Owen Bennett-Jones

Owen Bennett-Jones interviews authors for a weekly show on the New Books Network.

Anti-Anglicisation: Welsh Second Homes

Owen Bennett-Jones, 27 July 2023

In​ 2017 an article in the North Wales edition of the Daily Post headlined ‘How Eviction and the Building of Beaumaris Castle Led to the Creation of Newborough’ claimed that the village came into being ‘after native men and women were kicked out of their homes to make way for one of Edward I’s imposing ring of castles’. It may have happened seven hundred...

In​ 1970 the Labour MP for Morpeth, Will Owen, was charged with being an agent of the StB, Czechoslovakia’s secret service. The man who had named him was Josef Frolik, a Czechoslovak defector, who said Owen was on a £500 monthly retainer organised by Robert Husak, another intelligence officer at the Czechoslovak embassy in London. Owen, Frolik said, had been passing secrets to...

Pissing on Pedestrians: A Great Unravelling

Owen Bennett-Jones, 1 April 2021

Given​ how many of those who worked closely with Robert Maxwell wrote a book about him, it’s interesting that so many facts about him remain unclear. Did he face a death sentence at the age of sixteen? Was he in the French Foreign Legion? In the months before his death, in 1991, was he really being investigated for a war crime? Did MI6 finance his first business in order to recruit...

One Screw Short: Pakistan’s Bomb

Owen Bennett-Jones, 18 July 2019

How​ did Pakistan become the world’s leading nuclear proliferator? North Korea, Libya, Iran: none of them would have worked on building a bomb if it hadn’t been for A.Q. Khan, Pakistan’s leading nuclear scientist, and if it hadn’t been for the Pakistani military, which gave the programme its full support. Drawing on the recollections of former decision-makers,...

Owen Bennett-Jones writes: To suggest that my citing publicly available and widely discussed information about the BBC’s relationship with the state puts staff at physical risk is ridiculous – a flailing attempt to sidestep scrutiny. It would have been better for the BBC, in using its right to reply, to engage with the issues I have raised. How will it deal with competition from the big new media...

Pakistan has been described as ‘the most dangerous place on earth’, yet Owen Bennett Jones’s title is appropriate, for though storms rage all around Pakistan, the country itself...

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