Katie's Reviews > In the Hot Zone: One Man, One Year, Twenty Wars

In the Hot Zone by Kevin Sites
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Aug 30, 2009

liked it

I really enjoyed the idea behind this book, but it's not without its problems. Sites' work brings to light many other "hot zones" throughout the world that do not receive the same press as places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Ultimately, he promotes an anti-war message by showing the pain and suffering war brings upon people. While I commend his approach, I falls short of executing it. His writing is very scattered and lacks a real flow. Granted, he began this project as a travel blog, so perhaps it worked better in that format than a series of subtitled entries thrown into one book. Additionally, while Sites attempts to bring to highlight lesser-known conflicts, he does not give equal attention to all of the conflicts he covers. His chapter on South America is extremely short and he discusses Haiti in less than 3 pages. Meanwhile, he makes multiple trips to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon. Clearly, Sites wants to focus on certain conflicts more than others (as do the media networks he criticizes). However, my biggest problem with Sites is his attempt to evoke emotion and sympathy from his readers while at the same time attempting to remain an unbiased journalist. For example, he wants us to feel the pain of land mine victims in order to see the devastating (and lasting) effects of war. But, when he comes upon a bombed out building and starts taking pictures of people in their grief and panic rather then help them; he wants us to understand that he's just doing his job. The one time he actually helps carry a injured woman to medical assistance, he's uncomfortable that he's seen doing this because journalists are not supposed to perform such acts. His writing is fairly emotionless, except for the view times he reflects on his own life, and this distracts from his overall goal to put a human face on war.

Ultimately, Sites goals seem to run counter to each other. He wants to be a journalist and remain unbiased, but the story he attempts to tell cannot be told from an unbiased point of view. Conveying pain and suffering involves emotion, not objectivity.

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read In the Hot Zone.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.