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War Reporting for Cowards

by

War Reporting for Cowards Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

With the gonzo style of Hunter S. Thompson and the biting wit of P. J. O'Rourke, an unlikely reporter recounts how he got the opportunity of a lifetime — and ends up between Iraq and a hard place.

Chris Ayres is a small-town boy, a hypochondriac, and a neat freak with an anxiety disorder. Not exactly the picture of a war correspondent. He's a twenty-seven-year-old reporter for The Times of London living in Los Angeles, and the only thing he cares to be embedded in is celeb-studded after-parties. But somehow, he has a habit of ending up in the wrong place at the wrong time, whether it's a few blocks from the World Trade Center on September 11 or one cubicle over from an anthrax attack at the New York Post. When his boss asks him if he would like to go to Iraq, he doesn't have the guts to say no.

War Reporting for Cowards is the Iraq War — with all of its horrors and absurdities — through the eyes of a "war virgin" who was there, in the heat of battle, and wishing he were anywhere but. After signing a $1 million life-insurance policy, studying a tutorial on repairing severed limbs, and spending $20,000 in camping gear (only to find out that his bright yellow tent makes him a sitting duck), Ayres is embedded with the Long-Distance Death Dealers, a battalion of gung ho Marines who, when they aren't playing Monopoly using Baghdad and France as Park Place and Boardwalk, are a "disassembly line, churning out Iraqi body parts." They switch between shunning him and threatening to shoot him in the head when he files an unfavorable story. As time goes on, though, he begins to understand them (and his inexplicably enthusiastic fellow war reporters) more and more: Each night of terrifying combat brings, in the morning, something more visceral than he has ever experienced — the thrill of having won a fight for survival.

In the tradition of M*A*S*H, Catch-22, and other classics in which irreverence springs from life in extremis, War Reporting for Cowards tells the on-the-ground story of Iraq in a way that is extraordinarily honest, heartfelt, and bitterly hilarious. It is sure to become a classic of war reportage.

Review:

"Ayres asserts from his opening sentences that he is a coward. But this sometimes amusing, often harrowing but poorly organized account of war life makes it clear he is anything but a wimp: he is stuffed inside the confines of a Humvee, digs foxholes in the desert and watches Iraqis blown apart or incinerated (and fears the same will happen to him; he clutches a can of diazepam to commit suicide if he is struck by nerve gas). He reported from Iraq for the London Times from 2002 to 2003 and asserts that he takes no point of view on the war, yet the tone of his story is highly uncritical of the war, and his epilogue (alas, now hopelessly out of date) puts the U.S. firmly in control of the battlefield and describes the insurgency as on the wane. The book's strengths lie in Ayres's details of the gritty, hot, lonely daily grind; its weakest aspect is the too-long tangent of his rise as a young reporter. Ayres's gratitude at surviving his tour is palpable, as he writes, 'Now that I know what war is like, I've stopped worrying about death....I made it home. I'm still alive.' Agent, George Lucas. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"[H]ilarious....[R]eads as though Larry David had rewritten M*A*S*H* and Evelyn Waugh's Scoop as a comic television episode, even as it provides the reader with a visceral picture of the horrors of combat and the peculiar experience of being an embedded reporter." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Review:

"Excellent, sinewy....While these moments of bitterness claw at his soul, he delivers a first-rate glimpse of how terrifying are the wages of war....Ayres a coward? Come on, give the guy a medal." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Ayres delivers this book with a humble sense of accomplishment. He writes in a way that offers both brutal honesty and situational question marks that entice the reader to have a laugh at his expense." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Review:

"The most honest rendering we've seen of embedded life, hands down, comes from Chris Ayres." Howard Kurtz, The Washington Post

Review:

"Though other embedded reporters have written books, Ayres is unique in his humor-driven and slightly sarcastic slant." Library Journal

Review:

"The truly indispensable part of this book is its final section. Once we finally get to Iraq, Ayres is at his journalistic and comic best." Gary Shteyngart, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Ayres would never have cut it in the military, but he need not think meanly of himself. Going to war may or may not have made a man of him, but it certainly made a reporter of him. Bad news really can be good news." The Sunday Times (London)

Review:

"Ayers could have written an amazing book on Iraq had he opted to stay a bit longer. It's hard to fault him for opting for an early exit strategy but, not unlike a war sold on false pretenses, Ayers' book promises something it never had hopes of delivering." Rocky Mountain News

Review:

"One of the most powerful chapters deals with the terror attacks of Sept. 11. Ayres was in New York that day, and his descriptions are wrenching, sympathetic and somehow wry. Much has been written about that day, but here truly are some fresh views." Hartford Courant

Synopsis:

In the tradition of M*A*S*H, Catch-22, and other classics in which irreverence springs from life in extremis, journalist Chris Ayres, a "war virgin," tells the story of the war in Iraq in a way that is extraordinarily honest, heartfelt, and bitterly hilarious.

Synopsis:

Chris Ayres is a small-town boy, a hypochondriac, and a neat freak with an anxiety disorder. Not exactly the picture of a war correspondent. But when his boss asks him if he would like to go to Iraq, he doesn't have the guts to say no.

