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The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero, Propagandist, and Myth-Maker from the Crimea to the Gulf War II [Paperback]

Phillip Knightley , John Pilger
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Nov 2003 0233000550 978-0233000558 Third Edition
A faascinating story of heroism and collusion, censorship and suppression, myth-making and propaganda. Now brought up to date with new material on war in Afghanistan. The author is Australian.

Product details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Andre Deutsch Ltd; Third Edition edition (1 Nov 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0233000550
  • ISBN-13: 978-0233000558
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.8 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 147,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive volume on the reporting of war 20 Aug 2004
By Jim
I have read 3 editions of this book over the years. New conflicts around the world ensure that the volume requires constant updating. Without question it gives an excellent overview of war correspondents and reporters from the Crimean war on.
For me, the most interesting observation is how those who manage the press during times of war have learnt the lessons of Vietnam. The most recent trend toward embedding over accreditation is an example of this. It is much easier to control the Fourth Estate if they are embedded with you rather than observing your behavior from the side. The author predicted the emergence of this trend in an earlier edition of this book, and it is interesting to see that the management of future conflicts have proven him correct.
As Knightley has spent a career observing and analysing the evolution of war reporting, his views are well worth considering.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down. 10 Aug 2008
Well written, researched and thoroughly enjoyable book, from the antics of journalists trying to be the first to print the stories back in William Howard Russell's day, to the control of journalism by the state, specifically Maggie Thatcher during the Falklands conflict. It highlights the importance of objective neutral correspondents having access to some of the most defining moments in history. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in history, journalism and politics.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The First Drafters Debunked 5 Oct 2010
"The first casualty when war comes, is truth"
- Senator Hiram Johnson, 1917.

Phillip Knightley is a fine journalist with a long career of first class investigative reporting, as well as a number of fine books under his belt including The Second Oldest Professtion: Spies and Spying in the Twentieth Century and his biography A Hack's Progress. In "The First Casualty" (originally published in 1975, but updated in 2000 and 2003) he casts his eye upon his own profession and how they have acquitted themselves reporting the many wars of the past century and a half.

The book starts with William Russell Howard the self-declared "miserable parent of a luckless tribe" and his and others record during the Crimean War, followed with the American Civil War, the small imperial wars that punctuated the twentieth century, and on to the Boer War whose reporters included that half child and half man Winston Churchill with his boys own style of writing. Knightley covers the First World War in some depth, the militaries attitude to the press, as well as the other side of the coin, that of the press to the military, for example: "a principal aim of the war policy of [The Times] was to increase the flow of recruits. It was an aim that would get little help from accounts of what happened to recruits once they became soldiers." That little gem of journalistic integrity was from The Times own account of its performance during that war!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No worries 3 Nov 2011
By Lex
This book was like NEW when I received it, I couldn't ask for more honestly. So I strongly advise you to trust this kind of product.Knowing that I'm a student who need to work on it, and I wasn't disappointed at all
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