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The Kindness of Strangers: The Autobiography

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  447 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
Kate Adie has courageously reported from all over the world since she joined the BBC in 1969. These memoirs encompass her reporting from, inter alia, Northern Ireland, the Middle East, Tiananmen Square and, of course, the Gulf War of 1991. From the siege at the Iranian embassy which shot her to public acclaim, to an alarming encounter with a drunken Libyan army commander w ...more
Paperback, 438 pages
Published June 1st 2003 by Headline Book Publishing (first published September 2002)
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Lynn Matheson
Nov 02, 2014 Lynn Matheson rated it liked it
Shelves: autobiography
I have long been fascinated by war reporting and war correspondent has always been one of my secret fantasy jobs so I was excited to see this for a bargain price. It is out of date now but I felt sure it would be worth reading.

Less of an autobiography and more a series of anecdotes Kate's career is charted from early days on regional radio in the 60s to BBC TV's chief war correspondent with a ring side seat at such events as Tianemen Square and the Bosnian War. The early days of journalism sound
Jun 25, 2011 Rebecca rated it it was ok
Shelves: travel
I hate not finishing books I start. I don't know why that is. But that first title, God Is Not That Great, was just soooo boring, that when I came across a free book pile that had books that I was actually interested in reading, I had to swap it. So I swapped it for The Kindness of Strangers, which greatly disappointed me because it wasn't that much better! I think it was a little too out of date for me to relate to, which is why I didn't like it. It was about this journalist from the Beeb and h ...more
Patrick Neylan
Sep 18, 2011 Patrick Neylan rated it it was ok
Adie's autobiography is an interesting though unsurprising walk through her career, but she keeps her life at arm's length. She leaves you with the impression of a talented, focused journalist (which we knew already) with a sharp mind and rigorous principles.

So far, so admirable. But Kate as a person? We don't even get close. Relationships? She lets on that she has had some but nothing more. It's almost chilling the way we learn about how she met her real mother at last. The emotions all come ou
Jul 31, 2008 Charlie rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Kate Adie is a past master at telling a real story and making it not only real to the reader, but also very funny in parts.

This was the kind of book where every now and again a quick giggle is inevitable and the desire to read out snippets to those poor schmucks that share the same space with you is almost insurmountable.

It is a book of anecdotes, into which Kate's life seems to naturally crumble. She moves from local radio to national TV and flits between Lybia, the Gulf War, Bosnia, The Falkl
Paquita Lamacraft
Jun 30, 2009 Paquita Lamacraft rated it it was amazing
Kate Adie has a wit and an earthiness to her BBC reporting that appeals to many. Here she tells candidly the reality of BBC radio before political correctness, laws to protect everyone from everything and when you could have a load of fun with irreverent people and still get the job done.

Kate was at crisis points we can pinpoint as a war correspondent and gives us the other side of those events: the innocence and festivity that so often markes the beginning of the demonstrations that change his
Pete Hardy
Jul 30, 2015 Pete Hardy rated it it was amazing
This biog was a real surprise. Those whose exposure to Kate as a war reporter will be pleasantly surprised to find out that she not only has a great sense of humour, but a side that I would have imagined. It reveals the human and shockingly, that Kate was sometimes a very naughty girl!
Alison Brodie
Feb 21, 2017 Alison Brodie rated it it was amazing
A riveting book from British journalist, Kate Adie. You don't need to leave your armchair to be taken on a Hercules into battle, or hang out of a helicopter as an SAS soldier uses your shoulder to steady is machine gun. All very gripping, informative, absorbing but more than that, it is hilarious! I give this book 5-plus stars!
Nicholas Whyte
Dec 23, 2009 Nicholas Whyte rated it really liked it[return][return]This is a gratifyingly entertaining book, starting with a chapter on student visits to Germany and Sweden in the late 1960s, and then going through Adie's career as a BBC journalist who ended up specialising in conflict zones. The chapters on 1970s Northern Ireland and wartime Bosnia rang very true to me; the chapter on Libya was horrifying, especially given what has happened since; the chapter on Tian-an-Men Square moved me to tears. Adi ...more
Mar 07, 2016 Sarah rated it liked it
Didn't finish this mainly due to time constraints - it was from a library reading group set and needed to be returned.

