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The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero & Myth-maker from the Crimea to Kosovo
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The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero & Myth-maker from the Crimea to Kosovo

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  142 ratings  ·  13 reviews
"The most comprehensive j'accuse of journalism as propaganda in the English language... Ought to be read by every young reporter and by those who retain pride in our craft of truth-telling, not matter how unpopular or unpalatable the truth." -- John Pilger, from the Preface to the new edition"The first casualty when war comes, is truth," said American Senator Hiram Johnson ...more
Paperback, 592 pages
Published May 1st 2002 by Johns Hopkins University Press (first published January 1975)
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Erik Graff
May 21, 2013 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: history
Ponderous and with extraordinarily small print, I almost didn't read this one, but having only it to hand upon going to bed I was sucked in, finishing the thing in a couple of days.

Basically, this is an account of the work of war correspondents. The wars treated include the Crimea, the Boer, WWI, the Russian revolution, the invasions of the U.S.S.R., the Spanish Civil War, WWII, Korea, Algeria and Vietnam during the involvement of the U.S.A. Most of the correspondents discussed wrote or broadcas
Simon Wood

"The first casualty when war comes, is truth"
- Senator Hiram Johnson, 1917.

Phillip Knightley is a fine journalist with a long career of first class investigative reporting, as well as a number of fine books under his belt including "The Second Oldest Professtion: Spies and Spying in the Twentieth Century" and his biography "A Hack's Progress". In "The First Casualty" (originally published in 1975, but updated in 2000 and 2003) he casts his eye upon his own profession and
Knightley traces the history of the war correspondent from its first celebrated individual, William Howard Russell, who termed himself "the father of a luckless tribe". Prior to the Crimea War, newspapers had relied on foreign coverage or reports from junior officers with no nose for news. The popular enthusiasm for the Crimean War finally led the 'Times' to abandon this trend and despatch Russell in Feb 1854 and this stocky Irishman would greatly influence the conduct of the war. The British ar ...more
Michael Gerald Dealino
Do not always believe the things that you see and hear on the TV, radio, print, and in the Internet.

It's not always what you see is what you get.
Pascal Lapointe
Un livre des années 1970, mais plus d'actualité que jamais, à l'heure de nos interrogations sur la couverture de la guerre en Irak (en fait, la version que je viens de lire date des années 1970, mais je viens d'apprendre qu'une réédition, incluant la guerre en Irak, est récemment publiée). Ça commence avec les tout premiers correspondants de guerre, au milieu du 19e siècle, et ça va jusqu'à la guerre du Vietnam: l'auteur passe en revue des générations de manipulations de l'information, de censur ...more
Christopher Saunders
Knightley provides a polemical history of war correspondents, analyzing their general failure to provide accurate reporting. In broad strokes it's an effective argument, showing how easily journalists are influenced by government pressure and personal beliefs. But Knightley is extremely inconsistent in his criticisms. He excoriates anti-Bolshevik reporters during the Russian Revolution but upholds John Reed as a paragon of integrity (!). He similarly praises Herbert Matthews' pro-Fascist writing ...more
Gordon Howard
I was going to say this book, written in 1975, is out of date, but I see that the author published an updated version more recently. Nonetheless, the book was too far into the weeds, and skimmed too much material.
Oct 23, 2007 jeano rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: chapter readers and historians
organized chronologically with each chapter devoted to a war (and not limited to the wars that america was involved in), the book is a compendium of the courageous, lazy, romanticizing war correspondents and the plotting military and conspirational government forces that met them, from the 1800s til Iraq. its best feature is the rampant use of punctuating, romping, outrageous, hilarious, or merely cold and sinister quotes from everyone. a little difficult to make it straight through as it seems ...more
Ava Semerau
I've just started this book and frankly, had to put it down because it was so personally upsetting as a journalist. I am now reading it in small pieces, digesting what I've read and learned, and then going back to it. Powerful. Provoking and deeply disturbing.
I read this book a while ago and it set me on the road to becoming a journalist, a road, I might add, that I have long-since turned off. Nevertheless, this is first rate stuff from the first man to interview Phiby.
Dull reading at first, but gave an impressive feeling for the drudgery, callousness, and injustices of war. I read it in conjunction with The Naked and the Dead, Hiroshima, and For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Truth is the first casualty of war. Want to learn a bit about world history, wars of consequence and war reporting…read this book.

Cody VC
Surprisingly even-handed and very engaging; a real shame it ends in the 1970s.
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Phillip Knightley was a special correspondent for The Sunday Times for 20 years (1965-85) and one of the leaders of its Insight investigative team. He was twice named Journalist of the Year (1980 and 1988) in the British Press Awards. He and John Pilger are the only journalists ever to have won it twice.

He was also Granada Reporter of the Year (1980), Colour Magazine Writer of the Year (1982), hol
More about Phillip Knightley...
The Master Spy: The Story of Kim Philby Australia: A Biography of a Nation The Second Oldest Profession: Spies and Spying in the Twentieth Century The Philby Conspiracy The Secret Lives Of Lawrence Of Arabia

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“I love the infantry because they are the underdogs. They are the mud-rain-frost-and-wind boys. They have no comforts, and they even learn to live without the necessities. And in the end they are the guys that wars can’t be won without.”60” 0 likes
“all studies of propaganda tell what a powerful weapon it is; that since armies fight as people think, it is essential to control that thought. This means some form of managing the news, and the only question is the degree to which the news should be managed openly and the degree to which it should be managed subtly.” 0 likes
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