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The Ideal Occupation Paperback – 8 Apr 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
Walter wrote for the Guardian from Nigeria, Israel, India and France. What I liked best is that he doesn't show off: he admits his faults - and even a disaster or two like turning up stoned for interview with Israel's famous one-eyed General Dayan: he had inadvertantly eaten hash cakes. Covering the Nigerian civil war he finished up in a
I also liked the way he brings in his game-for-adventure wife Dorothy who bred horses in France, where they lived successively in three chateaux, and their five children who shared in the fun.
Back home, he finished up as the Guardian's religious affairs correspondent. He visited a sex cult in Leicestershire and he held debates with readers about whether faith needs miracles.
Schwarz calls himself a lucky boy because his Dad took his Jewish family out of Austria to Britain when he was seven just before Hitler marched in. He tells how he grew up during the war feeling more patriotic than the native British, with Winston Churchill as his hero.
Email, satellites and news outlets that demand updates around the clock, have conspired to do away with the single deadline, and with it the relief of that first mouthful of beer. Schwarz's The Ideal Occupation is a hymn to the older form of journalism, and it is a joy to read. With wit and a delightful propensity to self-depreciation Schwarz tells is life story. We follow him from pre-war Vienna where he was born, to Manchester where he went to school, to Malaya where he did his national service, and then to Africa, Europe, the Middle East, India, Pakistan and various other newsworthy hotspots from which he dictated his copy down those long, dodgy telephone wires.
Interwoven with his account of his professional life is the story of the growing family who accompanied him to his various postings. His is a family not without its tragedies - two of his daughters died - but we get a real feel for the way his wife and children adapted, and then adapted again and again, to whatever country they happened to be in.
Schwarz quotes frequently from his own dispatches, with the result that the events of his own life are played out in front of a rich tapestry of coups, wars, famines, religions, cults and the multiform details of life as it was lived by ordinary people. Journalism, it is often said, is the first draft of history. This book is a very fine account
of how one man helped write that draft.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Finding Walter's name crop up numerous times in my mother's journal from 1948 (Nancy Westrop nee Clegg) it was wonderful to compare parallel lives through their memories - both... Read morePublished on 27 Sept. 2013 by Katherine Westrop
Interesting memoirs written by a former Guardian foreign correspondent. Ends with an affectionate account of a little known part of ProvencePublished on 26 Aug. 2011 by Mr. B. Stradling
A personal take on the whole history of the twentieth century written at a crackingly good pace as befits a veteran journalist who personnally witnessed,right from early... Read morePublished on 4 July 2011 by Pat C.