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Customer Review

54 of 54 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down, 26 Nov. 2002
This review is from: The Autobiography: The Kindness of Strangers (Hardcover)
If you area contemporary of Kate Adie and grew up in England in the 50s and 60s you will relate to much in this book - from the overhang of WW II, to dreary council estates and pirate radio. But it is from about 1970 that your world and that of Kate Adie will probably diverge. Kate takes us through an incredible journey of local radio and TV, ultimately reporting from many of the world's major trouble spots. Of course if you live in England you know her well. If, like me, you've lived overseas for the past twenty years you have probably never heard of her.
Her book is a gripping behind the scenes look at how the news is made and the risks and sacrifices that someone with a seemingly glamorous job has to make - including 3 bullet wounds. It is somewhat disconcerting to realize that the reporters can sometimes be in greater danger than the military - at least the latter are trained and have weapons to defend themselves.
Early on in the book Kate tries a little too hard to be witty and amusing in just about every sentence - but this becomes less noticeable and irritating as the action moves to the streets of Belfasts or Sarajevo.
Although it is an autobiography, Kate reveals practically nothing of her personal life - the odd mention of a boyfriend or a family gathering. Perhaps she intended it that way, or perhaps her work is her life.
In the final chapter she summarizes the changes occurring in TV news - instant satellite pictures, dumbed down chatty shows etc. Much different from her hey day of lying in a trench somewhere with bullets wizzing overhead. She cannot resist the odd jibe but the punches seem to be pulled.
She makes much of the difficulties of succeeding in a man's world .. where women were once regarded as best suited to cover flower shows and cooking programs. Most of the men who seem to have given her a hard time, particularly early on in her career, are probably still drinking in the pub. She has beaten them all.
You'll never think of a live report from Iraq or Indonesia or Bosnia the same way again after you read this book.
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