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Description - War Junkie by Jon Steele

Jon Steele is a war junkie. Soon after starting work as an ITN cameraman, he began to feel strangely at home in the kind of places ordinary people get evacuated from. Before long, he was living for the rush which comes as bullets fly past your head and bombs explode at your feet. Normal life just couldn't compete...In Georgia, Jon filmed on the last flight out of the besieged airport at Sokhumi, as the plane took off in the dead of night, all lights extinguished, going the wrong way down the runway, directly towards the nearby steep and virtually invisible mountain range while Abkhazian soldiers fired off random anti-aircraft shells in their general direction. In Moscow, he filmed in the midst of chaos as armed rebels and Militia fought bloodthirsty, hand-to-hand battles on the streets around him. In Rwanda, he filmed the horrific aftermath to the most brutal massacre of modern times - and his own neck got far too close to the edge of a machete for comfort. In Zaire, he filmed endless fields full of young children deranged by hunger and ravaged by cholera. In Bosnia, Jon realised that he had, in fact, seen and filmed more than he could cope with, and finally spiralled out of control, deep into emotional meltdown. But somehow War Junkie is also an incredibly funny and exhilarating book. The humour is dark but sharp as broken glass. The action comes so thick and fast you can forget to breathe. "War Junkie" is shocking, hilarious, deeply moving and, ultimately, it packs a powerful psychological punch. It will challenge everything you thought you knew about modern warfare as it shines an unforgiving spotlight into some of the darkest recesses of recent history.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780552149846
ISBN-10: 0552149845
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 127mm x 31mm)
Pages: 544
Imprint: Corgi Books
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Publish Date: 2-Jun-2003
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions - War Junkie by Jon Steele

Book Reviews - War Junkie by Jon Steele

UK Kirkus Review » Jon Steele was one of ITN's most distinguished cameramen for many years, and in that capacity he travelled to wars and insurrections in Georgia, Abkhazia, Moscow, Rwanda, Zaire, Sarajevo and elsewhere. This memoir of his life starts with a mental and emotional breakdown at Heathrow Airport, and reading the book the main question the reader asks is how the author managed to survive more or less intact until then. The horrors about which he writes are graphic and unforgiving - brutal violence, dead, dying, tortured people - and the continual struggle to remain aloof; to photograph the child dying of hunger or as the result of savagery rather than helping him - though occasionally Steele was forced into action by conscience or human pity. But the book is better than a simple record of the life of a cameraman in various war zones, for Steele also writes of his own emotional life, and vividly conveys what it is like to reject one's family and continually to betray one's private life for one's job. Extreme danger reveals a great deal about a human being, and Steele's record of what it was like to share danger with a number of reporters, and to recoil from it into uncertain private relationships, is particularly interesting. As far as war goes, the title of the book is perfectly accurate: he was indeed a 'junkie'. Though he had the normal human reaction to the inhumanity he witnessed, he was unable not to return to it: it had become an irresistible drug. Two questions remain: first, why has the publisher thought fit to issue a book about a cameraman without any examples of his work, and secondly, how is it that page after page of the book consists of often quite complex conversations, reported word-for-word? Total recall? We cannot know. But this is certainly a compelling record of a peculiarly self-destructive career. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - Jon Steele

Jon Steele was born in the American Northwest and raised in Great Falls, Montana. He left home at the age of sixteen and worked in an assortment of legal and illegal jobs before joining Independent Television News of London in 1982. He established a reputation as one of the world's top cameramen in dangerous environments. He currently lives in Arab East Jerusalem where he continues to cover the Middle East for ITN. He lives with a stray cat named Killer.

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