"My Journey Through War and Peace: Explorations of a Young Filmmaker, Feminist and Spiritual Seeker" is an adventurous spiritual memoir about a woman in her twenties who seeks self-discovery and connection to something greater in the midst of danger in Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion and in the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
About the Author
Melissa Burch has worked as a filmmaker for CBS and the BBC, was featured in The New York Times, produced a national public television series, co-hosted a radio show on Voice America, and has been a spiritual seeker for over thirty years. Her first memoir, "My Journey Through War and Peace," describes her adventures in war zones in Afghanistan and the Soviet Union and her peace efforts during the Cold War, as well has her inward spiritual journey. She was the executive producer of "Women in Limbo Presents," a national public television series about women s lives, and served as president of the New York Film/Video Council. Her book, "The Four Methods of Journal Writing: Finding Yourself Through Memoir," was a #1 Amazon bestseller and is still in the top 10 in its category. She is also a homeopath, co-founded the Catalyst School of Homeopathy, and produced and hosted one of the first successful radio shows on Voice America on homeopathy.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
My Journey Through War and Peace: Explorations of a Young Filmmaker, Feminist and Spiritual Seeker based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Reviewed by David K. McDonnell for Reader Views (02/17) “My Journey Through War and Peace” by Melissa Burch is the author’s memoir of her experiences in the 1980s, including her freelance filmmaking in Afghanistan and the Soviet Union. It also includes her strained relations with her family, her loves at home and abroad, and her quest to find independence and self-identity. Her retelling of the Afghanistan experience is the best element of the book, by far. At only 21, she went to Afghanistan to film the Afghan-Soviet war. She was assigned by an Afghani leader to a seven-man mujahedeen unit. The unit was ordered to ambush a Soviet convoy so she could film it for an American and British audience. Burch did shoot an ambush, with the Afghan destruction of a Soviet truck and the Soviet destruction of an Afghan village. Burch later shot footage of an already-downed Soviet helicopter. CBS News spliced the footage of the small ambush and the helicopter scene, together with someone else’s training footage, to present it as a much larger battle. Burch returned to Afghanistan a few years later to track down a story of local cease-fire. A local mujahedeen leader and his Soviet Red Army counterpart tacitly agreed to stop fighting. It appeared to be an amazing story, and Burch had to cross the treacherous mountains from Pakistan to get it. She got the story, with the necessary film, but no one wanted to air it. It simply did not fit the network’s narrative for what was going on in the war. Both Afghan stories, as well as a later film expedition in the Soviet Union, are told crisply and with surprising detail – surprising since the book was written decades after the experiences. They also lay the foundation for her life journey, since her dangerous and arduous reporting was unappreciated by network news. Burch mixes the overseas stories with remembrances of her home life in Washington, D.C., and her return trips to visit her family. Her relationship with her mother was especially poignant. The mother was an alcoholic and sometimes overbearing. She was also the family breadwinner and a feminist and, ultimately, an inspiration to the author. The author’s father was a Zen Buddhist, as the author eventually becomes. The book is designed, in part, as Burch’s quest for spirituality, which ultimately leads her to Zen Buddhism. In this area, I felt the book didn’t quite get there. There is little of her experiences in the 1980s that would inexorably lead one to Zen. Perhaps her memoirs of the next decades might fill in this gap. Unless the author is already rich and famous, it is difficult to make a memoir entertaining or engrossing. Yet Burch does a wonderful job in translating her personal experiences, though decades past, into a compelling and inspiring story.
Melissa Burch was a war correspondent, working for many major television networks, including the BBC and CBS. My Journey Through War and Peace is her memoirs of that period in her life. From a young, novice, war correspondent, to a woman who has witnessed the horrors that war brings with it, she has covered some of the major battles throughout the Eastern world and the Soviet Union. Whilst capturing the devastation of war through the lens of her camera, she became aware of the change that war had done to her, not just physically, but spiritually as well. This is her story. The book dives right into the thick of the action of 1982 when Melissa was a young, naive woman, just turned 21 and about to shoot her first war footage in Afghanistan, at the heart of the Cold War. She was with the Afghan Freedom-Fighters, Mujahedeen as they prepared to carry out an attack on a Russian convoy, and it was her job to film the attack. This book creates both visual and emotional images of war via Melissa’s memories of her time in the East. You not only get to read, but you get to watch as the scenes play out in your head. It’s not often that I like to review peoples’ memoirs. I often feel that they are too personal to pass judgement on, wondering how can I sit and critique someones’ past. Just as well that I enjoyed this book, along with the reality that this book doesn’t actually read like a memoir, it reads just like a fictional book about a film maker, although this could be down to scenes that you just couldn’t comprehend as being real. Melissa had some tough and trying times over the years. These events shaped her and changed the way that she perceives the world and herself, bringing spirituality in to her life. This is a full-on, gripping book that will touch your heart, and make you see the world through the eyes of a very tough and brave woman, who just wanted to help change the world.