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Pulp Nonfiction


06 March 2011

A story in The Telegraph today describes how the British MoD bought and pulped the entire first printing of a new book for ‘national security’ reasons.  Having had my own dealings with MoD, I didn’t believe a word about the national security excuse.  More likely someone, somewhere, was embarrassed by the book.  And then came an email from the author of the pulped nonfiction, Toby Harnden, with a completely different explanation:


Dear Michael,

I hope you’re well and staying safe in Afghanistan.

I don’t know whether you’ve heard about this but the UK MOD has just paid nearly $250,000 to buy the entire print run of my book “Dead Men Risen” – supposedly because it damaged national security and put lives at risk (in reality, I’d say, much more because it highlights a number of very uncomfortable truths). Now all the copies (reportedly 24,000)are to be pulped. This is despite the fact that it had been through a four-month MOD clearance process and had been given the OK for publication. The book, with very minor alterations, will now be out on March 17th.

I know that you have no illusions at all about the way the UK MOD operates with journalists. One of the villains of the piece this time was the same guy who I think went for you over the embedding things you were embroiled in nearly two years ago.

There’s a news story about it here.

And I’m posting all developments on Facebook here.

Amongst other things, the book covers Major Guy Stone and the Welsh Guards who were up in Sangin when you went out with them in summer 2009.



[Email reprinted with Toby’s permission.]

Michael Yon

Michael Yon is America's most experienced combat correspondent. He has traveled or worked in 82 countries, including various wars and conflicts.

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