The Shattered Lens Jonathan Alpeyrie Jonathan Alpeyrie wanted to get that one great shot. Instead what he got was captivity. “The Shattered Lens” is the account of Alpeyrie’s capture by Syrian rebels and his almost three-month stint as their hostage. This is followed by his description of what his family went through trying to free […]Read more "“The Shattered Lens” by Jonathan Alpeyrie"
Embed: With the World’s Armies in Afghanistan Nick Allen I knew Nick Allen as the translator of the excellent “One Soldier’s War,” so I was interested to read his own story of spending two years embedded with various countries’ armies in Afghanistan. I was not disappointed: it’s a fascinating book that depicted what for me […]Read more "“Embed: With the World’s Armies in Afghanistan” by Nick Allen"
“Blackwater” Jeremy Scahill With Erik Prince’s recent op-ed in the NYT arguing in favor of largely turning the US presence in Afghanistan over to private military contractors, now seems like a good time to review Jeremy Scahill’s “Blackwater,” a detailed expose of Blackwater’s (now merged with Triple Canopy and known as Academi) actions during the […]Read more "“Blackwater” by Jeremy Scahill"
Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden How much good can you do with the point of a gun? This is the question that, at its heart, “Black Hawk Down” asks–and answers. The answer? Only so much. “Black Hawk Down” covers, with moment-by-moment thoroughness, the 1993 battle of Mogadishu, when a small group of US Rangers […]Read more "“Black Hawk Down” by Mark Bowden"
In this eye-witness account of the events in Iraq from 2003 to 2008, Richard Engel, NBC correspondent for the Middle East, repeatedly asks the question that others should have been asking a lot earlier and a lot louder: namely, what the heck was the US doing there? This is a personal account of Engel’s experiences […]Read more "“War Journal” by Richard Engel"
An account of the first Chechen war written by two journalists who were on the ground when it happened, interviewing the leaders and even spending time embedded amongst Chechen units, “Chechnya: Calamity in the Caucasus” is both a thorough overview and a riveting story of the first war. Although it is distinctly dated by being […]Read more "“Chechnya: Calamity in the Caucasus” by Carlotta Gall and Thomas de Waal"
Asne Seierstad was a freelance journalist in Moscow when the first Chechen war broke out. Acting under a poorly-understood compulsion to find out what was really going on there, she sweet-talked her way onto a military transport plane and ended up in Grozny. She spent several months during the first war, and again during the […]Read more "“The Angel of Grozny” by Åsne Seierstad"
While any Politkovskaya book is an emotionally intense experience, this one is particularly wrenching: it begins with articles she wrote during the final years of her life, including the articles that may have led to her murder, and ends with tributes–some heartfelt, some grudging–paid to her after her death by her friends, admirers, and enemies […]Read more "“Is Journalism Worth Dying For?” by Anna Politkovskaya"
“Warrior Patient Rule No. 1: Choose to live. Take personal responsibility for getting better. It is not your doctor’s job. It is not God’s job. It is your job. God and your doctors might help. And they might not.” This is the first rule Temple Williams gives in his often humorous, and even more often […]Read more "“Warrior Patient” by Temple Williams"
What do you do when you’re an idealistic young journalist whose hometown suddenly turns into a war zone? Obviously, you grab your camera and your notepad and you start gathering stories. Only it turns out that a brutal civil war in your own country is more than just another story. There have been many appalling […]Read more "“The Sky Wept Fire” by Mikail Eldin"