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Shooting History: A Personal Journey Paperback – 3 May 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 395 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; New Ed edition (3 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007171854
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007171859
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.9 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 64,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Channel 4 News anchorman Jon Snow’s Shooting History is, like John Simpson's acclaimed books, a foreign correspondent’s story: Snow has been reporting news for thirty years and for most of that time was a foreign correspondent with ITN, beaming back pictures from war zones in South and Central America, Africa, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Washington, where he was ITN’s top US correspondent for some years. His proximity to America and her wars--plus his innate sense of justice--leads him to be critical of US foreign policy and the reluctance of recent US administrations to learn from the perceived mistakes of their predecessors. Reading about the proxy wars fought by the US in Central America and the overthrow of Iraq’s democratically elected government in a CIA-backed coup, it’s hard not to be persuaded by his argument that the northern hemisphere in general--and the US in particular--need to take more account of the plight of the poor to the south of us.

Warm, witty and engaging, Snow’s story is also mildly self-deprecating: he seems comfortable discussing mistakes that he feels he has made and conflicts he feels guilty to have neglected in his long career. Regular viewers of Channel 4 News will recognise his easy tone, but don’t expect reams of backroom gossip from his years as the presenter of the broadsheet news programme: over three quarters of the book is given over to his foreign adventures and it’s clear that he sees himself as a currently static foreign correspondent. Given his clear affection for the people that he has met along the way, his anger about the injustices they have faced, and his manifesto for a better world (delivered in the final few pages), it’s easy to see why he believes reporting from the field to be the way journalists can make a real difference. Shooting History is a riveting memoir, a damning indictment and an excellent read for anyone interested in current affairs.--Duncan Thomson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

‘He’s much more than a newsreader. He understands what’s happening and he provides intellectual underpinning. We know what he stands for and relate to it…and trust him as a man.’ Observer

‘A compelling read, weaving boys’ own adventures with impassioned, often angry commentary.’ Mail on Sunday

‘Snow is the closest thing we have to a modern-day George Orwell…A vivid, accurate, hones guide to the key world events from 1975.’ Independent

‘Pacy, candid and anecdote-laden, Snow’s account of a childhood spent in awe of his father is a delight.’ Daily Mail


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 69 people found the following review helpful By M. Wheeler on 7 Nov. 2004
Format: Hardcover
I have long been an admirer of Jon Snow as one of the best journalists and presenter of the best news programme in the UK - in my opinion. As soon as I heard he had written Shooting History, I was eager to read his book. An amazing man, he shares with us an amazing life, from what appears a cold childhood, through his awakening to a wider world via Voluntary Service Overseas, University and caring for the homeless, to his beginnings in journalism and what leads to his position as a great reporter and broadcaster, bringing world events to our living rooms. Reading Shooting History brought home to me how much I did not know, how much we have been lied to by our governments and how desperately we need people like Jon Snow to ask questions on our behalf and bring important, forgotten and hidden issues to public attention. The writing style is accessible and warm, the issues hard-hitting but mixed with his humour and touching on his personal emotions of the work he does, the people he meets, the things he sees. This is a truly fascinating, eye-opening and enjoyable book, one I would urge everyone to read. It sets out the recent history of world events in an accessible and thought-provoking way through the eyes of someone who has been on the spot, often behind the lines, bringing us the truth about what is really going on. I began by saying I had always admired Jon Snow. Having read this book I feel I not only know him better but I also know the world better, too, and I hold him in the deepest respect and admiration. Long may he continue to use his talents to bring us face to face with what is going on at home and abroad.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. S. Stanier on 30 Aug. 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a terrific memoir: it is hard to classify, though: he mixes an account of his professional life with his views on world events, while the first part is essentially an autobiography of his life up to the age of 21. Here, his account of being brought up by an authoritarian pillar of the establishment and failing to please him is an excellent evocation of being a child in England in the early Sixties.
Yet the real heart of the book is Snow's years as a foreign correspondent for ITN. He tells his tales with flair, passion and insight.
Thus, on one page, you are wondering about Britain's failure to accept its responsibilities to Uganda in the 1970s; on the next, you are wondering about the fall-out from a whirlwind relationship he falls into, while covering events there: it's a beautifully written little vignette. For me, this made it a wonderfully entertaining read, though I imagine it would be frustrating for some.
That it is self-consciously subjective means that he can afford to be opinionated as he can't on Channel Four News. A good example of where this works well is in his chapters on America. As he covers the wars in Central America in which the States played an ugly hand in the 1970s, you sense his anger. Thus, it is all the more compelling when he becomes Washington correspondent in the 80s and is instantly seduced by America's can-do culture and sympathy for freedom of information and values he holds dear.
It's inevitably less interesting once his career takes him behind the News desk in the 1990s, but he still has a coherent and interesting take on world affairs which is worth reading.
Ironically, given his antipathy to the BBC, Snow has achieved the Reithian triumvirate: he informs, he educates and he entertains.
This would make a great Christmas or birthday present for anyone with a reasonable interest in world politics but wouldn't enjoy having to wade through a dry history. I am already planning it to give it to several friends.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. Macpherson on 13 Oct. 2006
Format: Paperback
For those who think Snow degenrates into name-dropping, it must be kept in mind that good journalists are not circus perfomers - they will inevitably hit the news room, and shift in their opinions. The quality of news in Britain is disturbing at best, and having read several autobiographies of leading journalists it is refreshing to see Snow as the anti-establishment figure in the field, as well as the studio.

