David Greenway, a journalist’s journalist in the tradition of Michael Herr, David Halberstam, and Dexter Filkins. In this vivid memoir, he tells us what it’s like to report a war up close.
Reporter David Greenway was at the White House the day Kennedy was assassinated. He was in the jungles of Vietnam in that war’s most dangerous days, and left Saigon by helicopter from the American embassy as the city was falling. He was with Sean Flynn when Flynn decided to get an entire New Guinea village high on hash, and with him hours before he disappeared in Cambodia. He escorted John le Carre around South East Asia as he researched The Honourable Schoolboy. He was wounded in Vietnam and awarded a Bronze Star for rescuing a Marine. He was with Sidney Schanberg and Dith Pran in Phnom Penh before the city descended into the killing fields of the Khmer Rouge. Greenway covered Sadat in Jerusalem, civil war and bombing in Lebanon, ethnic cleansing and genocide the Balkans, the Gulf Wars (both), and reported from Afghanistan and Iraq as they collapsed into civil war.
This is a great adventure story—the life of a war correspondent on the front lines for five decades, eye-witness to come of the most violent and heroic scenes in recent history.
H.D.S. Greenway has reported from 96 countries, and covered conflicts in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Israel, Iraq, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and the former Yugoslavia. He has been a contributing columnist for The Boston Globe, The International Herald Tribune, and Global Post, and has been a foreign correspondent for The Washington Post and Time magazine. He lives with his wife, JB Greenway, in Needham, Massachusetts.
“Passages such as that one—and there are indeed others—are what elevate ‘Foreign Correspondent’ well above the run of the journalistic mill. It’s easy for journalism to turn one into a cynic, but Greenway seems not to have succumbed.”
– Washington Post, Jonathan Yardley
“Greenway’s firsthand experiences add gravitas to his common-sense take on foreign policy. The real strengths of the book, however, are the vivid descriptions of life during wartime.”
– Publishers Weekly
“Greenway tells his story with freshness and color, and becoming touches of humility.”
– Columbia Journalism Review
“With an astute sense of the broader history behind conflicts, Greenway explores the harrowing process of shaking off colonial European powers and fighting for freedom and independence. … [A] fascinating look at one man’s career and 50 years of war, violence, and adventure.”
“Greenway provides fascinating detail on the day-to-day travails of the foreign correspondent… Frank, seasoned, expert observations on the folly of U.S. military intervention.”
– Kirkus Reviews
“Greenway has taken a second crack at a ‘first draft of history’ and given us a riveting, smart memoir filled with anecdotes and observations that come from years of reflection. He lets us in on the great secret of a war correspondent. A story is always more devious and complicated than the one written on deadline. Greenway now gives us the real scoop with humor and intelligence; a perspective that comes from mining his dog-eared reporter’s notebooks, some still flecked with dried blood and sweat. He has found remarkable stories. In the White House on the day of the Kennedy assassination, on the last flight out of Vietnam from the roof of the US embassy, Greenway was an eye-witness to momentous events. Fast-forward to Kabul and Baghdad where he observed the chaos of capitals collapsing into civil war. Greenway expands on the skills of a gifted war correspondent to write his personal account of remarkable history.”
– Deborah Amos, author of Eclipse of the Sunnis
“This is more than a memoir . . . it is a sophisticated modern history, with all of our foreign policy ignorance and misunderstanding etched in printer's ink. Greenway, whose reportage and later columns were always essential for people in my business, reminds us of what we are missing in these days of dwindling American interest in foreign affairs and dwindling coverage. How many Americans even know where foreign is? The guy always had information, guts . . . and style . . . and now he has produced an essential running commentary of our time.”
– Seymour Hersh, author of The Dark Side of Camelot
“Greenway stands out among veteran correspondents for the range of his experience and his gifts as a raconteur. He is a splendid companion. Foreign Correspondent is packed with adventures and close calls. It is also an inquiry into why American power so often goes awry.”
– Joseph Lelyveld, author of Great Soul
“The central story of our time, David Greenway writes, is of ‘America stepping into other people's empires.’ Greenway spent a half-century covering that story with insight, panache, and no small amount of courage. In this vividly written memoir, ranging from Southeast Asia to the Middle East, he recounts his adventures and misadventures, while deftly portraying the cast of colorful characters—above all his fellow foreign correspondents—encountered along the way. The result is a riveting book.”
– Andrew J. Bacevich, professor of history and international relations, Boston University
“Greenway is one of America’s greatest reporters. Covering the wars in Vietnam, the Middle East, and the Balkans with courage and honesty, he set the standard which many others seek to meet. It is a gift that he has now written his long overdue memoir. Gripping, lucid, thoughtful, it will be a classic. It should encourage another generation to follow his lead—to go out and discover and tell the truth about difficult decisions in distant, dangerous places and honor the profession of journalism.”
– William Shawcross, author of Sideshow and Justice and the Enemy