Saturday, 17 November 2012


August 2011.........14 books read – amazing what two weeks holiday can do for you!

Anthony Loyd – My War Gone By, I Miss It So

Olen Steinhauer – Victory Square

Kevin Sampson – Stars Are Stars

Mari Jungstedt – Unseen

Jennifer Egan – A Visit From The Goon Squad

Simon Mayle – The Burial Brothers

Linwood Barclay – Never Look Away

Alafair Burke – Long Gone

John Irving – The Fourth Hand

Marcus Zusak – The Book Thief

John Grisham – The Last Juror

Steig Larsson – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

SteveClaridge/Ian Ridley – Tales From The Boot Camp

Matthew Lewis ED. – Out Of The Gutter Issue 1      

A little bit of everything this month, war reporting, sports biography, travel, short stories, literature, thriller and crime.

Mainly ok, a couple of disappointments...Alafair Burke, Jennifer Egan.........didn’t enjoy them as much as I hoped for.

Best of the month.....Steinhauer, Zusak and Loyd’s reporting from the Balkans.

On the basis that Steinhauer and Zusak have been previous picks, the prize goes to Loyd for his superb book

Blurb/reviews.......... Anthony Loyd's first book is a vivid, haunting account of the war in Bosnia from 1993 until 1996, from where he reported for the Daily Telegraph and then the Times as a special correspondent. However, what separates it from standard reportage is the war Loyd was fighting on a personal front, which drove him to seek war as a "final absolution of self-responsibility". While snipers shot people indiscriminately Loyd, living on whisky-chased adrenaline, fought to understand the compulsion he felt to be there and struggled to shoot the pictures that were the pretext for his presence. It is this battle, set against the brutality that tore the Balkans to shreds, that gives the book its anguished focus and embattled majesty.

Loyd gradually reveals a fractured upbringing, which culminated in the death of the father from whom he had been torturously distant for many years. Five years in the army did little to relieve the embittered emotional hangover that had become his burden, and in indulging the impulse that propelled him to war he was following in the footsteps of generations of males in his family. In addition to the stimulation engendered he was also fighting a heroin dependency that reared up when the buzz of the danger passed.

The descriptions of mortar-damaged flesh in Bosnia do not depart easily from the consciousness of the reader, who is left shuddering at the damage they must have inflicted on the author. Loyd, though, free from the constraints of newspaper journalism, writes with an angrily articulate physicality that throbs with a challenging compassion one longs for him to apply to himself. He finally achieves a redemption of sorts, and in the process has written one of the most uncompromising and personally honest accounts of the ugliness of war that puts to shame complacent apathy. Brave, provocative, essential, but not for those who take cream in their coffee. --David Vincent 

From the Publisher

A selection of the reviews from the UK press
A selection of the reviews from the UK press
'An extraordinary memoir of the Bosnian War . . . savage and mercilessly readable . . . deserves a place alongside George Orwell, James Cameron and Nicholas Tomalin. It is as good as war reporting gets. I have nowhere read a more vivid account of frontline fear and survival. Forget the strategic overview. All war is local. It is about the ditch in which the soldier crouches and the ground on which he fights and maybe dies. The same applies to the war reporter. Anthony Loyd has been there and knows it' MARTIN BELL, The Times

'A truly exceptional book, one of those rare moments in journalistic writing when you can sit back and realise that you are in the presence of somebody willing to take the supreme risk for a writer, of extending their inner self. I finished reading Anthony Loyd's account of his time in the Balkans and Chechnya only a few days ago and am still feeling the after-effects . . . I read his story of war and addiction (to conflict and heroin) with a sense of gratitude for the honesty and courage on every page' FERGAL KEANE, The Independent

'Not since Michael Herr wrote Dispatches has any journalist written so persuasively about violence and its seductions in all of war's minutiae of awful detail . . . an account that demystifies war and the war reporter and strips them bare before the reader' PETER BEAUMONT, The Observer

'Undoubtedly the most powerful and immediate book to emerge from the Balkan horror of ethnic civil war . . . far more revealing and convincing than anything recounted to camera by visiting journalists and politicians' ANTHONY BEEVOR, Daily Telegraph

'An astonishing book . . . a raw, vivid and brutally honest account of his transition from thrill seeker to concerned reporter' PHILIP JACOBSON, Daily Mail

'Chilling . . . a true picture into the brutality of war and should be required reading for all those politicians who use phrases such as 'collateral damage' and 'surgical strikes' JOHN NICHOL, Daily Express

'Part war memoir, part coming-of-age tale and part junkie diary, it's a raw account of the hypnotic lures of violence, heroin and danger' CARLA POWER, Newsweek

'This is more than just despatches from the front. There's blood-red-vivid descriptions of the fighting, sure, but there's also the dark poetic insight of a man who's seen humanity at its worst. Loyd spares us nothing - not brains spilling out on the street, not his own bleak despair, not even the jokes - and he deserves a medal for it' Maxim





No comments:

Post a Comment