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Season of Betrayal 1st Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0156033954
ISBN-10: 015603395X
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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
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Books; 1 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: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,059,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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This book was my companion while I traveled through France and as busy as I was, it means something that I thought about it a lot while traveling. It captured my attention from the very beginning, reading like a mixture of non-fiction and fiction. I am immensely impressed with the factual historical background in this book and the realism about being a foreign correspondent, not surprising considering the author's former profession. Her ability to write provide detailed historical information without becoming long-winded or boring is impressive, but even more so in that she weaves in characters. Her characters are complex. No one is simply good or bad; they are multifaceted and life-like. I strongly encourage this book.
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I am not good at book reviews, but if you are interested in the conflicts of the Middle East, then you will love this book. It gives you an insider view as it is written in the voice of the wife of a journalist, who is American. I enjoy reading a book that has substance and this one is excellent. It is fiction but very close to the truth of life in Beirut in 1983.
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This book held my interest from the beginning to the end. Ms. Robinson paints a portrait of a person you can really care about, caught up in her role as the wife of a journalist in a tinderbox of middle-eastern and personal politics. Season of Betrayal is as relevant today as the year it was written.
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My son, a SEAL, survived the blast by choosing his bunk in the SEAL bunker on Green Beach over a hot breakfast at the BLT on return from the nights patrol (as he described in WARRIOR SOUL). And my brother, then a reporter for THE MILWAUKEE JOURNAL shared the society of Mrs. ROBERTSON's journalists. So I followed Beirut goings on at the time. But I didn't understand.
Now, thanks to Mrs. ROBERTSON's gift of the power of story, I do. Thank you Margaret.
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Three starts for the quality of the writing. This is more a history of the war in Lebanon; a war we got into, that should have been a warning to keep our nose out of the middle east, but that aside...it is a vivid and certainly well-written history of that tragic time. However, and for me, it is a huge however, there was hardly anyone in this book I liked. The main character, Laura, married to a really lousy man, who treats her like his real enemy, is afraid of everything. Granted, there is a lot in Beirut to be afraid of, but her fear began to annoy me. The fact she put up with such horrible treatment from her husband, was even worse than her fear. She really spoiled the story for me. I did finish the book, but it was only the writing of the war story that kept me going. If Laura had the guts to leave her horrifyingly abusive husband, I would have "enjoyed" the book more. It's a good story of a terrible time in a sad country. Unfortunately, the main characters in the story, were not likable at all. I enjoyed the relationship of the journalists who really kept me interested in their goings on.
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