The compelling autobiography of one of the great and most committed newsmen of our time: full, frank, and occasionally very funny, Jon Snow’s memoirs are as revealing about the great and the not-so-good as about his own passionate involvement in the reporting of world affairs
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Jon Snow is perhaps the most highly regarded newsman of our time; his qualities as a journalist and as a human being – his passion, warmth, intelligence, frankness and humour – are widely recognised and evident for all to see most nights on television [Channel 4 News] and now by his own voice in the pages of his first book.
His vivid personal chronicle is filled with anecdotes and pithy observations, and delightfully records his life and times since becoming a journalist in the early 1970s. He reported widely on Cold War conflicts in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Angola and Central America before becoming a resident correspondent in Washington D.C. in the 1980s, and has met and interviewed most of the world’s leaders.
Drawing lessons from these experiences, he has sharp things to say about how the increasing world disorder came about following the fall of the Berlin Wall; how the West’s constant search for an enemy has helped unhinge the world; and how and why the media have, in general, been less than helpful in drawing attention to key political and global developments.
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Channel 4 News anchorman Jon Snowís Shooting History is, like John Simpson's acclaimed books, a foreign correspondentís story: Snow has been reporting news for thirty years and for most of that time was a foreign correspondent with ITN, beaming back pictures from war zones in South and Central America, Africa, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Washington, where he was ITNís top US correspondent for some years. His proximity to America and her wars--plus his innate sense of justice--leads him to be critical of US foreign policy and the reluctance of recent US administrations to learn from the perceived mistakes of their predecessors. Reading about the proxy wars fought by the US in Central America and the overthrow of Iraqís democratically elected government in a CIA-backed coup, itís hard not to be persuaded by his argument that the northern hemisphere in general--and the US in particular--need to take more account of the plight of the poor to the south of us.
Warm, witty and engaging, Snowís story is also mildly self-deprecating: he seems comfortable discussing mistakes that he feels he has made and conflicts he feels guilty to have neglected in his long career. Regular viewers of Channel 4 News will recognise his easy tone, but donít expect reams of backroom gossip from his years as the presenter of the broadsheet news programme: over three quarters of the book is given over to his foreign adventures and itís clear that he sees himself as a currently static foreign correspondent. Given his clear affection for the people that he has met along the way, his anger about the injustices they have faced, and his manifesto for a better world (delivered in the final few pages), itís easy to see why he believes reporting from the field to be the way journalists can make a real difference. Shooting History is a riveting memoir, a damning indictment and an excellent read for anyone interested in current affairs.--Duncan ThomsonReview:
'...pacy, candid and anecdote-laden' -- Daily Mail
'A well-written, engrossing and surprisingly passionate piece of work.' -- Sunday Herald
'a fascinating insight into a world of flux.' -- Time Out
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