Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Paul Conroy

Paul Conroy, author of Under the Wire: Marie Colvin's Final Assignment, is a former British soldier. As a photographer and filmmaker whose work spans 15 years, he has reported on the conflicts in Iraq, Congo, Kosovo, Libya, and Syria.

Recently I asked Conroy about what he was reading. His reply:
After the injuries I received in Syria I have been unable to get out and take any meaningful photographs. This has posed me with a dilemma, what to do next with my life?

Conflict reporting may be a tough one to continue with, at least on the very frontline. I never again want anyone to have to stop and have to help me, to put their lives on the line for me and be killed or injured in doing so.

My agents and publishers are convinced I can write, so I have turned to books for inspiration. One book in particular combines all of the traits I look for in a good read, P.J. O'Rourke's, Holidays in Hell. It offers an incredibly open, honest and hilarious insight into the world of journalism which, despite offending some of the more aloof members of the journalistic community, is a world I instantly recognise and immediately connect with.

O'Rourke's approach to life tallies very closely to my own: there is humour in just about everything and everywhere you go, including war zones. If you can't find humour in many of the dark places, which as journalists we often find ourselves in, then you are in for a very rocky ride indeed.

Next on my to read list is Tony Wheeler's Dark Lands. The book is continually pointed out to me, "You just have to read this," is a common cry, "It's exactly what you been doing for years," I'm told. So I now have a copy ready to start. Any book which has the opening line of 'My first thought when George Bush announced his axis of evil was, I want to go there,' is a must read for me. Why? Because I too remember that speech and my first reaction was, 'I want to go there.' Where can such a book fail?
© 2013 Paul Conroy
Learn more about Under the Wire, and follow Paul Conroy on Twitter.

My Book, The Movie: Under the Wire.

The Page 99 Test: Under the Wire.

--Marshal Zeringue