We Never Knew Exactly Where

Dispatches from the Lost Country of Mali

16686_130109_0_ebook-cover-weneverknew.jpg
16686_130109_0_ebook-cover-weneverknew.jpg

ebook

We Never Knew Exactly Where: Dispatches from the Lost Country of Mali

FP's new ebook by Peter Chilson.

A masterful blend of reportage and history from one of the world's newest front lines in the war on terror -- the endangered African country of Mali.

Buy it here now Buy for Amazon Kindle

ebook

We Never Knew Exactly Where: Dispatches from the Lost Country of Mali

FP‘s new ebook by Peter Chilson.

A masterful blend of reportage and history from one of the world’s newest front lines in the war on terror — the endangered African country of Mali.

Click here to buy it now.

What happens when a country suddenly splits in two? In 2012, Mali, once a poster child for African democracy, all but collapsed in a succession of coups and countercoups as Islamist rebels claimed control of the country’s north, making it a new safe haven for al Qaeda. Prizewinning author Peter Chilson became one of the few Westerners to travel to the conflict zone in the following months to document conditions on the ground. What he found was a hazy dividing line between the uncertain, demoralized remnants of Mali’s south and the new statelet formed in the north by jihadi fighters, who successfully commandeered a long-running rebellion by the country’s ethnic Tuareg minority to turn Mali into a new frontier in the fast-morphing global war on terror. Chilson’s definitive account — the first in the new Borderlands series of ebooks from Foreign Policy and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting — is a gripping read, taking us back to the founding of French West Africa and right to the very front lines of this contentious new flash point.

Buy the PDF version from FP here.

About the author: Peter Chilson teaches writing and literature at Washington State University and is author of the travelogue Riding the Demon: On the Road in West Africa and the story collection Disturbance-Loving Species: A Novella and Stories. His essays, journalism, and short stories have appeared in Foreign Policy, the American Scholar, Gulf Coast, High Country News, Audubon, and Ascent, among other publications, as well as twice in the Best American Travel Writing anthology. A longtime visitor to Mali pursuing scholarly inquiries on French West Africa and the history of its borders, Chilson first traveled to the region in 1985 as a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger. 

More from Foreign Policy

A worker cuts the nose off the last Ukraine's Tupolev-22M3, the Soviet-made strategic aircraft able to carry nuclear weapons at a military base in Poltava, Ukraine on Jan. 27, 2006. A total of 60 aircraft were destroyed  according to the USA-Ukrainian disarmament agreement.
A worker cuts the nose off the last Ukraine's Tupolev-22M3, the Soviet-made strategic aircraft able to carry nuclear weapons at a military base in Poltava, Ukraine on Jan. 27, 2006. A total of 60 aircraft were destroyed according to the USA-Ukrainian disarmament agreement.

Why Do People Hate Realism So Much?

The school of thought doesn’t explain everything—but its proponents foresaw the potential for conflict over Ukraine long before it erupted.

Employees watch a cargo ship at a port in China, which is experiencing an economic downturn.
Employees watch a cargo ship at a port in China, which is experiencing an economic downturn.

China’s Crisis of Confidence

What if, instead of being a competitor, China can no longer afford to compete at all?

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies in the U.S. Senate in Washington on Sept. 24, 2020.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies in the U.S. Senate in Washington on Sept. 24, 2020.

Why This Global Economic Crisis Is Different

This is the first time since World War II that there may be no cooperative way out.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Premier Li Keqiang applaud at the closing session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 11.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Premier Li Keqiang applaud at the closing session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 11.

China Is Hardening Itself for Economic War

Beijing is trying to close economic vulnerabilities out of fear of U.S. containment.