"A fluid, sympathetic journalistic foray... A beautifully rendered narrative and characterisation portrays the soul of a country few Westerners truly understand."

Kirkus "Starred" review


“Africa can be explained in dry prose, in figures, in newspaper reports; or it can be explained, as Andrew Harding does in this book, through an astonishing personal story, vivid and utterly memorable. This is a triumph of a book: surprising, informative, and humane."

Alexander McCall Smith


"A stunning odyssey. Harding masterfully shows us there is no 'them' in the world – there is only 'us'."

J.M. Ledgard - author of Submergence


 "A wonderful account of one of the most troubled yet beautiful countries on Earth, told by one of our most gifted and sensitive journalists. This is a book laced with hope amid the dark layers of hatred through which the Mayor of Mogadishu battles." 

Jon Snow - presenter Channel 4 News


"Andrew Harding's elegantly-written account is much more than a portrait of the Mayor of Mogadishu. In

bold, vivid brush-strokes it captures all the charm, colour, contradiction and menace of contemporary Somalia."

Michela Wrong – author of Borderlines


"Andrew Harding is one of the great foreign correspondents in any medium. He has a sympathy for Somalia and its people that shines through this powerful book. He disdains cliche and reductive analysis, in the process creating some of the most beautiful writing about Africa that I have ever read.”

Fergal Keane, author of Road of Bones and Season of Blood.


"One of Africa's most experienced correspondents zeroes in on one of the most intriguing characters in the extraordinary post-apocalyptic world of modern Mogadishu. Like the city and its mayor, Harding brings depth, clarity, nuance and occasional poetry to his story. Rich, epic and important.”

Alex Perry, author of The Rift


"An excellent portrait of Somalia. Harding captures the agony the country has suffered for the last 25 years but also the strength, resilience and the humour of its remarkable people.”

Richard Dowden, author Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles.