Friday, October 12, 2007

Feeling Bookish...

Some of you may have noticed I have this little thing on the right sidebar where I have a link and the cover of the book I am currently reading. I normally try and write a "Not A Review" once I am done reading. But there are times that a book will just completely grab you from the very first page and won't let go, just because the story is so very real and compelling. The book I am reading is "Where War Lives" by the Pulitzer prize winning photojournalist Paul Watson. From the book's description...
Paul Watson was born a rebel with one hand, who grew up thinking it took two to fire an assault rifle, or play jazz piano. So he became a journalist. At first, he loved war. He fed his lust for the bang-bang, by spending vacations with guerilla fighters in Angola, Eritrea, Sudan, and Somalia, and writing about conflicts on the frontlines of the Cold War. Soon he graduated to assignments covering some of the world’s most important conflicts, including South Africa, Rwanda, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Watson reported on Osama bin Laden’s first battlefield victory in Somalia. Unwittingly, Watson’s Pulitzer Prize—winning photo of Staff Sgt. David Cleveland — whose Black Hawk was shot down over the streets of Mogadishu — helped hand bin Laden one of his earliest propaganda coups, one that proved barbarity is a powerful weapon in a modern media war. Public outrage over the pictures of Cleveland’s corpse forced President Clinton to order the world’s most powerful military into retreat. With each new beheading announced on the news, Watson wonders whether he helped teach the terrorists one of their most valuable lessons.
Much more than a journalist’s memoir, Where War Lives connects the dots of the historic continuum from Mogadishu through Rwanda to Afghanistan and Iraq.
In the prologue Paul Watson quotes from Camus...
He wrote in his notebook that he had solved the mystery of where war lives. It lives in all of us. He described the internal conflict that consumes us, whether it's in the heart of soldiers on the battlefield, or those of folks safe back home, wondering, and regretting "That they can't share the way the others are going to die."

"It's there, that's where it really is, and we were looking got it in the blue sky and the world's indifference. It is in this terrible loneliness both of the combatants and of the noncombatants, in this humiliated despair that we all feel, in the baseness that we feel growing in our faces as the days go by. The reign of the beasts has begun."
I am almost halfway through the book now and it is a gripping read about war and the effect it has, not just on those in the midst of it but also on those that document it. It is about anger and guilt and also about decisions made in the blink of an eye and their ability to alter history.
It is also very relevant, dear leader is said to have read Camus, but I seriously doubt he gets it.

Cool Book Ads...
Saw these nice ads here. Click on the image if it is hard to see the ads.

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Lotus Reads said...

What a terrific post, Sanjay! I had the Paul Watson book pass through my hands recently but I will get it back and read it, it sounds wonderful! I have often wondered about journalists covering the war...what motivates them to put themselves in so much danger? And can they really be dispassionate about it when they see so much destruction and loss of life around them? I am sure it takes a toll on their mental health. Perhaps we need to be more appreciative of war journalists. I remember his very famous Pulitzer-Prize winning picture of the American soldier. I think he was working for the Toronto Star when that picture was first published, right?

I will have to return to the Cool Book Ads, apparently I have to become a member of the site to view them?

Thank you for letting us know about "Good Books". I wish I could use them but they are based in New Zealand...knowing my money is being put to good use would have taken the edge off the guilt I feel for buying so many books!

Sanjay said...

Lotus, I am afraid you let a good book slip thru, you must get it back! :)

I haven't read about the experiences of a lot of journalists who cover conflicts but from what I have read of the Watson book, he loved the high and the adrenalin rush that coem from livign life on the edge. But that only lasted for so long. He also has a family history (his father and grand father) fought in the two world wars and possibly suffered from PTSD. And no I don't think they can be truly dispassionate. I have a huge amount of respect for folks like Paul Watson, but not so much for the TV journalists especially the ones who were embedded with the Pentagon, they only showed us a face of the war that they wanted us to see.

You are very right about the Pulitzer winning photo that he took, it was taken while he worked for the Toronto Star. Very fascinating reading about it.

Yes you do have to be a member to view the site, there are some amazing ads from around the world there.

I was disappointed too that "Good Books" is in New Zealand. But you should not feel bad that you buy so many books you do a good deed by giving them away too!

Lotus, Thank you so much for your comment. Please have a wonderful weekend ahead.

AVIANA said...

HI there!

haven't heard from you in a bit? where you've been?

oh well..

thank you for bringing this book to life...i don't read...mostly because i read all day at work..complicated law anything else is just too much...

but one book i just finished reading which is awesome is "the buddha in your mirror" even if you don't practice buddhism, it is very interesting on how to conduct oneself and how every action has a reaction and how we trully control our happiness..

alrite have a nice weekend!

Aditi said...

Terrific ad and great write-up as always....

moegirl said...

I will look for the Paul Watson book, looks like an interesting read. Also, thanks for the previous post with the Dove film, as the mother of a young girl, its a battle to keep things in perspective.

Sanjay said...

@Aviana. Thank you for the book recommendation. I can see how hard it might be to read when your work involves a lot of reading. I will be around to your blog soon.

@Aditi. Thank you.

@Moegirl. Thanks. I can only imagine how hard it is to raise girls these days given the current cultural milieu.