Cover 9781785900723

On 21 December 1988, Pan Am flight 103 departed London Heathrow for New York. Shortly after take-off, a bomb detonated, killing all aboard and devastating the small Scottish town of Lockerbie below. Only one man has ever been convicted of the crime: Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, though few believe that he acted alone.

In 2009, a request was made by Libya for al-Megrahi’s release from prison on compassionate grounds after he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. The decision to grant or deny that request fell squarely and exclusively on the shoulders of one man: Kenny MacAskill, Scotland’s Justice Secretary from 2007 to 2014.

Detailing the build-up to the atrocity and the carnage left in its wake, MacAskill narrates the international investigation that followed and the diplomatic intrigue that saw a Scottish court convened in the Netherlands. He describes the controversial release of al-Megrahi, explains the international dimensions involved and lays bare the commercial and security interests that ran in the background throughout the investigation and trial. Finally, he answers how and why it happened – and who was really responsible for the worst terrorist attack to have occurred on British soil before or since.


“Kenny MacAskill was a hero of principle surrounding the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi – the only man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, who was then dying of cancer. Now he has written a gripping and revealing account of the bombing, telling the whole story with honesty and compassion, as well as a forensic attention to detail. Essential reading for anyone with unanswered questions about the worst terrorist attack ever to be perpetrated in Britain.”

Clive Stafford Smith

“This book details the duplicity of UK and US governments who condemned the release while negotiating commercial deals with the Gaddafi regime. It tells of the pressures on the judicial system of Scotland from the global controversy and a Justice Secretary’s search for justice. It ends with the most credible explanation yet published of who was really responsible for the downing of Pan Am flight 103. A must-read book by the man in the eye of the storm.”

Alex Salmond

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  • Hardback, 336 pages
  • ISBN: 9781785900723
  • 26 May 2016
  • £20.00

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  • 26 May 2016
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