Bring Back Our Girls: The Untold Story of the Global Search for Nigeria’s Missing Schoolgirls
by Joe Parkinson & Drew Hinshaw
What happens after you click tweet?… The heart-stopping and definitive account of one of the most intriguing chapters of the “War on Terror”—the heroic survival of hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls whose kidnap by Islamist extremists spurred a global social media campaign and the intervention of seven foreign militaries into a little-known war on the shores of Lake Chad. A spellbinding work of investigative journalism which reveals the blinding possibilities—for good and ill—of digital activism in our interconnected world.
In the spring of 2014, American celebrities and their Twitter followers unwittingly turned a group of teenagers into a central prize in America’s War on Terror by retweeting #BringBackOurGirls, a call for the release of 276 Nigerian schoolgirls who’d been kidnapped by the little-known Islamist sect Boko Haram. With just a few words, their tweets launched an army of would-be liberators, spies, and glory hunters into an obscure conflict that few understood, in a part of Nigeria that had just barely begun to use the internet.
While the world’s most sophisticated surveillance technology sputtered out, a covert Swiss agency and its Nigerian recruits worked painstakingly in the shadows to free the girls. When hostage talks and military intervention failed, the schoolgirls were forced to take survival into their own hands. As their days in captivity dragged into years, the young women learned to withstand hunger, disease, and torment, and became witnesses and victims of unspeakable brutality. Many of the girls were Christians who refused to take the path offered them—converting to Islam.
A riveting narrative that unfolds across four continents, from the remote forests of northern Nigeria to the White House; from clandestine meetings in Khartoum safe houses to century-old luxury hotels on picturesque lakes in the Swiss Alps, Bring Back Our Girls is a cautionary tale that plumbs the promise and peril of an era whose politics are fueled by the power of hashtag advocacy—analyzing how wildfire social media activism is transforming global politics and our response to complex, often dangerous, events.
- Biography & Autobiography / Survival
- Political Science / Terrorism
- Political Science / World / African