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Going to the Wars [Paperback]

Max Hastings
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 April 2001

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

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Going to the Wars + Warriors: Extraordinary Tales from the Battlefield
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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; New Ed edition (6 April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330377108
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330377102
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 13 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 782,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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'.

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 8 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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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and informative 19 Sep 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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1 of 1 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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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 30 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent service , good price , very interesting book
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