It was oddly structured. The first chapter consists of a gentle moan at the change in culture at the BBC - from a slightly laissez-faire attitude when she first started working for the corporation to the current mode of professionalism and accountability. Post-Saville, one thinks 'Thank Goodness" and cringes slightly. If this were republished today, I'd certainly make sure this
Apr 24, 2009 Pesh rated it it was amazing
(June 8th)
if i had space for a sixth star, i would give it. being a journalist, looking into the life of one of the great ones inspired in me even more strength to "hack on". she was in a different line than i am, but all the same, the sincere way in which she tells her story teaches me alot about this addiction in which we put so much yet the world seems to think we get out so little. but it's an addiction--that's how they be. these are lessons i wont find in any self-help crap.

this, i
Lizbeth Johnson
Jun 08, 2014 Lizbeth Johnson rated it really liked it
i found this book to be a fascinating insight into what happened the other side of the camera of those famous news reports we can all remember from the 70s and 80tys such as The Iranian embassy seige,Tianenmen square and the conflict in Northern Ireland. Interesting too the moral dilemma she faced when stepping too close to human misery for the sake of getting the best news report on air, the fastest, before rival broadcasting comanys .This is brought home starkly when entering the house of a fr ...more
Aug 13, 2010 Bryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A well written, fascinating book, Kate Adie shares some of her life, and personal adventures and insights that came as part of her work as a news reporter. There's much humour and humanity in the writing, and it captures a period of journalistic, and world history. She's been caught up in some of the major events of the late twentieth century, and, no longer in front of the camera, is able to talk in a lot more detail and at a lot more length about personal experience of these.

It also made me th
Steve Wiggins
May 27, 2016 Steve Wiggins rated it really liked it
This is a witty, sophisticated, and heart-felt memoire of a journalist who may not have received as much attention in the United States as in the United Kingdom. A journalist before many women took to the occupation, she has lived a life of adventure and, in its own way, intrigue. What can you say about a life story? It is best to read it for yourself and learn what another's experience can teach us. Further comments may be found on my blog at: Sects and Violence in the Ancient World.
Louis Phillips
Dec 29, 2013 Louis Phillips rated it really liked it
its seldom seen...that English un-fussed calm in the face of danger...presented in such an un-assumed yet glorious in its understatement...we get loads of "Cardigan"" [esk] vainglorious...packaged ''rightly'' but few of those... who...gave it all... insisted...on doing the shot...more than once...[do you have a word for that.]...and...did the news...this woman lives and breathe her life...i hope she is catching up on the missed out sex...but
inevitably it was just an intuition
Dorinda Balchin
Aug 05, 2015 Dorinda Balchin rated it it was amazing
This is a book I have been intending to read for a long time, and I'm glad I eventually got round to it.
Ms Adie has given us a view from the other side of the camera where, although not sentimental, she reveals the emotional impact that reporting from a war zone can have on the reporter and her crew. Through a series of anecdotes, told with gentle humour, the reader is able to appreciate the hardships that reporters face in bringing the news to our cozy, sanitized living rooms.
For anyone intere
Dec 14, 2007 Misty rated it liked it
Ok, I know GoodReads says I'm reading Fiasco, but that's an intense book. I read it in fits and starts. In the meantime, I've read this little ditty, which I quite enjoyed. She is (was?) a reporter for the BBC and has unbelievable stories from Sarejevo, Tianenmen Square, Kuwait, etc. Her writing is a bit too informal at times (i.e., hard to follow), but it's a pleasurable read - It's a great airplane book.
 Northern Light
Jun 07, 2013 Northern Light rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Having lived through the time when it seemed Kate Adie was always at the scene of the latest war or disaster I really enjoyed reading this book from her viewpoint.

It read as if she was having a converstion with you alone and helped me understand what it was like for reporters in difficult places. Also the change in reporting methods as technology changed was quite an insight.

