The Secret Life of War

Journeys Through Modern Conflict

Publisher: Doubleday Canada
A provocative story of war that offers rare insight into the real effects of conflict on civilians, reporters, and societies themselves.

Once it was simple to write about war. States or ideologies clashed; battles were fought between national armies or movements. But war has changed.

War has become “privatized” by small armed groups, states have fragmented and the conventional arms of the West are found wanting against warlordism. Drawing on the author’s experiences as a foreign correspondent in the world’s most dangerous places, The Secret Life of War focuses on the human cost of war: to the combatants, to civilians and to the author, as one who bears witness.

Every encounter is arresting: a visit to the bombed and abandoned home of Mullah Omar; a deserted Al Qaeda camp where a plan to attack London is found; young bomb-throwers in Rafah refugee camp.

Unflinching and exquisitely written, The Secret Life of War goes beyond classic reportage: it is a deeply personal and defining vision of the inner, secret nature of modern war.

From the Hardcover edition.



This book was in gestation for four years, and is the culmination of almost a decade and a half of travelling to war zones. It was finally written over a period of two years. With so many books concentrating on the politics and blame and ideology of recent conflicts, I felt passionately that...
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“An awesome read. The best enquiry into killing and suffering I’ve encountered.”
— Tim Page, photographer (Tim Page’s Nam)

“A superb writer.”
— Neal Ascherson, New York Review of Books

From the Hardcover edition.