New York Times Book Review | Editors' Choice

PEN America Literary Awards, Long List for Nonfiction

IRE Book Award, Finalist

Cam Simpson | Author | Journalist

 “Simpson’s obsessive reporting is the book’s great strength… The globalization of labor is the overarching story of Asia, hauling millions of families out of desperate poverty and trapping millions of workers in something close to slavery. It’s so ubiquitous that it’s easy to stop seeing it. Simpson insists that you see it. He has given us an anatomy of globalized labor at its most shameful.”

— ELLEN BARRY, The New York Times Book Review

“A powerful work of investigative journalism, one that speaks volumes about the business of war and of human slavery alike.” 


“Simpson’s investigations into how these men ended up in Iraq helped launch a decade-long legal battle on behalf of the victims’ families... [he] tells a complex story about how the intersection of privatized wars and globalization heightens the vulnerability of transnational laborers.” 

— The New Yorker

“The ensuing court battle and Kamala’s personal journey of redemption is a mind-boggling story that champions courage, perseverance, and resilience.” 


"By scraping away at layers of corporate misdirection, by asking and asking again and not letting go, Simpson reached something naked and ugly and unimpeachably true.”  


“A modern David vs. Goliath tale … a compelling narrative that is both a tale of human redemption in the face of crushing grief and a riveting legal thriller.”

— KIM BARKER, author of The Taliban Shuffle, made into the film Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

“In The Girl from Kathmandu, one of America’s most decorated investigative journalists unearths an iconic story of our time: the hidden saga of how American taxpayers funded a corporate pipeline of human labor, from the Himalayas to the battlefield of Iraq.”

— EVAN OSNOS, New Yorker staff writer, winner of the National Book Award, and author of Age of Ambition

“A powerful, compelling story of how one courageous young Nepali woman challenged the rigid patriarchy of her homeland and a multinational corporation abroad in the pursuit of justice for her murdered husband.” 

— ERIC WESTERVELT, award-winning former Baghdad and Jerusalem Correspondent NPR News

"Cam Simpson is the Upton Sinclair of globalization" 


Now available in paperback


    In August of 2004, twelve men left their villages in Nepal for jobs at a five-star hotel in Jordan. They had no idea they were actually being sent to work on an American military base in Iraq run by Halliburton. Fate took an even darker turn when the dozen men were kidnapped and murdered by Islamic extremists. Their deaths were captured in one of the first graphic execution videos disseminated on the web—the largest massacre of contractors in the war. Compounding the tragedy, their deaths received little notice.

        Why were these men, from a remote country far removed from the war, in Iraq? How had they gotten there? Who were they working for? Consumed by these questions, award-winning investigative journalist Cam Simpson embarked on a journey to find answers, a decade-long odyssey that would uncover a web of evil spanning the globe—and trigger a chain of events involving a brave young widow, three indefatigable human rights lawyers, and a formidable multinational corporation with deep governmental ties.

       A heart-rending, page-turning narrative, The Girl from Kathmandu is a story of death and life—of the war in Iraq, the killings of the twelve Nepalese, a journalist determined to uncover the truth, and a trio of human rights lawyers dedicated to finding justice.

      At its heart is one unforgettable young woman, Kamala Magar, who found the courage to face the influential men who sent her husband to his death—a model of strength hope, bravery, and an unbreakable spirit who reminds us of the power we all have to make a difference.

      The Girl from Kathmandu is the shocking story of the massacre of a group of Nepalese men working as Defense contractors for the U.S. Government during the Iraq War, and the widow who dedicated her life to finding justice for her husband and the other victims—a riveting tale of courageous heroes, human trafficking, corporate war profiteers, exploitation, and human rights in the age of global capitalism that reveals how modern power truly works.


Cam Simpson is an award winning investigative journalist, writer and editor. His primary focus in the past 15 years has been on global capitalism and international business and finance. He is currently an investigations editor and writer for Bloomberg Businessweek magazine and Bloomberg News based in London, where he’s worked since 2010. 

Previously, he worked for The Wall Street Journal as a Middle East Correspondent and a Washington CorrespondentHe covered U.S. foreign policy and national security for the Chicago Tribune from its Washington bureau, where he also did international investigative projects. He started with the Tribune in Chicago, covering federal crime and organized crime as an enterprise and investigative reporter, and previously covered the same beat for the Chicago Sun-Times.

He’s reported from more than four-dozen countries, and his investigations have taken him to Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, the Asia Pacific, and Europe. He grew up outside of Chicago.


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