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Winner of the Orwell Prize for Political Writing 2013 This is the true story of a murder that sums up the stink of invading Iraq and why the Iraq story is far from over.

On 14 September 2003 Baha Mousa, a hotel receptionist, was arrested in Basra by British troops and taken to a military base for questioning.

Less than forty-eight hours later he was dead.

In A Very British Killing A.T. Williams tells the inside story of this crime and its aftermath, exposing the casual brutality, bureaucratic apathy, and instituional failure to hold people criminally responsible for Mousa's death.

What it reveals about Britain and its political and military institutions is explosive.


A deserving winner of the Orwell Prize


[An] incendiary, eloquent account... A brilliantly researched indictment which argues that torture is endemic in the military

Arifa Akbar, Independent

For all its forensic detail, the book grips us emotionally, and has as keen a sense of storytelling as a horror story or courtroom drama. Ultimately, the greatest achievement of this incendiary, eloquent and angry book is that it humanises Mousa beyond the iconic and infamous figure he has become in his death

Judges of the Orwell Prize for Political Writing 2013

This is a landmark book. Fluently, meticulously, A. T. Williams allows us to understand both the murderous nature of colonial war and the insidious moral corruption behind its institutional facades

John Pilger

What to do after reading it? some might put this book away and try to forget about it, the way you would a bad dream. Others will feel changed by the awareness. A few will channel their feelings into action. There can't be any better definition of political writing at its most excellent


Andrew Williams is an academic lawyer with the tenacity of a detective and the literary flair of the best kind of investigative journalist, and his account of the fate of Baha Mousa, a young Iraqi man who was beaten to death by his guards in a British military prison, is one of the most important pieces of writing to come out of the Iraq War.

Richard Lloyd Parry, author of PEOPLE WHO EAT DARKNESS

Anyone who hopes to avoid repeating the such calamities in future wars should read this book

Jack Fairweather, author of A WAR OF CHOICE

Of immense value to anyone interested in the conduct, and misconduct, of war in our time

Evening Standard

Brilliantly lucid


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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    June 15, 2013


    320 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    October 18, 2012

    Vintage Digital

    320 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au


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