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The Ideal Occupation Paperback – 8 Apr 2011

4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Revel Barker (8 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907841024
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907841026
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,055,825 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was researching Walter`s older brother Victor (who in his book Walter refers to as Vicky), as for a short time in the early 80`s I worked in Victor`s organisation. Victor took me one time to Vienna on business and pointed out some of the locations mentioned by Walter in the book. My researches led me to Walter`s book. Walter writes with an enthusiasm which made the read for me a page-turner. His National Service memoirs are fascinating, as are all of his accounts of the political and social life in the countries he found himself. I found his writing enabled me to feel as if I was sharing his experiences, not just by reading about them, but almost as if I was there with him.
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Format: Paperback
I found this a delightful memoir right from the first page where Walter tells of his determination, when he was only 13, to become a foreign correspondent. Clearly he had what it takes: from that moment he kept diaries and wrote letters to his parents from Paris, Oxford University and his army service in the Malayan jungle.

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
Biafran gaol.

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.
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Format: Paperback
What a wonderfully evocative book. About journalism, living out one's dream, and life itself. The author shares his childhood dreams and the ups and downs of realizing them. The account is very personal, with an interesting chronicle of a young man growing up in the second half of the 20th century, as well as his family. The author shares his family tragedies, namely the loss of 2 daughters. Many interesting events that Schwarz witnessed are described from the inside, such as the Biafra war and the intrigues of French politics. The book is also a page turner, with wit and a litness of tone allowing the reader to drift through this life lived to the full.
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Format: Paperback
There was a time when journalists had a single daily deadline. If they failed to meet it they might as well not have bothered writing the story in the first place. And for foreign correspondents, writing the story was only the beginning. They then had to get the copy back to their paper; no easy task if the international telephone connections were dodgy, the censors listening in, if telegrams were likely to be delayed. But, as Walter Schwarz says, "I know no finer taste than the first mouthful of beer in a hotel bar after filing my story."
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.
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