In early 1997 Peter Penfold, arrived in Sierra Leone as the British High Commissioner. This fascinating book describes not just his eventful three year tour but the background and subsequent events that placed this small country at the centre of the world stage.
During his tour he found himself as right hand man to the country’s beleaguered President Kabbah. Due to rebel actions, including shocking atrocities, the Author had to not only evacuate the international community (twice) but was forced out himself. At times he flew in daily from British warships as the situation was dangerously unstable.
We learn how almost immediately after being praised by Prime Minister Tony Blair for his pivotal role in getting this once rich country back on its feet, he found himself under Customs and Excise investigation and Parliamentary Committee scrutiny for his supposed role in the ‘Arms for Africa’ Enquiry. While reprimanded by the FCO, he was feted and made a Paramount Chief by the Sierra Leone people.
He describes how, after his tour was cut short despite his and the host Government’s appeals, the situation again deteriorated. He gives a highly informed account of the subsequent events including the SAS Operation BARRAS – the rescue of the British military hostages. This is a very important account based on the most privileged knowledge.
Penfold has written a book on his Sierra Leone experience...that is both remarkable and compulsively readable. Remarkable, because it is rare for British diplomats to write memoirs in which they unburden themselves of their feelings,... [read full review]Kaye Whiteman
Peter Penfold's very welcome book gives unrivalled insight into the struggle to restore democratic government in Sierra Leone against a background of civil chaos. It is an insider's narrative, and while first person accounts of... [read full review]New Africa Analysis
The appalling civil war in Sierra Leone took place between 1992 and 2002. Between 1992 and Penfold's arrival in early 1997, 15,000 people had already been killed and much of the countryside devastated. Peter Penfold... [read full review]Insight
This book by the former High commissioner to Sierra Leone is a must read for anyone interested in African affairs. The title highlights his close relationship with the president and his passion for a state... [read full review]Soldier Magazine - Nov 12
This superbly well-written, well-documented and passionate book should be read by everyone interested in Africa, as well as in the grave issues of war and peace.Global Times Online
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From SAS to Blood Diamond Wars
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About Peter Penfold
Peter Penfold CMG OBE enjoyed a hugely successful diplomatic career. He retired shortly after his standing down as High Commissioner but is a frequent visitor to, and well respected figure in Sierra Leone. He testified at UN Sierra Leone War Crimes Court.
He lives at Abingdon and is available for interview.