Book Review: War Reporting for Cowards by Chris Ayres

June 12, 2017

War Reporting for Cowards by Chris Ayres is a book which tells of the time the author was embedded with the Marines in the second Gulf War. Mr. Ayres still writes to British magazines and screen.

  • 240 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871138956

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My rat­ing for War Reporting for Cowards4
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If there is one word to describe War Reporting for Cowards by Chris Ayres it’s “honest” – and probably also “funny”. So funny and honest it is.

The book follows Mr. Ayres as he becomes a “war reporter”, a short autobiography of growing up, going to school and getting a job. From there Mr. Ayres tells us about being a foreign correspondent in New York City and witnessing the 9/11 attacks from ground level. Mr. Ayres then gets assigned to Los Angeles, where he knows his assignments are not serious, yet he has to take them seriously in a wry sort of way.
Then he goes to Iraq.

Sometimes people want to talk with me about the Israel-Palestine, an issue I’m always willing to discuss frankly. Many are just trying to get information before making up their minds, but every once in a while I get the “why did Israel disproportionally bomb Palestine after they shot ‘only’ 2,000 rockets on them?”
My answer is almost always the same “what would you want to do if only one of those 2,000 was aimed at your kids?”
“Idealism increases in direct proportion to one’s distance from the problem.” – John Galsworthy

Being embedded with American troops is no joke, as he soon finds out. Even as an embedded reporter Mr. Ayers finds that he has been hardened witnessing the grim reality of war. The author finds that being on the front lines (without a gun) Mr. Galsworthy starts making sense.

The author’s self-deprecating humor shines throughout the book. He does not make himself to be a hero of the stature of John Rambo or John Matrix, but a reluctant reporter, a coward among brave men. Only that he’s not a coward, just a rational human being.

The book is an enjoyable read, an accurate war story without embellishments and with humor. A fun and easy read which will resonate with many people.

What I couldn’t get past though, were some of the mistakes in the book, outright jumbled words and calling Todd Beamer, the American passenger aboard United Airlines Flight 93 which was hijacked as part of the September 11 attacks, “Tom”.
I know those are minor complaints, but they really irritated me.

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Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I borrowed this book from a co-worker
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