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Under the Wire Hardcover – 6 Jun 2013


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Under the Wire + On the Front Line: The Collected Journalism of Marie Colvin
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (6 Jun 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1782065253
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782065258
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.4 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 36,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Damien Lewis on 4 Jun 2013
Format: Hardcover
Paul Conroy is the real deal - a war photographer who has risked all on many occasions to travel into the world's worst places where the suffering of the locals is at its most extreme to reveal to the world what the world needs to know, but so often chooses to ignore. As such he takes far greater risks than any one individual should ever have to, with little specialist training or protection, no back up, certainly no weapon to defend himself and often with odds so insanely stacked against him that his assignments are close to suicidal. This his first book is a fitting tribute to such extraordinarily honest and brave work, and to those victims of war - the suffering men, women and children caught between the lines - whose stories we so seldom hear. In an age so bereft of real genuine heroes, Under the Wire is a testament to those who have lived - and died - for what they believe is right, and I cannot reccommend this book highly enough. As an added bonus Paul - a photographer and not by his own claims a writer - actually writes superbly well, so this work is a feast for the eye as well as for the conscience and the intellect. It kept me burning the midnight oil and gripped me to the end.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Damien Lewis on 28 May 2013
Format: Paperback
Rarely does a book scream out raw realism, gut bravery, humour to raise a smile in the face of death or, most importantly a self deprecating modesty that betrays an honesty of heart. Paul conroys book does all this and more. Read it and weep for our lost innocence in Syria and countless other war ravaged parts of the world. Humanity, such as it is, needs reporters like Paul thank god he is still with us
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. J. E. Mimnagh on 12 Jun 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a well written & thought out factual book. I'm sure that Paul Conroy has got over his & Marie Colvin's experiences & friendhip in the only way possible, & I feel it does them justice. His writing is honest & graphic at times, so please be aware of that. His grief & reactions at the death of his friend are genuine, but in some respects he is so tied up in his own injuries & escape the event is almost downplayed (I've seen him interviewed about this book, and his writing of the day that Colvin was killed he recounts as the "day he has to kill marie", figuratively speaking.) The purpose of their trip was to highlight the damages being inflicted by the Assad regieme, which it does very well...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Walsh on 5 Feb 2014
Format: Hardcover
I don't often write reviews but in this case I felt I had to offer a balance to the baffling amount of 5 star reviews this book received, because a couple of chapters in I was annoyed that I'd been encouraged by them. I can only imagine they were given by friends and family of the author.

Here's the thing: Under The Wire is a great story but a terrible book. It's difficult to criticise it without feeling mean-spirited because Paul Conroy is undoubtedly a brave and well meaning guy. But Paul is a photographer not a writer and that fact becomes apparent very early in. To be fair the blame for how bad this book is has to be shared 50/50 with whoever is supposed to have edited it.

Here's a quick run down:

Pros:
- Clever jumping back and forth through time and places to build up back story.
- A gritty insight into the horrors of modern day war.
- The story of brave people trying to do the right thing.

Cons:
- Utterly dreadful childishly bad writing that distracts from what should be a compelling story.
- Paul "constantly" "tirelessly" "frequently" overuses adverbs that break up the flow of the narrative.
- There's no insight into the repercussions of Marie Colvin's death.
- I don't believe any conversation in this book happened as described. For some bizarre reason, when people talk to each other, they all call the person they're talking to by their first name. EVERY time. EVERY person. EVERY conversation.
"Paul do you think it's safe here?"
"Marie I don't know what to say"
"Wa'el how are you?"
"Paul I'm fine today"
"Marie we are getting into the car now"
"Paul I'm good"
(Not actual conversations from the book!) It's completely jarring and irritating and ruins the flow every time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By graham mitchell on 13 July 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the definitive description of the life of a photographer working in the ultimate danger zone. His love for his work and his desire to show the world what was happening come across strongly. I would urge anyone with an interest in journalism to read this - twice!
The kindness shown to him and his colleagues is astounding and his gratitude is clear.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Hywel James TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 23 Jun 2013
Format: Hardcover
'Hello', goodbye', 'thank you', and 'can I breastfeed in here?', are explained by Paul Conroy as more or less the only words he can say in Arabic, and you'll have to read his extraordinary book if you want to understand the significance of, especially, the last of these expressions. His account of his time as a "Sunday Times" photographer working with Marie Colvin in Syria on her final assignment, before she was killed in an attack by Bashir al'Assad's forces in Baba Amr, in February 2012, is harrowing and distressing in the extreme, but also a moving tribute to the bravery and commitment of professional journalists who put themselves in the way of life-threatening danger to get stories to the world's Press.

Paul Conroy also pays due tribute to the many Syrians who supported Marie Colvin, himself and the other Western journalists in their work and, in particular, the escape from Baba Amr that he and some other journalists were able to make and she, of course, was not. The book is beautifully written, paradoxically so in view of the story it has to tell, but it offers a vivid and often painful account of an episode in a conflict which began before Colvin's and Conroy's entry into Syria, and continues beyond the publication of this book.

It is a tough read but an essential one. Highly recommended.
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