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Going to the Wars [Kindle Edition]

Max Hastings
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Max Hastings grew up with romantic dreams of a life amongst warriors. But after his failure as a parachute soldier in Cyprus in 1963, he became a journalist instead. Before he was 30 he had reported conflicts in Northern Ireland, Biafra, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Middle East, Cyprus, Rhodesia, India and a string of other trouble spots. His final effort was as a war correspondent during the Falklands War. Going to the Wars is a story of his experiences reporting from these battlefields. It is also the story of a self-confessed coward: a writer with heroic ambitions who found himself recording the acts of heroes.

'Max Hastings is one of the greatest living war correspondents.' John Keegan

'A wonderful account of the wars of our times.' William Shawcross, Literary Review

'His memoirs have ... honesty, pace and readability.' Jeremy Paxman

'The chapters on the Falklands War are ... one of the best things written about warfare in half a century.' John Simpson, Daily Telegraph

'This memoir is a first-class piece of reportage.' Jon Swain, Sunday Times

Product Description

Amazon Review

Now that the Editor of the Evening Standard writes in his own paper on such things as his bewilderment in accompanying his daughter to a fashionable London club, it's possible to forget how well he wrote from the Falklands War almost 20 years ago. The South Atlantic coverage was his finest hour, his brilliant essays of description, motion and analysis. The Falklands chapters are the best in Going to the Wars, an account of the 15 years from 1967 when Hastings criss-crossed the globe on behalf of the Evening Standard and the BBC, taking pleasure in adventure, scoops and big picture bylines in trouble spots such as Northern Ireland, Biafra, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Middle East, Cyprus, Rhodesia and India. For one who protests constantly about his own cowardice and physical competence, he is remarkably brave when it comes to finding a story, whether it's in Northern Ireland, Biafra or Israel. Hastings is, of course, driven and egocentric, as a star reporter has to be. His is a story of traditional journalism, where the horror of a foreign battlefield is nothing compared with the fear of being scooped. He favourably compares British reporting standards with American: "British journalism remains rooted in a literary, rather than a political science, tradition, which helps to explain why it produces more and better jokes, if also more shameless fantasists." Max has never been known for his jokes, but his self-deprecation is certainly prodigious. --Kim Fletcher.


A wonderful account of the wars of our times -- William Shawcross, Literary Review

The chapters on the Falklands War are ... one of the best things written about warfare in half a century -- John Simpson, Daily Telegraph

This memoir is a first-class piece of reportage -- Jon Swain, Sunday Times

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 7279 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; New Ed edition (22 Mar. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007KA1CO6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #246,473 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Sir Max Hastings is the author of twenty-five books, many of them about war. He was educated at Charterhouse and University College, Oxford, which he quit after a year to become a journalist. Thereafter he reported for newspapers and BBC TV from sixty-four countries and eleven conflicts, notably the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, Vietnam and the 1982 Battle for the Falklands. Between 1986 and 2002 he was editor-in-chief of The Daily Telegraph, then editor of the Evening Standard. He has won many prizes both for journalism and for his books, most recently the 2012 Chicago Pritzker Library's $100,000 literary award for his contribution to military history, and the RUSI's Westminster Medal for his international best-seller 'All Hell Let Loose'.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A candid and refreshing work 23 Aug. 2000
By A Customer
This book is a very enjoyable book detailing the career of a great reporter. The honest admission by the author of his own cowardice and failure in the paratroop regiment is all the more striking when set alongside his reporting from some of the most dangerous locations of the last 30 years. Max Hastings doesn't attempt to hide his arrogance, vanity or ruthless pursuit of the front page, yet his honesty is refreshing in a genre in which 99% of works published are essays in self justification. The book is not a history book, if it sounds "jingoistic" in the chapters covering the Falklands it must be remembered that as a part of the task force he was subject to the emotions of taking part in a military campaign, it would be a very special man who could remain detached from national sentiment when part of a task force from their home country. The authors book about that war with Simon Jenkins is recognised as a very balanced and even account of the war which is not at all partisan or jingoistic in it's views. Hastings has some very pertinent views on the role of the war reporter, ultimately, while he may not paint a portrait of a likeable personality at times, it is a story of a great writer and journalist.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and informative 19 Sept. 2001
By A Customer
Principally writing this in response to an earlier review which criticises the book for being firstly too pro-war and secondly being too lightweight.
I disagree on both counts.
As to the first, the book is not pro-war, but rather pro-soldier: it is the courage, fortitude and skill of the soldiers rather than individual wars or the notion of war which attract Hastings' praise.
As to the second, the book is autobiography, not military or political history. Therefore the charge that it is lightweight is simply misconceived. In any event, as an introduction to various conflicts the book is highly informative- particularly those chapters dealing with the Israeli/Arab wars.
All in all, a very good read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice read 21 July 2013
By salli
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm a great Max Hastings fan, and this book, for me, would be my summer beach read. Light, easy, funny reading.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile and absorbing read. 30 May 2001
By A Customer
Max Hastings provides us with a book that moves between biography and comment on the times he has been at the front end of conflicts as a reporter. In an account he openly admits to his own personal failings whilst conveying (in a non-heroic fashion) his triumphs as he reports from various war zones. At times the book shows his adventurous nature in chasing the "scoop" but never at the expense of those who fought in the various battles. He is quick to understand the participants and tries to convey their will and mentality to be in the wars. Hastings may have been perceived as being arrogant but often this appears tingled with jealously for a man who reported from the front line of many of the late 20th Century wars. Hastings achieved much in an era without mobile communications, he was clearly a talent individual who used every resource available to tell the story to the public. A worthwhile and absorbing read.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good book, but is it really candid? 10 July 2003
By A Customer
Max Hastings portrays himself in this book as self-deprecating and candid.
In a sense he is when writing, but I couldn't help feeling there was an element of charade here. Hastings describes how he wasn't up to much as a soldier doing national service. But he gives no explanation of how he managed to cover the race riots in America as his first journalistic assignment. The most likely explanation is that he was helped by his parents' connections, but he appears not even to acknowledge this or explain his good fortune.
Also, you can't help noticing the point at which he contemplates marooning a friend and fellow reporter, so he can be first with the story.
He often says what he did, but hides how he managed to do it. For example, just how did he become friendly with SAS commander Michael Rose in the Falklands? He doesn't say. Again, you wonder if he is candid when it suits him, but hides his ruthless streak.
Such things make it harder to like the author, and as such make it harder to enjoy what is otherwise an excellent book.
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