After reading history at Cambridge Graham spent five years in the Uganda Civil Service, in the South Western mountains. The scenery, which is incomparable, and the people and their languages (two of which he speaks), history and culture are drawn in depth. So are the characters, and the clash between the traditional colonial service administrators and the up-and-coming nationalists.
Then twenty years in the R&D Divisions of International Computers, starting in the earliest days designing and programming when even operating systems had not been thought of. This gave him an abiding interest in IT, and in the key issues involved for the future of human freedom as against governmental effectiveness and law and order. This dovetails with our current debate about the "Surveillance Society". This thread pervades the book. It is developed from lay people's viewpoints right through to the grass-roots detail of how it is done - how people's data can be analysed at the bit-twiddling level and individuals can be manipulated. This will he hopes strike sparks with the nerd community. They may also be absorbed by the nitty-gritty of primitive computing technology and glimpses of systems of the future. Then fifteen years with UN and World Bank on agricultural computing projects. This was a foray from the fields of state-of-the-art research into what was sometimes pure, and often alarming, adventure, in twenty countries. He uses this to describe scenes in "pariah" countries like North Korea, Sudan (the war zone), and from Uganda in the bad times. In Iraq he was chief consultant to Saddam Hussein’s Planning Ministry when the Kuwait war broke out. He tried three times to escape, refused to work for Saddam and went into hiding. Eventually he was rescued by Kofi Annan (UN New York). This experience colours major events in the book.