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Colonel Gaddafi's Hat Hardcover – 29 Mar 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Collins; 1st edition (29 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007467303
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007467303
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.9 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 507,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Alex Crawford has been interrogated by more than one intelligence agency, rescued by the US Army, fired at live on air, and experienced some of the most dangerous places in the world.

She is the only journalist to have won the Royal Television Society’s Journalist of the Year Award three times. She has also won an Emmy, two Golden Nymphs, the Bayeux War Correspondents Award, and the prestigious James Cameron Award, being cited by the judges for her ‘work as a journalist that combined moral vision and professional integrity’. She was awarded the OBE for Services to Broadcast Journalism in the 2012 New Year's Honours List.

After growing up in Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe, Alex began her career at the Wokingham Times before moving to the BBC and eventually Sky News, where she is currently Special Correspondent specialising in the Gulf, Middle East and Africa

Alex lives in Johannesburg with her husband Richard, one son and three daughters.


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
There's a line in this book by Sky News' reporter Alex Crawford, where she reveals that she hates just 'reporting news', ie passing on details of things that have already happened. Instead, she much prefers to be there while events are actually unfolding - and that's exactly what she managed for 6 months spanning the middle of 2011 when the Arab Spring saw Libya eventually flower from tyranny into freedom. And Crawford was there at every key step along the way - dodging bullets, chasing stories, evading road blocks, and generally being ahead of the press pack in telling the World what it needed to be told. The result is an electrifying book - more like one long-running, breathless, hand-held camera shot through a war zone, than a conventional news memoir. It has real pace and emotional power - so much so, that despite the compulsion to keep turning the pages, there are times when you just can't, and you have to pause to regroup and realign your own emotional reserves. The action follows the ebb and flow of the rebels' efforts to unseat Gaddafi, starting with a near death experience in Zawiya and ending with the tumultuous events in Tripoli when Crawford really was in the vanguard of history being made, courtesy of a cigarette-lighter-charged-camera in the back of a pick-up truck. But there's much more to this book than the whizz-bangs of battle - the human cost, to the ordinary people of Libya, the incredible Libyan doctors, the defeated Gaddafi forces, and the journalists themselves is laid bare for us all to feel at first hand. Make no mistake, this is not the story of one reporter - it is a tribute to all of them, and what they go through to bring us our view of the World.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Colonel Gaddafi's Hat
Crawford lets her terrifying story tell itself and her first book is all the better for it. It is a straightforward account of a television foreign correspondent's three visits to Libya during 2011's revolution. She and her Sky News crews witnessed, at the very closest of quarters, the setbacks and triumphs of the rebels opposing the Gaddafi regime. Twice they scooped global television news - first by reporting from the inside on the government's murderous retaking of rebel-held Zawiya, then by being in the vanguard of the final advance into Tripoli (thereby encountering the ordinary guy who took the colonel's titular, gold-braided titfer from a bedroom in his Tripoli compound). She and her crews, whose contribution is fully acknowledged, succeeded through great determination plus a mixture of raw courage and recklessness...and a little dumb luck. Indeed, they were lucky not to be killed, and rebel friendly fire was as great a threat as anything the regime's forces threw their way. Do not expect an in-depth treatise on what made the the colonel's dictatorship last so long, and why it was eventually brought down. Instead, this is a sweaty, first-person, present-tense account of broadcast news at its most exhilarating, immediate and instinctive. Much of the book's appeal value lies in it being her own account of what if all felt like and what the experience did to her. Even so, she attempts no explanation of why a mother of four turning 50 makes her living in quite such a dangerous way. She probably cannot explain it to herself. Perhaps no explanation is required, but one does start to emerge from this book - and it's simply that she's rather good at what she does.
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Format: Hardcover
If you ever wanted to know what it's like to be a war correspondent, then this is it.
The book that tells it how it is - warts and all. And at times it's pretty scary.
Alex guides us graphically through her personal journey of the Libyan uprising: a compelling, breathless and utterly vivid account of the horrors of war.
As she takes us with her inside that death-trap of a mosque in Zawiya, onto the frontline in Misrata and riding into Tripoli with the liberating rebels, what comes bursting through is Alex's compassion, her professionalism and her humanity.
She admits that war is `hideous and cruel and bloodthirsty'. And it's no fun being shot at. `It's not the danger I love,' she says. Of course it's an adventure, but above all it's about that gut instinct to get to the core of the story, that desire to shine a light into the darker corners of the world and that dedication to getting the tale on TV so we'll all know the truth of what's going on.
Alex gives us a real sense of the chaos, the carnage and sometimes the comedy of war.
In doing so, she's brutally honest about the personal price a reporter can pay in going almost to hell and back to get a story. She describes the stark, sweaty, fear-filled reality of facing death.
She talks openly of her fears and tears, her guilt and the impact on her family.
But in the end it's all balanced against the need she feels to tell the world about those ordinary people caught up in extraordinary times; to expose suffering, inhumanity and injustice.
The book also gives you a real insight into the teamwork that goes into bringing a story to air. We maybe the faces you see on your screens, but we'd be nothing without the courage and professionalism of a host of colleagues.
Alex's book is a tribute to all those men and women who bring you your daily news.
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