Synopses & Reviews
"The frustrations and follies of contemporary war reporting are skewered in this jaundiced, juicy dispatch, datelined Saudi Arabia during the 1991 Gulf War. Sent to cover the story of a lifetime, wire service reporter Angus Dalziel finds himself with a view mainly of his hotel room. Harassed by Saudi officialdom, stifled and spoon-fed by U.S. Army press minders, Angus struggles to unearth real stories about military corruption, the repressive Saudi society America is defending and front-line reverses once the longed-for fighting begins. Watching his comrades veer between frenzy and torpor in their media bubble, Angus ponders the rot at the heart of journalism especially the shallowness and vanity of television correspondents, one of whom uses up his tent mates' precious drinking water to shampoo his hair. First-time novelist and New York Times Cairo bureau chief MacFarquhar has this milieu down cold, though some of his tent poles are romantic clichs. A triangle between Angus, a cable-news babe and an egotistical producer yields much brooding over the transience of reporters' love lives, and the dichotomy between serious print journalists and TV airheads is a little facile. But media insiders and casual readers alike will relish his stock of witty observations and nasty anecdotes, while gleaning timely insights into the corruption of the news business. Michael Moore this isn't, but look for the book to serve as a kind of 'physician, heal thyself' for the current wartime media, with corresponding talk show play." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The Cairo bureau chief for the "New York Times" goes inside the private lives and professional mischief of war reporters waiting for the first Gulf War to begin in this bitingly funny first novel.