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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Explicitly honest account from top war correspondent
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...
Published 11 months ago by mark mckay

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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disingenuous
The further I got into this book the more annoying it (and Bowen) became. Yes this book is a catharsis, and yes, a war correspondent is as susceptible to post traumatic stress as a combatant, and of course, a journalist has the words and resources to alleviate the complex mix of guilt and horror. The problem I had and have is the "knowingness". Bowen frequently makes...
Published on 15 Aug 2010 by A. J. King


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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The human face of war reporting, 20 Dec 2010
By 
This review is from: War Stories (Hardcover)
The further I got into this book the more I realised how deeply and personally affected Jeremy Bowen was by the stories he was reporting. Unlike John Simpson, who invariably skips over civilian suffering in the countries he visits (concentrating mostly on the background politics, the action at hand, the BBC, or the shortage of fine wines in whichever hotel we have paid for him to stay in!), Bowen tells us about the people. About how they cope, how their lives have been changed by conflict and, even more surprisingly, how it makes Bowen feel.

That was an eye-opener for me after reading other war correspondents' books and wondering if they were all really as cold as they seemed to be on paper.

Bowen is a man wracked by a form of guilt at being a reporter observing the torment of others, but he is also, still, determined that reporters should try their damnedest (is that a word?) to get as much information as possible back to the British public, despite being censored and shadowed by foreign "minders", and despite what the BBC's editors think we *ought* to be seeing.

Interesting also to read of the pressure that was put on the BBC by the US and UK governments after Bowen insisted on reporting the true facts of a bunker of Iraqi civilians who were bombed and killed by the US. Scary to think it probably happens a lot, but glad to hear that the BBC stood their ground and supported Bowen at the time.

Highly recommended.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No wonder he didn't present breakfast telly for long, 11 May 2008
By 
Caterkiller (Darlington, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: War Stories (Paperback)
Where do you start with this book? Firstly it's a psychiatrist's dream: an obsession with war zones, suffering, crimes against humanity etc. Even when Jeremy is offered the safety of the breakfast TV couch he is gone in under two weeks to cover the intifada, leaving behind a pregnant fiancee and a houseful of guests who had organised a "welcome home" party. Jeremy doesn't mince his words about war zones: dimembered bodies, rotting corpses and the unluckiest of all, the survivors who have suffered rape or mutilation. After seeing the worst of humanity why does he want to continue and what creates this "addiction"? A bit more on Jeremy's childhood and upbringing may have helped but overall this book is about the fighting. The justification that probably all journalists use is that The World Must Know. The problem is in today's media climate any reports of atrocities in far flung parts of the world will be watched/read by a few handwringers and then forgotten as the media concentrates on the latest Blair vs. Brown trivia or a report on the quality of school meals. Today the news is freeze dried and shrink wrapped: anything too violent cannot be shown, and Bowen probably wouldn't even be sent to El Salvador if a war broke out there tommorrow (as he was 20 years ago) because there is no British interest and no chance for warm hearted stories about working class British soldiers handing out aid packages or deposing "the baddies". Above all the process of embedding reporters with "our" troops must end. Independent journalists should be there to document the truth, even if it involves implicating our troops and their allies in war crimes.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but preferred John Simpson, 14 Dec 2007
By 
Craig Worth (Hampshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: War Stories (Paperback)
I came to this on the back of having enjoyed similar tomes from John Simpson. Bowen's book makes an enjoyable read, and his tales of Sarajevo and Afghanistan tell of a man committed both to his work, and to improving the world we live in.

My one criticism is that it lacks the gravitas of Simpson's work, which just seemed to be able to capture the spirit and life of the areas he visited.

That said, this is a good book in its own right, and if this is an area of interest, one you would enjoy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 17 Aug 2014
By 
B. Prabhu "Bobski" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: War Stories (Hardcover)
As expected
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars BBC Anti Israel Bias laid bare, 30 April 2013
By 
Darrell Monteith "Darrmont" (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: War Stories (Kindle Edition)
Political bias within the BBC is well established and widely accepted by many BBC staff privately but this book confirms the bias which many of us have seen and felt over many years by BBC staff. Jeremy Bowen is unapologetic in his anti Israeli tone in much of his writing and in a number of incidents he accepts that his reporting is coloured. He gloats in his importance on the occasion in Irag when an allied bomb struck a bomb shelter by mistake and makes no allowance for the possibility that the regime may well have deliberately encouraged the attack by a variety of methods or that such a thing would even be countenanced by the Saddam regime. All in all the book shows the terrible quality of work journalist often do in getting to the truth allbeit that they often cannot get all the information they would like but the tendenancy to tell the story which suits the pictures they have somewhats sticks in the craw and this book confirms a lot of my suspicions gathered over 40 yrs of watching these people tells their stories and later read completely contradictory stories from others at the same place.
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War Stories
War Stories by Jeremy Bowen (Paperback - 2 July 2007)
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