Deadlines on the front line ( travels with a veteran war correspondent)

Deadlines on the front line ( travels with a veteran war correspondent)

Paul Moorcraft
ARRSE Rating
5 Mushroom Heads
At first glance for many people, the title of this book would lead you to expect to a dry dusty tome, detailing long boring meetings with senior officers, a few short judgements on parts of a battle seen from a distance, the usual booze ups, and a critique of the way the battle was run.

This book is none of these things, it is irreverent, rude, full of useful phrases and a fine study of different nations their foibles, and sex. His time spent teaching in an Australian University and having to endure the wrath of legions of unshaven lesbians and women's lib activists are a joy to behold, as he tangles with them and plays with their minds leaving them none the wiser (he preferred a war zone).

If you were looking for a travelling companion or someone to enjoy a few beers with then Paul is your man, he is honest, self deprecating, Welsh , short fat and hairy and often questions why he is in a particular situation and wonders when he will get found out. He blags his way into various war zones, on foot, on pillion of a tiny motorcycle or in clapped out vehicles to obtain his interviews with warlords, tribal leaders, politicians, soldiers, and complete nutcases.

Chucked into the Serbo-Croat war, he befriends a Serbian girl and learns much about how to keep your testicles complete (their version of shotgun marriages), takes a hazardous bus ride into a war zone, only to have to bail out when the bus becomes a bullet magnet, and learns much about the Balkan way of life and its problems.

He relates his time spent in Africa and is honest to a fault about the political situation there, the tribal allegiances and how big business and foreign governments pervade everything.

He has spent time smoking dope with the Mujahideen in Afghanistan and was assimilated into their society, returning later to report on the Afghan war.

Cambodia is reported on with great honesty, his attempts to interview Pol Pot and his time spent in Sri Lanka meeting the Tamil Tigers, interviewing them, sheds light on battles that we are often shielded from.

His love life is complicated and he relates how he got married on a whim (who doesn't !!!), and narrowly misses out other more complex and dangerous relationships, often by leaping out of windows.

It's a thoroughly engaging read with an honest clear sighted view of the world without trying to conceal anything as is so often the case with the media or to add his own personal agenda. Buy this book and read it during a boring meeting at work, or behind your PC screen the day will flash past in joy and laughter.

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