“The appeal of Cockburn as a war correspondent is multifaceted. Primarily based in the Middle East, he is a student of the region. To understand what is happening in, say, Iraq, he acquaints himself with not just Iraqi history but with the greater political landscapes of Turkey, Syria, Jordan, the Levant. When he makes it to his zone of coverage — not always the easiest thing — he knocks around, visiting the neighbors, observing, conversing, living rough. He hops a battered Russian helicopter to illegally cross the Amu Darya — Cockburn’s many years in the field have enabled him to cultivate contacts who can facilitate such shenanigans — alighting in North Alliance-controlled territory, where “I spent the next few moths in the impoverished village of Jabal Saraj.” He is an adept at following the twists and turns of events, and brings a Sun Tzu-like appreciation to the nit and grit of fighting.”

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