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All of These People: A Memoir Paperback – 1 Oct 2006
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‘Keane’s real distinction was in his reporting talents, which as this book shows, are considerable.’ Evening Standard
‘His book is a memoir but it is so much more than that…a volume of the most exquisitely written and moving truth and honesty.’ TLS
‘A completely honest account of reporting conflict.’ Independent
‘An empowering story of triumph over adversity.’ Irish Times
‘Profoundly honest.’ Observer
About the Author
Fergal Keane OBE was born in London and educated in Ireland. He is one of the BBC's most distinguished correspondents, having worked for the corporation in Northern Ireland, South Africa, Asia and the Balkans. He has been awarded a BAFTA and has been named reporter of the year on television and radio, winning honours from the Royal Television Society and the Sony Radio Awards. He has also been named Reporter of the Year in the Amnesty International Press Awards and won the James Cameron Prize and the Edward R. Murrow Award from the US Overseas Press Association.
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The chapters on his work as a BBC Foreign Correspondent are also excellent, bringing to life South Africa in the Apartheid era and the Rwandan genocide. These chapters are sometimes harrowing, but always compulsive reading.
What raises this book above other excellent autobiographies, however, is the personal content, about himself, his family and the alcoholism suffered by himself, his father and his father's great friends Brendan Behan, Patrick Kavanagh and Flann O'Brien. He links this to the Irish drinking culture very persuasively. His writing about the drinking culture at the Irish Press in the 80s is hilarious, describing a long-gone (I hope!) world in which the local saloon bar is regarded as an extension of the office.
All in all a must-read.
Central to the story is Keane's struggle to reconcile himself to his alcoholic father, mirrored by his own battles with drink. Along the way there is acknowledgment for all the support from family, teachers and colleagues, but in the end Keane seems to be standing alone, fighting the demons.
There are the stories which established Keane: the end to apartheid in South Africa and genocide in Rwanda - no less vivid for their retelling. In the background the story of Ireland also unfolds; as that country slowly comes of age and lets go of its past, Keane is one who has dared to question the glorification of brutality and murder. I can't help feeling the peace and maturity owes a debt to the likes of Keane and their "Have a good look at yourself" attitude.
Keane is a true son of south-west Ireland - the intelligence, wit and warmth shine through.
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please write more interesting books