August 13th, 2007

hutch

book plug

I just finished War Stories by the BBC journalist Jeremy Bowen and I'd like to big it up for you. I've always thought Bowen was one of the outstanding journalists of my generation (we're the same age and he started at the BBC the same year as I started on Fleet Street, but there the similarities end) and here he writes with enormous candour about the experience of reporting from war zones and the addiction to danger and excitement that it can bring. He reported from El Salvador and Sarajevo and Jerusalem, among other places, which takes balls I do not possess. It's not a long book but it's scorchingly honest and searching and I can't recommend it highly enough.

It struck me while I was reading the book - and I don't expect anyone to agree with me - that, whatever Calvaries have struck the BBC recently, BBC news has been going through a golden age in recent years. When we have journalists of the calibre of John Simpson, Orla Guerin, Gavin Essler, Bowen himself, the now-retired Martin Bell, and many others, all I can do is tip my hat to them in astonishment and wish I had a fraction of their talent.
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