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LAST OF THE PIRATES: The Search for Bob Denard Hardcover – February 7, 1995


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 247 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon (February 7, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679422021
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679422020
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,588,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The Comoros are four small islands off the coast of Mozambique, three of which declared their independence from France in 1975. British writer David Lamb christened this little-known nation "Cloud Coup-Coup Land," no misnomer since the government suffered four coups between 1975 and 1992. It was the third of these, in which President Ahmed Abdallah Abderemane was murdered in 1989, that piqued the interest of British freelance journalist Weinberg. Of particular fascination to her was French mercenary Bob Denard, a major player in the Comorian security and military forces, who, since 1960, had served as a soldier of fortune throughout Africa before settling in the Comoros, where he overthrew two presidents within three years, then vanished. Weinberg treats Abderemane's assassination as a whodunit, not an entirely satisfactory approach, since all the witnesses were killed and even Denard's enemies didn't see him as the triggerman. Nonetheless this is an absorbing and well-told tale. Photos.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Weinberg, a young British journalist with ties to South Africa, is intrigued with African politics. When she heard about French mercenary Bob Denard and his exploits on the tiny Comoros Islands, she vowed to travel there and track down the truth about his role in the overthrow of one president and the death of another. The Coromos, known for their ylang-ylang flowers, which are used in French perfumes, and for Mount Karthala, the world's largest active volcano, are home for approximately 480,000 Muslims of Arabic, Malayo-Polynesian, and African descent. Weinberg provides a thumbnail sketch of the islands' lively history as a center for maritime trade, magnet for pirates, and scene of European power struggles, a tradition that continued into the 1970s and 1980s. That's where Denard comes in. A mercenary who survived some very messy missions in Africa, Denard ended up in the Coromos, where his role in the assassination of President Abdallah is still debated. Weinberg is a bit of a novice, but she certainly knows how to tell a good story and sheds some light on the clandestine world of one slick soldier of fortune. Donna Seaman

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
In Belgium, Britain, France and colonial Africa in the sixties, people followed the exploits of les affreux--the white mercenaries--like the easterners followed the exploits of the gun fighters and bank robbers of the Old West or the bank robbers of the 1930s. The most famous of the Congo mercenaries was Robert "Bob" Denard, whose mercenary career lasted from 1961 to 1995 and spanned eight countries in Africa and the Middle East. Denard was the only major Congo mercenary leader not to write his memoirs. Judging from the title of this book, I expected a biography. Alas, it was not. Weinberg spends only seven pages on his life and career before the 1978 Comoros coup which put his patron, Ahmed Abdullah Abderamane, in power as president. Denard remained in the Comoros as the power behind the throne for the next eleven years until Abdallah was murdered on the night of Nov. 26, 1989. Denard was suspected of the murder but never tried. Most of the book is an investigation, done through interviews with witnesses--most of whom the author feels are lieing--into the murder. Finishing the book I knew no more about the murder than I did from reading a couple of articles in Jeune Afrique at the time of the murder. The best part of the book were the interviews with Denard and with those who worked with him in the Comoros. This book will be a valuable source for someone writing a biography of Denard in English--but it fails as a substitute for one. It also does not provide enough context about the French role in Africa during Denard's early career, but only hints at it during the interviews and in the postscript.Read more ›
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