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War Stories Paperback – 2 Jul 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; New edition edition (2 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743449681
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743449687
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 281,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Inside Flap

`This is the story of a love affair that went wrong. It isn't
over. It still has its moments and it might go on for many more years. But
it will never be what it was when it started.'

Jeremy Bowen is not talking about a woman. He was in love with a job:
addicted to reporting wars. `It sounds a little sad, and in a way it was,
though it was also compelling and passionate and fun and it never felt like
work. I have written this book because many people have asked me why
journalists risk their lives to go to war. The answer is complicated, and
different people have their own reasons. But these were mine.'

From joining the BBC as a trainee in 1984, Bowen quickly rose through the
ranks to become one of the Corporation's most recognisable faces, a
mainstay of news bulletins as he reported from the front lines of various
hot-spots around the world. From his first war in El Salvador in 1989, he
has covered wars in Afghanistan, Chechnya and Rwanda, among other places,
and worked extensively in the Balkans and the Middle East throughout the
1990s, including reporting the First Gulf War from Baghdad.

In 2000, however, everything changed. The violent death of a close
colleague and the birth of his first child made Jeremy re-assess his
hazardous occupation, and ultimately decide that he owed it to his growing
family to do something less dangerous. But the fascination remained, and in
this riveting memoir he attempts to come to terms with his own infatuation
as well as exploring the uncomfortable truth of the job - that as a war
correspondent, for you to have a good day, someone else has to have their
worst day.

Candid and compelling, War Stories charts the progress of a young novice
whose first reaction to the sound of gunfire was to run towards it to the
more circumspect veteran he is today. It is also an extraordinarily
gripping account of some of the late twentieth century's most divisive
conflicts, and a thought-provoking insight into how technology has changed
our attitude to breaking news. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Jeremy Bowen is Middle East Editor for the BBC and has covered the majority of breaking news and stories from the Middle East since the 1991 Gulf War. He is the author of two previous books: Six Days and War Stories.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By mark mckay on 4 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
War Stories is Jeremy Bowen's explicitly honest account of becoming hooked on what he calls `the war drug' while working as a foreign correspondent for the BBC.

Bowen joined the BBC in 1984. His big break was covering the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 which provided the stepping stone to his first assignment in war-torn El-Salvador in 1989 where Bowen had his first hit of the war drug.

For the first time Bowen was close enough to the action to get killed. It was the first time he heard the whizz-snap sound of a bullet passing inches from his head. But he found it hard to realise the bullets and the dangers posed to him were real. After surviving his trial by fire Bowen claims the experience was exciting, as though he was staring in an action movie.

Bowen has covered conflicts in El-Salvador, Iraq, Bosnia, Chechnya and Lebanon. The majority of his coverage focuses on the human aspect of war, about how civilians who are caught up in conflict are affected and how war irreversibly changes lives.

But, reporting in this fashion took a heavy toll on his conscience and throughout the book Jeremy advocates a stark and clear message: For a journalist reporting from a war zone to have a good day somebody else must have a very bad day.

In Lebanon in 2000 the risks foreign correspondents face were brought to the fore. While doing a piece to camera Bowen's driver was killed when an Israeli tank blew up their car. Machine gun fire had Bowen pinned down and he was unable to reach his stricken friend.

After this, Bowen began to realise the lack of power he held over his own fate. The birth of Bowen's daughter meant he now had a greater responsibility to his family than to reporting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David Rowland TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 7 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have admired Jeremy Bowen's television reports of warfare from El Salvador in 1969 to Lebanon in 2006 and his more recent reports particularly from the Middle East. His book is vivid, enthralling and thought provoking and as he admits in his memoirs that earlier in his journalistic career he was a war junkie when it came to reporting conflicts all over the world. He loved the thrill of flying off to war zones, dodging bullets and mixing with other war addicts who were equally hooked and all this really turned him on for many years. Bowen says his addiction changed on 23 May 2000, when his close friend and colleague, Abed Takkoush met with a violent death in war torn Beirut and when his first child was born he reassessed his life and decided to do something a little less hazardous.

Bowen's book reads like a novel at times, it is fast moving, funny in places and certainly a book you cannot put down once you have started reading it. It is candid, honest and self effacing and I strongly recommend it to you as a description of one man's role in reporting conflicts in the late twentieth century in Afghanistan, Chechnya, the Balkans and the Middle East.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By R. Sampat on 10 July 2007
Format: Paperback
Jeremy Bowen, like his journalistic traits, writes this excellent book that nobody would be able to put down. i really cannot recommend this enough. i bought this book at Gatwick Airport last week whilst on my way to a 4 day holiday. i finished it in 2..!

Bowen's writing skills are definetly well worked, and he shows his ability to take the reader on his enchanted journey with great descriptions of his experiences in Sarejevo, Lebanon, Jersualem etc etc.

My favourite chapter occurs whilst in Afghanistan..his description of engagements with the Afghan Mujahadeen during the 1980's is so vivid and interesting.

not everybody may like Bowen's book, but judging by the last two reviews, i think its fair to say this book is a must read for anybody interested in journalism, living life to the max, war, peace, politics, and Jeremy Bowen!

if anyone likes Jeremy's journalistic style as the BBC's Middle East editor, you almost feel the famous moustache of his everytime you turn a page! this book is as important a book for current affairs and international relations then any academic book.

i also recommend his book Six Days, which analysis the 1967 Arab Israeli War.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By fay on 8 Jun. 2008
Format: Paperback
I thought this book was excellent.
I was already interested in the coverage of news before reading it, having grown up with reading newspapers and watching TV news;I'm from a family with a journalistic background myself.
However I think this book would be great for anyone that is interested in the way things really are in this world; the recent history of wars in both the Middle East and in Europe,and in how vitally important it is that we see good news coverage of it.
Jeremy Bowen doesn't try to sanitise anything or pull his punches, and thank goodness for it; you get the human side of the conflicts he has covered.
Without news journalists and photographers prepared to put their lives on the line to cover whats really happening in the world, especially in areas of war and /or oppression (and many have lost their lives doing it),all we'd have would be hearsay and political spin.
I found this book to be a riveting read.
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