New and Recent

“Men like Warrant Officer Brand reinforced my belief in the essential humanity even of those who had kept me behind bars for the previous twenty-seven and a half years.”

– Nelson Mandela

“Brand had the bigness of heart to see beyond Mandela ‘the terrorist’, ‘the communist’, the convicted prisoner. Seeing that Mandela treated him with kindness and respect, he responded in kind. Brand may be seen as a milestone in Mandela’s political mission: his first white convert.”

John Carlin, author of Playing the Enemy (made into the film Invictus) and Knowing Mandela

The updated edition of Doing Life with Mandela: My Prisoner, My Friend by Christo Brand with Barbara Jones is available in the United States directly from Blue Ear Books and via Amazon worldwide. To purchase copies in South Africa or to book an in-person or virtual visit with Christo, contact Andrew Russell at Visit this page to read about Christo Brand’s planned November 2023 speaking tour of the USA.

In Stories from the Front: Pain, Betrayal, and Resilience on the MST Battlefield, Bronze Star-decorated combat commander Colonel Lisa Carrington Firmin outlines her own experiences with military sexual trauma (MST) and recounts the stories of 13 others: veterans as well as active duty women and men who are bravely sharing their stories of sexual assault and sexual harassment while serving in the United States military. Stories from the Front authentically captures experiences and carefully tells their stories of trauma and the resilience and empowerment they display in their lives.

In 2006, David Grantham was fresh out of college and serving as a counterintelligence officer with the elite and secretive Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Iraq was veering toward civil war. The U.S. military desperately needed better on-the-ground intelligence to turn the tide. Grantham found himself in Kuwait and Afghanistan, then at Iraq’s infamous American prison, Camp Bucca. Not only was Bucca the breeding ground for the Islamic State, it was in southern Iraq, where America’s deadly fight with Iran was an open secret.

Consequences is both a riveting behind-the-scenes look at intelligence operations at the height of the Iraq war, and a charming and sobering story of one man’s journey through the pleasures and consequences that come with wartime intelligence.

From our Substack newsletter:

“The realization washed over me like an abrupt full body submersion into ice water: ‘The Russians have crossed the border! The war has begun!’ She began to say something, but I mindlessly interrupted her. ‘How are your parents? Do they have a cellar? How about food? Do they have an option to leave?’ All the questions came out of me in one breath. Her parents were okay for now.”

From “Waiting for the Invasion: Kyiv and Seattle, Feb. 24, 2022” by Yuliya Shirokova, Feb. 24, 2023

“The U.S. and China are the world’s two largest economies. At the height of the U.S.-Soviet Cold War trade between the two countries was about $2 billion a year. Trade between the U.S. and China stands at about $2 billion a day! … The waters between the U.S. and China have been so poisoned that it is hard to see how the real underlying issues may be resolved.”

From “China and the US: A fraught relationship” by Qaisar Shareef, Feb. 13, 2023

Musharraf had been a paratrooper, and no one could fault him for lacking nerve. “No problem,” he told reporters after the first attempt, on December 14. “I am used to such things.” But Pakistanis’ expectations were always unrealistically high as well as contradictory, which was why they were always doomed to bitter disappointment. “I don’t think he has it in him to be a dictator,” Helga Ahmed’s husband, Jamil, complained to me.

From “Musharraf: Pakistan’s Man of Crisis” by Ethan Casey, Feb. 5, 2023

After I got home, I learned that I had been involved in what was being called the Tet Offensive.  I had known, from the regular intelligence briefings we received in the last few months, that the ground war was indeed succeeding.  Those reports had revealed enemy force build-ups.  That had been obvious from what had happened at Christmas time in 1967. Enemy strategy was changing but it was not clear just yet what it would be.

From “Tet 1968: Bien Hoa AB, Vietnam” by Travis Vanderpool, Jan. 30, 2023

Recent author events

“We are so sorry that you were unable to attend the library’s virtual program Nelson Mandela’s Unlikely Friendship with His Prison Guard’ on January 22, 2023 via Zoom. It was a terrific launch for Doing Life with Mandela: My Prisoner, My Friend published by Blue Ear Books. The good news is that we were given permission to record and post the event and it is now available for viewing at this link on Princeton Public Library’s YouTube channel.”
Janie Hermann, Princeton Public Library, Jan. 23, 2023

Special project in progress

Yuliya Shirokova with her uncle, aunt, and sister, all of whom remain in Ukraine, on a family visit from Seattle to Kyiv, January 2022.

We are proud to enjoy the extraordinary opportunity to work with Yuliya Shirokova on her memoir of growing up in Ukraine and later in the United States. Although Yuliya has been planning a memoir for years, recent events in Ukraine were the final catalyst that spurred her to write it now. Her book, to be titled Light in the Fields, will be published by Blue Ear Books.

We invite you to support both Yuliya’s book and humanitarian relief in Ukraine by pre-purchasing a signed copy. Use the drop-down menu below to choose your preferred level of support.

Drawing on her own memories and interviews with family members and friends, Yuliya’s book will take us through the turbulent times of the USSR’s perestroika, the breakup of the USSR, Ukraine’s first Independence Day, 9/11, and other events through the eyes of the author as she was growing up and becoming an adult.

Although Yuliya has been in the United States for more than 25 years, she has come to understand the impossibility of escaping the political turbulence she left in the Kyiv of 1996.

Read more about Yuliya’s book, and a short excerpt, on her author page. You can also contribute to relief efforts in Ukraine directly via Yuliya’s GoFundMe page.