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Season of Betrayal Paperback – October 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Books; Reprint edition (October 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 015603395X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156033954
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,111,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lara McCauley, hopeful but, as she notes, "no longer naïve" at 29, follows her war correspondent husband, Mac, to Beirut in 1983, when fault lines of international terrorism (then in its embryonic stages) ran through the city just as surely as the Green Line that separated Lebanon's warring factions. Lara, curious and loving, has little in common with seasoned journalist Mac, who has revealed himself over the years of their relationship as a selfish, possessive and abusive bully. When Mac begins an affair with his Lebanese translator, Lara finds a friend in another outsider: the mysterious Thomas Warkowski, a freelance journalist who's rumored to be a spy, and thought to be gay. With her marriage unraveling, and the city's mounting body count dismissed internationally as "Beirut-bang-bang," Lara beds Thomas with far-reaching and catastrophic consequences. Setting the story against the backdrop of a society cruelly tearing itself apart (and punctuating it with the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks at Beirut International Airport), debut novelist Robertson draws a powerful story out of Lara's first-person narration. The author solidly dramatizes the ironies and ambiguities, moral and otherwise, of Lara's desperate encounters. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

PRAISE FOR SEASON OF BETRAYAL

"Ms. Robertson writes with a crisp, clear, tough voice reminiscent of Joan Didion's journalism. Her portrait of Beirut--at once vivid and meticulous--displays a reporter's gift for detail." --The Wall Street Journal

"Season of Betrayal is a captivating journey into war-torn Beirut and the equally dangerous front lines of human relationships. Margaret Lowrie Robertson brings her keen reporter's eye to this evocative and moving story of love, loss, and of course betrayal." —Anderson Cooper

Customer Reviews

Highly relevant to today's issues.
Hetty H. Ombaka
I finished reading it a few weeks ago and it still haunts me.
izea
This is an incredibly well written novel.
lek

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. Flock on January 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Whether you like fiction or non-fiction, "Season of Betrayal" will draw you in. Margaret Lowrie Robertson writes a compelling tale of human drama, intrigue and relationships but wraps it in a slice of Beirut that historians and journalists would be proud of. She demonstrates a familiarity with the city and subject that could only come from first hand experience. The words on the tongues of the denizens of the post-Marine-Barracks-Bombing Beirut ring oh so genuine. Her style is spare yet she communicates so much with so few words...not surprising given her experience as a TV Journalist. "Season of Betrayal" delivers a contex and understanding of the Mideast that you don't realize you've gotten because the story keeps the pages turning so fast. This is a great one.
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Format: Paperback
In the throes of civil war, 1983 Beirut is a hotbed of warring factions and competing interests, the Americans about to engage in a peacekeeping mission in a place that has known no peace. Journalists gather at common watering holes, in this case The Commodore Hotel, sharing the tales of their wanderings over the globe reporting world events and cheering one another after brutal days best faced in the oblivion of drink. New arrivals, Americans Barrett McCauley and his wife, Lara, join this eclectic band of brothers, most of them, like Mac, addicted to the danger and an urgency to tell a story that can only be written by observers of the daily carnage. At the Commodore, the unofficial headquarters of the Beirut press corps, Lara makes friends with Thomas, a bit of an outcast now that the McCauley's have arrived.

An outsider herself, nothing more than Mac's wife, Lara is attracted to Thomas' sensitivity: "Fluid in the languages and cultures of other lands, he was at home in none."
Clearly Mac is a bully, a fact Lara either ignores or denies, struggling to map out a small territory in a war zone that terrifies her with its recurring carnage and mix of Syrians, Lebanese, Israeli's, Americans, Palestinians, Maronite Christians vs. Druze, Hezbollah, CIA, an ever-changing cast as volatile as the weapons that inundate the city. Her naiveté is stunning and dangerous, inciting Mac's jealousy and brutality, blundering through tradition in her need to explain the inexplicable: "There was no peace. There was no quiet. This was Beirut." Unlike her husband, ever in a hyper-vigilant state much like Frances in Hilary Mantel's Eight Months on Ghazzah Street, Lara clings to Thomas for comfort, careless assumptions fueling her rationalization of the choices she makes.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. E. Wood on May 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
Season of Betrayal is narrated by Larissa "Lara" McCauley looking back twenty years earlier to 1983 when she and her journalist husband (Mac) lived in Beirut. Her first introduction to the country was witnessing the slaying of a family removed from their vehicle at a check point. During her visit, Beirut continued to be filled with a constant barrage of gun fire and bombings that left her frazzled.

One of the first people Lara met was Thomas, who she describes as "Mac's mirror opposite". Thomas was thirty five, easy to talk too, willing to share his experience, and constantly trying to make her feel at ease while Mac would ridicule her "lack of knowledge" and naiveté. From the beginning it is easy to like Thomas and dislike Mac. Thomas was the good friend and potential lover while Mac was portrayed as the evil husband who cheated on his wife, wouldn't comfort her fears and deserted her in a foreign and volatile land for days at a time. She said that Mac "thrived on the volcanic atmosphere" of Beirut but Mac was just as volcanic as the locale. Lara would often rationalize that she was getting off easy compared to the people of Beirut.

Season of Betrayal is an appropriate title. There was more betrayal within the pages than I expected; than the obvious and it was a long season. This is my first novel by journalist and author Margaret Lowrie Robertson. This book is more than a story about the infidelities and woes of a married couple (although their acts have a great impact on the world they inhabit). Robertson has painted an interesting character study surrounded by atmosphere of foreign journalism, as well as giving Beirut and its people a face, albeit distant. Throughout she has the reader wondering how they would react under similar circumstances. She is an interesting story teller and I highly recommend reading Season of Betrayal. Reviewed by M. E. Wood.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John DeDakis on November 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Margaret Lowrie Robertson has written a compelling story with profound psychological insights into a crumbling society and an unraveling relationship.

John DeDakis

CNN Senior Copy Editor, "The Situation Room"

Author, FAST TRACK
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By izea on August 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A rare masterpiece. While learning a lot about the Lebanese war 1983, one is confronted in brutal honesty with the unfathomable depth of the human ego, its resulting emotions and actions, and the far-reaching and mostly unforeseeable consequences thereof. This story shook me to the core of my being. I finished reading it a few weeks ago and it still haunts me.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Hetty H. Ombaka on January 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A wonderful glimpse into war reporting and the effects it has on the lives of the journalists in the trenches. Highly relevant to today's issues. Also, reminded me of Joan Didion's work. Looking forward to seeing what Robertson turns her talents to next.
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More About the Author

Margaret Lowrie Robertson was an International Correspondent in CNN's London Bureau from 1993 to 2002, covering British news and politics and other European stories. During the first Gulf War in 1991, she was one of the first female reporters to broadcast live from inside Iraq during the Allied bombing campaign. From 1989 to 1993, she was a reporter for CNN based in Chicago. Earlier in her career, she covered the Middle East for CBS News, based in Cairo. Before shifting to TV, she freelanced for CBS Radio News from Beirut, for National Public Radio from Poland and contributed stories to The New York Times from Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Robertson is a graduate of Boston University and began her career as a copyboy at the New York Times. She was born in Washington, DC and raised in Virginia. She is married to CNN Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson, widely known for his war reporting from around conflict zones around the world. They have two children and live in London. Season of Betrayal is her first book.

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