Al J Venter is a South African-born British national who originally qualified in London as a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. He has had 50 titles published.
Hired originally in the 1970s to cover military and related developments in the Middle East and Africa by Geneva’s Interavia Group, owners of International Defence Review, Venter has been writing on these topics for half a century. Gradually he moved onto more esoteric issues such as guerrilla warfare, counter-insurgency, the Middle East and Third World conflicts in general
Venter is today recognized as a specialist writer on nuclear warfare with three books published: Iran’s Nuclear Option, Allah’s Bomb as well as How South Africa Built Six Atom Bombs and after decades of enjoying the undersea milieu, he is still diving. His most recent book on the subject is Shipwreck Stories by Al Venter and Friends.
He has been involved with Britain’s Jane’s Information Group for more than 30 years and worked as a stringer for various other outlets including the BBC(from which he was fired), NBC News (New York) as well as London’s Daily Express and Sunday Express. He branched into television work in the early 1980s and produced more than 100 documentaries, many of which were internationally flighted. His one-hour film Africa’s Killing Fields (on the Ugandan civil war) was shown nationwide in the United States on PBS.
Other films from this period included an hour-long program on the fifth anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (for Washington interests) as well as Aids: the African Connection, nominated for China’s Pink Magnolia Award (in the TV documentary category).
His last major book, published two years ago, was Portugal’s Guerrilla Wars in Africa, nominated in 2013 for New York’s Arthur Goodzeit military history book award. It has gone into three editions, including translation into Portuguese.
That was followed in 2016 by Biafra’s War: A Tribal Conflict in Nigeria that Left a Million Dead (also Helion).