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Where War Lives [Paperback]

Paul Watson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 2 2008 077108787X 978-0771087875
A Pulitzer Prize — winning journalist takes us on a personal and historic journey from Mogadishu through Rwanda to Afghanistan and Iraq.

With the click of a shutter the world came to know Staff Sgt. William David Cleveland Jr. as a desecrated corpse. In the split-second that Paul Watson had to choose between pressing the shutter release or turning away, the world went quiet and Watson heard Cleveland whisper: “If you do this, I will own you forever.” And he has.

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.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Veteran war correspondent Watson takes the reader on a graphic tour of modern battlefields from Eritrea to Afghanistan, with a particularly haunting stop in war-torn Somalia. It was in Somalia that Watson photographed the corpse of an American soldier being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu—a photo that set off a firestorm of outrage in the U.S. and won him a Pulitzer Prize. Watson claims that he was consumed by anger, fear, and shame after taking the picture and later sought exoneration from the soldier's family. A self-described war junkie who calls Kashmir a fiery seductress, Watson is undeterred even when he's diagnosed with chronic depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. The lessons that he learns—[w]ar does not conquer evil, truth is a moving target and war lives in all of us, among them—are neither original nor particularly helpful. Watson is at his best describing the sights and sounds of war; his book suffers and he loses credibility when he poses as a journalist-savant whose only loyalty is to the truth. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


National Bestseller

“He paints a pretty vivid picture of the violence, fear, grief and despair that is generated under wartime circumstances. . . . Watson is a natural storyteller, and he has one hell of a story to tell.”
Globe and Mail

“Reads like a bullet-pocked tour of some of the globe’s most wretched hellholes of the last fifteen years. . . . There are plenty of narrow escapes and grisly accounts of the killing fields here, as well as some criticism of U.S. and United Nations policy -- Watson knows of what he speaks. His point of view is from the front lines, not the editorial pages, and there is honour in that.”
Quill & Quire

“The release of his book is extremely timely since Canadians are currently embroiled in the controversial war in Afghanistan. . . . The book provides an excellent framework to consider the nature of war, the role of the media in shaping how we understand it, and the price we all pay for this information.”
Ottawa Xpress

Where War Lives is a breathtakingly compelling and candid account of Watson's career as one of Canada’s premier foreign correspondents. . . . The writing is edgy, sometimes chaotic and raw. It feels like you’ve jumped in for a bumpy ride with a war correspondent: You get the passenger-side view of the madness around you and the inside view of how journalists work and survive in humanity’s hellholes.”
– Montreal Gazette

“Beautifully written and pitilessly honest about the author’s life and line of work – and the role of the West in the world’s recent bloodbaths. . . . [it] will haunt readers (almost) as much as Cleveland haunts him.”

“[A] raw, wrenching memoir.”
Winnipeg Free Press

Where War Lives is one of the best pieces of journalistic field reporting that I have read in years. A compelling account, it ventures into that hazy area lived by war junkies who risk all in their attempt to cover the day’s news in an embattled world.”
- Owen Sun Times

“Gripping and courageous … This book is a thriller.”
Ottawa Citizen

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars What a read - fantastic book Sept. 8 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wow. This book hits home as a page turner in a startling revelation of the life of a combat photographer. As a Canadian, this book hits home even more with some very surprising Canadian twists to his life. Paul is a hero in my eyes. To read his book is to be let into his life in an intimate way. For anyone who has seen a movie about war, or seen pictures from conflict zones, this is a must read. It's not an easy job, and I believe sometimes that it is a harder job than being an actual soldier.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Job Done Nov. 18 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase

I did not enjoy the book very much. It was way too grossly detailed for me, and I felt sick while reading it. As a matter in fact, I was not even able to finish it, and I have no intention in finishing it either. It's definitely not my kind of book, and it frustrates me that we, as students, were not given the chance to choose our own book to read for our journalism class. The product did not please me; however it was in good condition. I was surprised that it was even used. It arrived at a decent time, and it did its job. I was pleased with the service. Thus, thank you very much!

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The man who took the Somalia picture Dec 19 2008
By Curt - Published on Amazon.com
As a Somalia veteran and well aware of how dangerous a mob could be, I had always wondered what Watson was thinking when he was the lone American in the middle of a seething mob of Africans who were tearing an American corpse apart. His description of the event is so powerful, I felt like I was back on Mogadishu's streets with him, seeing what he saw and feeling his fear, not of just being killed, but of being torn apart. Four other journalists had been dealt with that way by a Somali mob three months before the Black Hawk Down firefight and he presumed the same thing would happen to him. Not only does he take the pictures and manage to get away, but actually went back a second time to take more pictures in case his editor didn't accept the first batch because they showed the corpse's genitals.

Watson then goes on to describe other war zones he reported on: the Persian Gulf War, Rwanda, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. He describes his trade of being a war correspondent without apology as he travels from one slaughter to another, taking pictures and writing the stories of the soldiers and their victims. In the end, he finds that the only thing that gives meaning in a world of war, bloodshed, violence, death and destruction is love. It sounds like a simple answer, but Watson's journey into where war lives is profound.
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! July 3 2008
By Robert C. Boyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is really thought provoking. It should be particularly interesting to photographers with a political interest.
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