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Chechnya Diary: A War Correspondent's Story of Surviving the War in Chechnya [Hardcover]

Thomas Goltz

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; 1 edition (Sep 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312268742
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312268749
  • Product Dimensions: 24.4 x 16.2 x 2.7 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,714,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent portal into a hellish conflict--and more 18 Feb 2004
By Heather Lowe - Published on
Chechnya Diary isn't your typical book about war. For one thing, it reads more like an adventure or a novel than straight history. It's also much more philosophical than I would have expected. The book begins with the quote, "The observer affects the observed," and boy is that statement ever borne out as the story unfolds.
Author Thomas Goltz sneaks into the country to cover the war, and ends up in a small town called Samashki, where he depends on the hospitality of a man named Hussein. Ostensibly there to record the fighting, Goltz soon becomes intimately involved, raising many tough questions about journalistic ethics and the effects of media war coverage.
The book really picks up steam in the second half, as Goltz returns to Chechnya to discover the damage his participation has caused, and tries to rectify it.
It's a thought-provoking book that provides background on the Chechnyan war but also goes far beyond that to dwell on how our shallow media culture affects our understanding of world events (and beyond that, how media coverage actually determines the course of those events as they play out). Goltz is a likable narrator who doesn't shy away from implicating himself when it comes to the sticky moral questions. He brings to life real Chechnyans in such vivid fashion that you'll remember them every time you hear about Chechnya in the news.
I had tears in my eyes as I finished the book. Highly recommended.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An eye-opening experience 23 Jan 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Until I read 'Chechnya Diary' I was willing to accept what seemed to be conventional wisdom about the conflict in Chechnya--i.e., just another incidence of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. Mr. Goltz provides another view: i.e., an effort (at least initally) to restore to a displaced people the homeland of which they were deprived by the Stalinst regime. I also found it refreshing to read something by a journalist who is willing to acknowledge that his presence may have an impact on the turn of events. All in all, I think this is a most enlightening book and, like Mr. Goltz's 'Azerbaijan Diary', a terrific adventure story.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How we really feel 29 Oct 2004
By Hugh Pope - Published on
I'll state straight away that I count myself a an old and loyal friend of Thomas Goltz, and I'm a journalist too, so my five stars should perhaps seen in that context. But I believe they are well deserved, not least for the personal bravery the author displayed in getting the story. For me, this book's particular value is that for once it strips away the shield that we reporters feel necessary to arm ourselves with to protect ourselves from emotional involvement with the subjects of our reportage. This is the first time I read the account of someone who has faced up to naked realities of this situation. The result is a rare and compelling tale of the relationship between the interviewer and the interviewed, and set against a backdrop that shows how both sides behave and above all feel when trapped in forces outside their control.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, even for non history buffs 20 Jan 2004
By Wyeth Larson - Published on
Though a true story, laden with facts and names, Chechnya Diary by Thomas Goltz reads much more like a novel than other first person accounts of historical events. Goltz focuses much more on the personal side of the war, that of the Russians, Chechens, and most importantly, himself. The book becomes a point of philosophical reasoning that any person can relate to, war correspondent or not. Despite its factual, dry beginning, the book becomes a small window into the people affected by war, and how one small town copes with its many horrific problems.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Read 11 Jan 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book is not so much about the war, as it is about the authors experiences in covering it as a reporter. It would certainly be an excellent book for those interested in the life of a war correspondent. My interest was just about the war in general, and I found the book interesting. It took awhile to get going though. Not that the beginning is bad, but I found myself more captivated in the second half. It would have been nice to have some maps and pictures though. Does Golz not own the right to reprint his own works? It certainly is possible.
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