Would have been good to learn more about her personally but didn't detract from the book.
Mar 26, 2012 Eve rated it did not like it
A huge disappointment, I was really looking forward to reading this, however it read like a series of detached snapshots gathered together in a book. There was absolutely nothing of Adie's personality, thoughts, feelings or fears in the book, and it felt as though I had joined a conversation between two friends who were not going to fill me in on the details of their history. Oh well, definitely promised more than it delivered.
Jul 19, 2012 martha rated it really liked it
Recommended to martha by: Zowie
Shelves: nonfiction, 2004
[review from 2004] I absolutely adored this book, which shocked me 'cause I almost never read nonfiction. It's the autobiography of BBC reporter Kate Adie, alternately hilarious and fascinating. It covers her experiences in Northern Ireland, Tiananmen Square, Bosnia, Iraq and all over the rest of the world, as well as her roots reporting in England. A really enjoyable read and it made me want her job very badly. Highly recommended.
Apr 12, 2014 Emily rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book - to the point that it made me laugh out loud several times on public transport. Kate Adie is a brilliant writer & it was fascinating to read about her life in her own words. What a wonderful person.

The only downside being that I tended to fall asleep while reading it - I like to think it's because the book helped me to relax though rather than any negative connotations.

Definitely worth a read!
Glenn Myers

Didn't finish this book because it was a bit vebose and cold and I got annoyed by Kate Adie using Initial Capitals By Way of Expressing Humour. She's surely a fine journalist who has lived a fascinating life. But she's coy about revealing anything of herself, like the photographer who refuses to stand in front of the lens. My wife loved it but What Kate Did Next wasn't quite enough to get me to turn the pages. So many books, you can't hang around.
Shirley Francis
Sep 07, 2014 Shirley Francis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There was times that I felt as though I was reading some thrilling adventure story, but this wasn't fiction it was real. The Tiananmen square protest was a fascinating part, I felt as though I was living every moment with her, and the determination of making sure that her report was heard by the rest of the world.
Kate Adie's determination and strength of character shines through every page of this book.
Patrick Carroll
Feb 03, 2013 Patrick Carroll rated it really liked it
Picked this out of the "exchange" shelf at work and although the media world has changed since Kate joined it I found her down to earth approach to reporting interesting. Her career did have a certain randomness about its development but then the interesting ones tend to have that. I have a fond spot for her ever since the joke that a war couldn't start until she'd turned up!
Sep 05, 2007 Sissi rated it it was ok
I am not saying that Kate isn't interesting, because many of the things she has done, places she has been, we can only dream of. But I just found her writing to be on the slow and uninspiring side of things for me. That was a surprise, but there you are. Still worth a read, but not to be repeated for me.
Aug 23, 2010 Fiona rated it really liked it
I don't normally like biographies, but read this as part of mu on-line book group. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was left with an overriding respect for Kate Adie and the way she has lived her life. A unique and brave woman with great tales to tell from the front lines (literally) of recent history.
Dec 27, 2007 Lynda rated it really liked it
A very interesting insight on several levels: Kate Adie's early life, the running of the BBC, life in early local radio as well as both sides (funny and scary)of being a correspondent for television. It did get bogged down occasionally with who-said/did-what, so some of the descriptions were a bit lengthy, but I thoroughly enjoyed the read.
Sep 03, 2014 Patricia rated it liked it
I struggled a little with this book and had a break of several weeks in the middle of it. Unheard of for me. Finally skipped a few pages at the end to try and finish it quickly. It's not sounding good, is it? To be fair there were some brilliant insights and it did make me laugh out loud, on the whole too long and wordy. What you expect from a journalist no doubt! Sorry Kate. Stick to the TV.
Jun 02, 2015 Shelly rated it did not like it
Really disappointed with this autobiography, there's very little about Kate Adie as a person, or about how she actually feels in the circumstances of her job, there's a couple a glimmers of an insight but the rest is more a soulless list of events that left me cold. If anyone's looking for a great book by another BBC war reporter then anything by John Simpson is amazing.
Des Small
Jan 21, 2014 Des Small rated it liked it
Gossipy oral history of the BBC, with plenty of attention for her start in local radio and her stint as royal correspondent (the royals come off as dull as paint, but madder); emphasizes the importance of poorly-informed reporters reporting breathlessly in battle-armour from next to piles of rubble in warzones.
Sarah Adamson
Nov 21, 2013 Sarah Adamson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
This is an excellent autobiography of a BBC (British) journalist. Her tales from when she was in the right place to get a good story and when she was in the wrong place to get a tragic story. This book is very easy to read and full of major events in recent history.
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