The congo

Sir Roger Casement never deserved to hang

Telling the story of Sir Roger Casement’s life is a challenge for any biographer. In the land of his birth, he is remembered as a national hero. His remains lie in the Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin beside the graves of Daniel O’Connell and Charles Stewart Parnell. He is there because he was hanged in Pentonville Prison in August 1916 as one of the leaders of the Easter Rising. The awkward fact that Casement had become opposed to the Rising and had tried to prevent it does not fit either the heroic Irish narrative of his life or the official English account of the wartime traitor who died on the gallows.

Flight into danger: Freight Dogs, by Giles Foden, reviewed

Flying has always attracted chancers and characters to Africa. Wilbur Smith’s father so loved aviation he named his son to honour the Wright Brothers. ‘I am forever grateful he didn’t go for Orville,’ the Zambian-born author once confided. Smith father and son may well have approved of Giles Foden’s romping novel, which has African bush pilots at its core, and a style not dissimilar to that of an airport thriller. School-age dreamer Emmanuel ‘Manu’ Kwizera comes from the implausibly beautiful hill country of eastern Congo. Green though the land is, its recent history is anything but pleasant: a plunge pool of horrific violence, backwash from the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Foden