After signing a $1 million life-insurance policy, studying a tutorial on repairing severed limbs, and spending $20,000 in camping gear (only to find out that his bright yellow tent makes him a sitting duck), Ayres is embedded with a battalion of gung ho Marines who either shun him or threaten him when he files an unfavorable story. As time goes on, though, he begins to understand them (and his inexplicably enthusiastic fellow war reporters) more and more: Each night of terrifying combat brings, in the morning, something more visceral than he has ever experienced-the thrill of having won a fight for survival.

In the tradition of M*A*S*H, Catch-22, and other classics in which irreverence springs from life in extremis, War Reporting for Cowards tells the story of Iraq in a way that is extraordinarily honest, heartfelt, and bitterly hilarious.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780871138958
Author:
Ayres, Chris
Publisher:
Atlantic Monthly Press
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Journalists
Subject:
Military - Other
Subject:
HISTORY / Military / Other
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Editors, Journalists, Publishers
Subject:
Military - Iraq War
Subject:
Military - Iraq War (2003-)
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
July 10, 2005
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1.25 lb

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
History and Social Science » Journalism » Journalists

War Reporting for Cowards Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$1.75 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Atlantic Monthly Press - English 9780871138958 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Ayres asserts from his opening sentences that he is a coward. But this sometimes amusing, often harrowing but poorly organized account of war life makes it clear he is anything but a wimp: he is stuffed inside the confines of a Humvee, digs foxholes in the desert and watches Iraqis blown apart or incinerated (and fears the same will happen to him; he clutches a can of diazepam to commit suicide if he is struck by nerve gas). He reported from Iraq for the London Times from 2002 to 2003 and asserts that he takes no point of view on the war, yet the tone of his story is highly uncritical of the war, and his epilogue (alas, now hopelessly out of date) puts the U.S. firmly in control of the battlefield and describes the insurgency as on the wane. The book's strengths lie in Ayres's details of the gritty, hot, lonely daily grind; its weakest aspect is the too-long tangent of his rise as a young reporter. Ayres's gratitude at surviving his tour is palpable, as he writes, 'Now that I know what war is like, I've stopped worrying about death....I made it home. I'm still alive.' Agent, George Lucas. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "[H]ilarious....[R]eads as though Larry David had rewritten M*A*S*H* and Evelyn Waugh's Scoop as a comic television episode, even as it provides the reader with a visceral picture of the horrors of combat and the peculiar experience of being an embedded reporter."
"Review" by , "Excellent, sinewy....While these moments of bitterness claw at his soul, he delivers a first-rate glimpse of how terrifying are the wages of war....Ayres a coward? Come on, give the guy a medal."
"Review" by , "Ayres delivers this book with a humble sense of accomplishment. He writes in a way that offers both brutal honesty and situational question marks that entice the reader to have a laugh at his expense."
"Review" by , "The most honest rendering we've seen of embedded life, hands down, comes from Chris Ayres."
"Review" by , "Though other embedded reporters have written books, Ayres is unique in his humor-driven and slightly sarcastic slant."
"Review" by , "The truly indispensable part of this book is its final section. Once we finally get to Iraq, Ayres is at his journalistic and comic best."
"Review" by , "Ayres would never have cut it in the military, but he need not think meanly of himself. Going to war may or may not have made a man of him, but it certainly made a reporter of him. Bad news really can be good news."
"Review" by , "Ayers could have written an amazing book on Iraq had he opted to stay a bit longer. It's hard to fault him for opting for an early exit strategy but, not unlike a war sold on false pretenses, Ayers' book promises something it never had hopes of delivering."
"Review" by , "One of the most powerful chapters deals with the terror attacks of Sept. 11. Ayres was in New York that day, and his descriptions are wrenching, sympathetic and somehow wry. Much has been written about that day, but here truly are some fresh views."
"Synopsis" by , In the tradition of M*A*S*H, Catch-22, and other classics in which irreverence springs from life in extremis, journalist Chris Ayres, a "war virgin," tells the story of the war in Iraq in a way that is extraordinarily honest, heartfelt, and bitterly hilarious.
"Synopsis" by ,
Chris Ayres is a small-town boy, a hypochondriac, and a neat freak with an anxiety disorder. Not exactly the picture of a war correspondent. But when his boss asks him if he would like to go to Iraq, he doesn't have the guts to say no.

After signing a $1 million life-insurance policy, studying a tutorial on repairing severed limbs, and spending $20,000 in camping gear (only to find out that his bright yellow tent makes him a sitting duck), Ayres is embedded with a battalion of gung ho Marines who either shun him or threaten him when he files an unfavorable story. As time goes on, though, he begins to understand them (and his inexplicably enthusiastic fellow war reporters) more and more: Each night of terrifying combat brings, in the morning, something more visceral than he has ever experienced-the thrill of having won a fight for survival.

In the tradition of M*A*S*H, Catch-22, and other classics in which irreverence springs from life in extremis, War Reporting for Cowards tells the story of Iraq in a way that is extraordinarily honest, heartfelt, and bitterly hilarious.

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