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Under the Wire [Hardcover]

Paul Conroy
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
RRP: 18.99
Price: 14.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

6 Jun 2013

Determined to cover the Syrian regime's brutal crackdown on dissent and the devastating impact of the war on Syria's civilians, veteran photographer Paul Conroy and Marie Colvin, one of the foremost war correspondents of her generation, decided to smuggle themselves across enemy lines and into the blood and terror of Homs.

But tragedy struck before the pair could finish documenting the slaughter. A rocket killed Colvin and ripped a hole in Conroy's leg. As Syrian ground forces closed in on his position, Conroy was forced to make a terrifying last-ditch attempt to escape from a regime that appeared determined to murder him.

Under the Wire is the epic, untold account of Conroy and Colvin's last, tragic assignment together. A rare and touching portrait of an extraordinary woman driven by an unquenchable desire to 'bear witness', it is as much a tale of courage and survival as it is the poignant account of a friendship forged amid the carnage of war.

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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: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 263,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Impressive ... a gripping account of how the brave, racketing band of war reporters and photographers bring the human consequences of war to our breakfast tables' Sunday Times.

'Gives the reader a bird's eye view into what it is like to live inside a war zone ... a compelling, if heartbreaking story' The Times.

'Searing and brilliantly written' Damien Lewis.

From the Inside Flap

Marie Colvin, described as 'the greatest war correspondent of her generation', was killed in a rocket attack in February 2012 while reporting on the desperate suffering of civilians inside Syria's besieged Homs. Under the Wire is war photographer Paul Conroy's gripping, visceral and moving account of his friendship with Marie and in particular the final year he spent working alongside her. When Marie and Paul were smuggled into Syria by rebel forces, they found themselves trapped in one of the most hellish neighbourhoods on earth. Marie was tragically killed by a rocket which also blew a hole in Paul's thigh, big enough for him to put this hand through. Bleeding profusely, short of food and water and in excruciating pain, Paul then endured five days of intense bombardment before eventually being evacuated in a daring escape involving a motorbike ride through a tunnel, crawling through enemy terrain and, finally, climbing a 10-foot-high wall. Astonishingly vivid, heart-stoppingly dramatic and shot through with the darkest of humour, in Under the Wire Paul Conroy shows what it means to be a war reporter in the 21st century. His is the story of two people drawn together by a shared compulsion to bear witness.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Searing testimony 28 May 2013
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
5.0 out of 5 stars An immense book 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
2.0 out of 5 stars A great story but a terrible book. 5 Feb 2014
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:

- 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.

- 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
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've ever read 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
'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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put this book down!
One of the most powerful books showing the barbarity of war that I have ever read. A book where you want to turn the pages to see what happens next, but also where you know what is... Read more
Published 11 days ago by P. Blunsden
3.0 out of 5 stars under the wire
took a while for it to download;not all pages appeared at the time of download.was happy once everything went through
Published 1 month ago by eileen brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
This book was very easy to read and so so sad. It showed how dangerous a war correspondents job is and how brave they are. Read more
Published 1 month ago by gerardine farrington
5.0 out of 5 stars Under the Wire
If you're interested in events in Syria as negotiations start then you'll take to this as it details the times & events leading up to Marie Colvin's death and beyond to Paul... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Inva
5.0 out of 5 stars Tension in every sentence, pain on many pages, hope too...
Tension in every sentence, pain on many pages, hope too all overlaid by the indiscriminate violence and death handed out wholesale by the Syrian regime's troops.
Published 2 months ago by Cibarious
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Gives a fascinating insight into the Syrian conflict and the horror of modern conflict. If you'd like an insight into Syria, this is it.

Couldn't put it down.
Published 4 months ago by Yoted
5.0 out of 5 stars outrageous awesome v sad and gripping (funny too in parts)
I was cacking myself and I wasn't even there. Makes me want to find out what we are really doing about this awful conflict. Read more
Published 6 months ago by trawler
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible book. gripping, tragic, laced with dark humour, an...
this copy was bought as a gift,( I have a treasured signed copy!) I actually read it in one sitting, slowing down to wipe my tears, or suddenly snort with laughter. Read more
Published 6 months ago by mags gainsborough
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
Although only half way through, it is an excellent read and very thought provoking considering the current situation in Syria.
Published 7 months ago by F. R. Meadows
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating detailed report
The in-depth reporting on the situation in Syria is fascinating - what brave people. The tragedy is that if it was this bad when they were there months ago what can it be like... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Jan
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