Means of Escape: A War Correspondent's Memoir of Life and Death in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Vietnam

( 2 )

Overview

Philip Caputo has been a witness to the most important struggles of our time, from the hot green hell of Vietnam to the dusty mountains of Afghanistan to the bloodstained streets of Beirut. In Means of Escape, Caputo intersperses imaginative retellings of events he witnessed with true accounts of how he became a writer, and what happened when he was sent to some of the most dangerous places in the world. He begins with his childhood and budding career in Chicago. Soon after, he was deep in the Sinai Peninsula ...
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Means of Escape: A War Correspondent's Memoir of Life and Death in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Vietnam

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Overview

Philip Caputo has been a witness to the most important struggles of our time, from the hot green hell of Vietnam to the dusty mountains of Afghanistan to the bloodstained streets of Beirut. In Means of Escape, Caputo intersperses imaginative retellings of events he witnessed with true accounts of how he became a writer, and what happened when he was sent to some of the most dangerous places in the world. He begins with his childhood and budding career in Chicago. Soon after, he was deep in the Sinai Peninsula searching for the last authentic Bedouin, and reporting from the front lines of the Yom Kippur War. In an eerie parallel to journalist Daniel Pearl's tragic murder, Caputo was kidnapped and held hostage by Islamic extremists while reporting in Beirut. Caputo's palpable descriptions of the captors and fellow cellmates in this razor-thin existence are as compelling as any escape story before or since. As he emerged from captivity, Peter Jennings congratulated him on his eventual escape, and on the Pulitzer Prize he'd won while imprisoned. While continuing his work as a reporter in Beirut, he was singled out by a sniper and received a bullet in his ankle and a chunk of wall in his head. In Afghanistan in the 1980s, he joined the Mujahideen for a clandestine mission and was nearly captured by Soviet forces. Few authors have put themselves so squarely in the center of the twentieth century's great conflicts, and even fewer can describe what they saw as well as Philip Caputo in this important memoir.
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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
An intensely personal, albeit consistently affecting and frequently riveting memoir of years of living dangerously. Caputo (A Rumor of War, Indian Country, etc.) has witnessed much of the worst violence that marked the latter half of the 20th century. A combat veteran of Vietnam, he went on to cover trouble spots throughout the Third World as a roving correspondent for The Chicago Tribune. Describing himself as drawn to history (if not to the sound of the guns), the globe-trotting author has reported on insurgency in Eritrea, civil strife in Lebanon, Israel's October War, the fall of Saigon, and a host of lesser belligerencies. Looking for a "good war" several years after having quit the journalism trade, Caputo accepted an assignment from Esquire that took him deep behind Soviet lines in Afghanistan. Venturesome to the point of rashness, he has paid the price of boldness on many occasions. Though he made it through Vietnam without a physical scratch, for example, the author was imprisoned by Palestinian guerrillas in Beirut and later sustained severe wounds (at the hands of Christian militia) in the same city, leaving him with a still-painful limp. Peacefully settled in one place now, he's content to let a workroom window overlooking a salt marsh on the Long Island Sound serve as his new means of escape. Caputo nonetheless looks back on his days as a rolling stone with some relish and few apparent regrets. Indeed, he retains a rueful sense of barracks humor neatly summarized in an ultrarude anecdote whose moral is: "the final indignity is that there is no final indignity." An episodic, impressionistic, and dead-honest narrative that affords memorable as well as consequentialinsights into a chaotic era's noteworthy conflicts.
From the Publisher

"A frequently riveting memoir of years of living dangerously."
--Kirkus Reviews
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805089639
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/31/2009
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 843,414
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip Caputo is the author of the New York Times bestseller A Rumor of War and the novels Indian Country, DelCorso’s Gallery, and Horn of Africa. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1972 as part of an investigative team for the Chicago Tribune, and his coverage of his experience as a captive of Palestinian guerrillas won him the Overseas Press Club’s George Polk Citation.

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Table of Contents

1 Escape Velocity 1

2 City Room 34

3 The Desert 70

4 The City 111

5 First Casualties 167

6 The Old Country 213

7 Bye-Bye, Everybody 233

8 States of Extremes 276

9 The Great Game 320

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Takes you on an inside tour of life of a war correspondent!

    This is the 3rd Phil Caputo book I've read. The 1st one of his I read was a fictional account of a war correspondent ("DelCorso's Gallery"). Reading it, I thought, "There's no way this could've been either made up or converted from interviews of actual war correspondents." An internet search enlightened me to Caputo's career as a war correspondent and to this book.

    As for the story, it's riveting! He saw almost more danger and action as a reporter in combat than he did as a Marine infantry officer in combat. Definitely a great read for the action-oriented reader. He also imparts some interesting details about the politics of each conflict he's covered that could be very beneficial to those doing research on them.

    As for the writing, Caputo's cynical wit cracks me up. Not only that but he winds his stories almost around one another and reflects on others in the midst of each to where the reader almost feels like Caputo's sitting there telling you his stories in person.

    Bottom line; this book is a great read and I'd highly recommend it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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