eric the student.

    More interestingly, others present at the interview were Jared Cohen, a former advisor to Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, Scott Malcomson, Director of Speechwriting for Ambassador Susan Rice at the US State Department and current Communications Director of the International Crisis Group, and Lisa Shields, Vice President of the Council on Foreign Relations.

    A full transcript and mp3/ogg download of the discussion are available here:

  21. Michael Stephenson

    23 Apr, 2013 - 5:37 pm

    You can use Calibre (which is available for Linux, Windows and OSX) to strip about the DRM and convert it to epub which can be read by other readers.

  22. Michael Stephenson

    23 Apr, 2013 - 5:41 pm

    Incidentally, having just bought it, it hasn’t been released yet and can not be downloaded until May 24th.

  23. This will no doubt help to encourage Amazon to pay its due taxes here and elsewhere.

    Congratulations for helping Amazon help you.

  24. Craig … “helps me feel my own existence is worthwhile” … Dude! It’s just me in America, but I am so grateful for you and your blog and for all you’ve done and keep doing. I love checking in and finding a new post here. Thank you for so much, and hang in there.

  25. Thanks Michael Stephenson

  26. Uzbek in the UK,

    Yes you make good points. It is of course possible that I sought to oversimplify the dynamics. I used to look around me and think what the people could achieve if they were inspired by someone who had their interests at heart given the resources nature has given the country. I also felt sad that my country so often turned a blind eye to the very things it renounces when circumstances suit. I don’t suppose I will ever get to return, but I maintain fond memories of time spend with people I sadly lost contact with.

  27. Greenmachine

    23 Apr, 2013 - 9:57 pm


    Keep your head up – you are an inspirational individual and have been since you took the principled decision to leave the FCO behind. You certainly keep this Yorkie cynic informed and enthused despite the dire state of our political class!

    The BBC 4 play of your book is great and I will be downloading onto the wife’s Kindle in May….make a change from the free ‘bodice rippers’!

    Have you managed to read Tony Judt’s ‘Ill fares the land’ – I found it a clear and uplifting vision of what a true Social Democracy should look like. A greatly missed humanitarian thinker with a philosphy not unlike your own methinks.

  28. Hat tip Craig – stand tall dude.

  29. Good stuff Craig.

    Well done! ;.)

  30. Craig

    Since it is human nature to bury distress, it follows that we only experience it when we have come to a position of safety, where it can be digested, suffered and even relished. The world of Tobias Smollett with its pennyworth, scatty tribulations is a good antidote to today’s seriousness and deceitfulness. The best antidote to gloom is to invoke God against the devil who is constantly trying to wind us up and get us depressed and into coping mode instead of rational thought.

    Your blog is an oasis of free speech. They also serve who only stand and wait. The fact that you serve the thinking public by opening this forum, rather than the political class as a diplomat is a major humanitarian achievement. This week the Tories had the nerve to attack the nurses who help the sick. Operating the lethal levers of power makes them think they are doing something useful. Last time I visited a hospital ward to see my elderly neighbour the nurse said: ‘We only have young patients here’, as we walked past rows of utterly incapacitated 70/80/90 year olds.

    Your tempered writing is profoundly encouraging, in an impatient world that is prepared to sacrifice anything for the adrenolin of change. Exposing the reckless, gambling greed of politicians helps people to cope with change and fear. Change is inevitable, for instance the change of Islam from private practise to public participation. It feels better if you can have a good swipe at the people who are giving you hassle, because you have to go with the flow either way. Give them a run for their money is a better philosophy than just being permanently enslaved to other people’s ideas.

  31. 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?

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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 website and its transatlantic parent, . 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 . 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 [“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 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 website would be reactive rather than pusillanimously reflective of a culture cowed by anticipative fear of writs from the Queen’s Schillings ( see ) . I submitted to 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’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. 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 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?

  36. 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.

  37. Sam from UK but in NZ

    26 Apr, 2013 - 12:32 am

    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!

  38. As a PS to my earlier comments on the reviews of “Murder in Samarkand”, I should have added that of the 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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