Pirate Alley: Commanding Task Force 151 Off Somalia, by Rear Admiral Terry McKnight US Navy (Retired) and Michael Hirsh
This is the fourth book I have received from the Naval Historical Society to review, and I requested this book for reasons that should be obvious to many readers of my blog. For one, I have a deep interest in piracy, especially piracy off the coast of Somalia. This is the sort of environment that tends to inspire a lot of armchair policy recommendations, but this book appealed to me because it was written by someone who commanded the US-led multinational anti-piracy task force in the Gulf of Aden, and that gives the book a sense of credibility that many would-be expects simply lack.
Besides the fact that the book deals with Somalia and piracy, two subjects this blog has dealt with often and at some length, there are some other minor touches that make this book of interest to me. For one, I happen to be really fond of logistics, and shipping is still the main way that items are transported around the world, even if it is an aspect of logistics that I have no personal experience in. Another minor touch is that my favorite number is 151, something that is quirky and that a lot of people might not understand, and something that it is not really necessary to explain, or really all that related to the subject of the book.
Judging from what I have read on the dust jacket of the book so far, I have a few explanations for the book. For one, I expect a well-written account of a talented (and friendly–I have exchanged e-mails with him) naval officer and his experiences in command off the coast of Somalia. For another, I expect an introduction on piracy and the roots of the phenomenon in Somalia. And I also expect some piracy recommendations from someone who has experience in dealing with it. And that makes this a worthwhile read, and something I look forward to reviewing. With about 220 pages of solid text to read in fairly small page sizes, I do not expect this book to provide too difficult a read for anyone interested in its subject matter. And there is something to be said for directness and accessibility.