I enjoyed this almost as much as the Campbell interview on C4 News. The idea of a "new world disorder" might not be fully fleshed out, but this is compulsive reading nevertheless.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ms. A. Majeed on 1 Dec. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've never known much about Jon Snow, except as the anchor man for Channel 4 News. I read a very short review on this book in a magazine, which mentioned that Snow was active in human rights, and that compelled me to buy the book.

I learnt more about the cold war, the history of Iran, the life of Pope John Paul, the events leading up to the Iraq war, Palestine, Israel, Adi Amin, and the dictators of Africa, than I could of in any history textbook.

From start to end, this book is a page turner. Think of any major event in the last 30 years, and yes, Snow was there, and he's written about it in this autobiography with raw honesty that captivates the reader. He's such a fantastic story teller, so much so that I couldn't put this book down and finished it in 3 days.

Since then, I've bought lots of copies as gifts for friends and family, who fell in love with it just as much as I did.

This is one of those rare books, that should be put as a compulsary read on the National Curriculum. Everyone should read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Howse on 13 Dec. 2007
Format: Hardcover
Simple as that. I never get time to watch Jon on C4 but it's always the most intelligent news programme on TV and doesn't pander to any party which I respect. Someone bought me this book and it sat unread for ages. Now I've read it I can't believe how revealing and interesting it is. Jon Snow could have done pretty much anything he wanted too as a young dude (I can picture him quite easily as a young radical) - MI6 even tried to recruit him. In a way it's a shame he didn't go into politics instead of reporting on them as he did in Washington in the 80's. The stuff he witnessed Reagan's administration is nothing short of criminal - the ineptitude of Reagan and Carter's administrations are truly staggering. The observations in the book go a long way to explain the dilemmas that are now being encountered with the 'axis of evil'. (30 odd thousand Islamist radicals from 43 countries were trained, financed and sent by the CIA to Afghanistan to fight the commie Russians - just one interesting fact). What is done in our name, with our money, by 'our' leaders is shocking. Thatcher was a bit canny herself securing between $30-$50 BILLION for an arms contract with the Saudis.

Jon has also mixed with some old luminaries throughout his career and his observations, comment and wit are really good reading and totally intriguing. I'm not as intelligent as Jon but reading this I felt like I was!

I'm about to buy two for friends of mine for Christmas - Amazon - Get some new ones up!!
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