Owen Bennett-Jones

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

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,...

Can’t Afford to Tell the Truth: Trouble at the BBC

Owen Bennett-Jones, 20 December 2018

BBC managers have become a national joke. The problem is structural. Many start out as capable and engaged producers but they can only win promotion by showing ever greater degrees of editorial caution. By the time they reach senior positions, many view the journalists beneath them as lazy, editorially unreliable malcontents. The lack of respect is reciprocated by the journalists.

I only want to keep my hand in: Gerry Adams

Owen Bennett-Jones, 16 November 2017

Historians​ of Northern Ireland have plenty of material to work with. A book called Lost Lives (2001) records the lives and deaths of each of the 3720 people who were killed during the Troubles. Fighters, activists, officials and politicians on all sides have spoken to the media and written books themselves. Public inquiries have published hundreds of pages of hitherto secret evidence....

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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