Book review: War Reporting for Cowards

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While biding my time during a long layover at O’Hare International Airport on my recent trip, I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled upon War Reporting for Cowards. It’s a short autobiographical work by Chris Ayers, a British finance and business journalist who found himself assigned to Iraq in 2004, embedded on the front lines with the US Marines.

Though Ayers doesn’t disappoint those expecting self-deprecating British humor, don’t think that this is a laugh-out-loud book that belongs on the “humor” shelf at Barnes & Noble. Nor is it a book that takes a particular stance on whether the war in Iraq was right or wrong.

Because he makes no pretenses about being a brave war journalist, what Ayers gives us is a rare look into the reality of being on the front lines of warfare, and I admire that he doesn’t hide his emotions, be they fear, terror, or admiration. He also found himself right in the middle of 9/11 while serving as the Wall Street journalist for the Times of London, and I appreciated his sincere portrayal of both the horror and surrealism of what was happening around him. Perhaps because we’re about the same age, I found myself relating to and chuckling at his observations and thoughts throughout the book.

War Reporting for Cowards is more of a general-interest book, but I found myself liking it well enough to recommend it here. Thanks for allowing me this non-finance-related post diversion.


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