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War Junkie: One Man's Addiction to the Worst Places on Earth Paperback – June 1, 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"'Burns with emotional honesty...Powerful and disturbing'" The List "'Brutally honest'" The Mirror "'Action-packed'" Daily Express "'The most authentic literary recreation of the hollow terror, confusion and soul-crushing cacophony of battle I have read in decades'" Evening Standard

From the Inside Flap

An adrenalin-fuelled, white-knuckle ride through the worst places on earth.

As a TV cameraman, Jon Steele filmed in most of the military hot-spots of the world -- Georgia, Moscow, Rwanda, Zaire, and Bosnia where he finally realized he had seen and filmed too many horrific things -- had in fact, been seconds from death himself. He spiralled out of control, deep into emotional meltdown.

His gripping story, packed with action, unexpected humour and emotional honesty, will challenge our assumptions about war, and the human capacity to inflict and endure suffering.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Publishers (June 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552149845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552149846
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,131,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on June 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
War Junkie is not for the sqeamish. Those who like their war stories as facts and figures will find none of that here. Those who want to FEEL war, in your face so close you can taste it, need to read this book. Jon Steele pulls the reader into a terrifying world where you FEEL the bullets race by your head. More than that he never lets us forget war casts its worst curse on the innocent and the helpless. The tales of the thousands of nameless people or the 'shadows' as Jon Steele describes them, the innocents he watched suffer and die, are riviting and painful. I read this book and found my hands shaking at the end of it.
Jon Steele's style is not fot the acedemic or those who like their war neat. It races across the page like a machine gun. It hits you between the eyes the same way. Read this book and you will feel as if you were there.
War Junkie also gives an insight into the terrible price paid by the frontline journalists who get in the middle of the action. Jon Steele carries the scars of battle in his soul. For me, there was an awful moment reading War Junkie when in the last chapters Jon Steele talks about the moment he went over the edge and lost his mind from the endless pictures he had filmed. His companion in that chapter was a British TV reporter named Terry Llyod. The story involves a young girl shot down by a sniper in Sarajevo in front of Jon Steele's camera. It was a devastating story. But at the same time I finished reading this chapter, I turned on my TV to CNN. There was a story that the same Terry Lloyd I was reading about, was killed in Southern Iraq. It only added to the sadness of this incredible book.
This book reads like an action adventure story but don't be fooled. It is literatue disguised as adventure. It is literature that will break your heart.
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By A Customer on July 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
I am living in Jerusalem and I have lived with war for the last three years. It is impossible to describe the fear and pain all of us, Jews and Palestinians, suffer with in these terrible times. I never thought words could express the feelings, till I read War Junkie. The minute I started it I could not put it down, I was glued to the book. Jon Steele has put the horror and true reality of war on 440 pages for the world to read and experience for themsleves. This book breathes with tension. He describes perfectly the terror of war. I know, I live through it in my world. It made me realise what cameramen go through behind the camera, and all the emotions they have to deal with, I felt it was so real that I lived through every word and every event of the story.. But what amazed me too, that it was funny in parts, heartbreaking in other bits and horrifying as well. I cant believe how we take things for granted, even the pictures we see on TV, if we dont like them we turn the other way, but someone like Jon Steele had to live with them and deal with all those emotions and guilt. I am glad he allowed us to share what happened to him, in a book that is an excellent read, thrilling and poetic at times... I was able to live and see what happened through his words.
If you want the truth of war, read War Junkie. You will never look at TV news the same again.
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Really interesting look inside the mind of a person who makes a living capturing the worst atrocities you can imagine. There was a LOT of the book dedicated to Yeltsin and Russia, and Mr. Steele obviously spent a great deal of time covering those uprisings as the USSR splintered. I felt the other locations were more of an interesting read. After the book, it's truly hard to imagine what these people go through to show us what's happening in the world, and what they go through to 'cover' it, rather than involve themselves in it.
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Format: Paperback
If you're looking for a book that gets straight to the action then this is the one you should read - despite the title that might make you think twice. Rest assured, this ain't one of those egotistical yarns about how he kept his cool while all about were losing theirs. Jon Steele isn't ashamed to let you know when his "fear monster" gets the better of the adrenaline rush. Leaving out the standard "How-I-ended-up-as-a-TV-cameraman" bio stuff, this book instead grabs you by the neck and takes you along as the author travels from one war zone to another. Although Steele chooses to cover only one year of his life (Sep 1993 - Sep 1994), by the end of it you soon realise why. So many things happen in that time (Georgia, Yeltsin, Rwanda) you wonder how he managed to hold himself together as long as he did. It gives a completely different view of the rise of Yeltsin than was feed to us at the time. And, the horrors of Rwanda are so graphically captured that the word-pictures remain seared into the mind, co-incidentally when news of the Congo re-igniting are coming through on the wires. The only nagging doubt, I must admit to having, is whether Steele actually wrote all the words. After all, if he is so good at telling the story, how come he remained behind the camera and not in front of it?
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By A Customer on December 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
I have just finished reading War Junkie and jumped imediately onto amazon.com to see what others thought of this wholly amazing book. I am greatly disappointed with the criminally few reviews there are on here. I am a great supporter of personal opinions, but saddened that some of you just didn't get the point. This book was never meant to be a rendition of facts, or a well-researched history. There is no point moaning that it's a misrepresentation of Rwanda, or that outside the gory, war chapters Jon Steele's life is dull.
Don't you understand? This book is the story of life as Jon Steele saw it. When we read we see war through his eyes. We see it from his perspective. Whether everything he thinks and feels about the Hutu's is 100% factually correct is not what is important here. This is a story of his own personal experience and how his emotionally driven and sometimes irrational feelings affected him. It is vivedly written from his own individual perspective. The book does not pretend to be a dry rendition of the facts of a conflict. All it aspires to be is one man's story. It achieves this magnificently.
This book came into my house on Christmas day. For the past few days I have been seeing the world through Jon's eyes. The writing is fast-paced and colourful. Images are sharp, clear and perfectly in focus. Jon Steele doesn't tell, he shows. In graphic detail he paints a movie in our minds. His horror and denial and pain leaps up off of the pages and into the readers soul. We fear for him, laugh with him and cry with him.
Jon Steele is a complicated man from a dark past that is alluded to spectacularly throughout the book. It is this way that we understand and sympathise with his struggles with his internal demons.
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