Sunday, April 30, 2006

Books: Without fear or favour? Crap! Bloody terrified, more like...

A couple of years ago I remember hearing the shaky voice of Australian Journalist Eric Campbell, live from somewhere else, telling us that his cameraman had been blown up when a car-bomb pulled up beside them and detonated. The cameraman had a baby daughter, and had died between Eric and the bomb. You could tell Eric had cracked. You could tell that he wasn't heading back to a war zone for a while. This book explains why.

Journalists are the witnesses of the world - they are the people who stand up when all others are silent and say, "The injustice happened. I saw it." If bad things happen when good people stay silent, journalists like Eric Campbell are the good people. He is an old school journalist. He tells it like he sees it - sometimes as he sees it - without favour, though, at times, plenty of fear.

This is his story, from when he finally became a foreign correspondent, at 35, to now, ironically back in his first foreign post, Moscow, with his wife (who deserves a book in her own right, but I can't name for fear of spoiling some of the story) and a new baby daughter.

It is a testament to the quality of his journalism that I could remember flashes of his news reports from almost every incident in the book. If you saw his reports, now you can read the story behind them. If you didn't see his reports, the book will open your eyes about the nature of war and peace, human cruelty and compassion. You will be entertained, you will be inspired and you will close the book satisfied that the world is a better place for people like Eric Campbell.


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