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On All Fronts: The Education of a Journalist

4.54  ·  Rating details ·  489 ratings  ·  59 reviews
"On All Fronts takes the reader on a riveting journey of storytelling. . . From Russia to China to Syria, [she] navigate[s] the most intense of human experiences while finding the tools to stay emotional."--Lynsey Addario, author of It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War

The recipient of multiple Peabody and Murrow awards, Clarissa Ward is a world-renowned co
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 8th 2020 by Penguin Press
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Dec 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
War is hell for those who fight and definitely for civilian populations caught in the crosshairs. War correspondents, who are embedded with troops, have their own versions of hell, which Clarissa Ward writes about in her autobiography and chronicle of what it is like to be a broadcast journalist reporting from the world’s nastiest streets. If you think of any wars, conflicts, natural disasters that have occurred over the past 19 years, Clarissa Ward has been there to report on them: in parts of ...more
Amy Kenney
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Not so long ago, I heard part of an interview with Clarissa Ward on NPR, promoting this book. What caught me was the last bit of it. At the end of the interview, Clarissa mentioned the difference she felt in reporting the news from areas of the world that are war-torn or ravaged by a natural disaster now that she has two young children. The depth of the suffering of children had been difficult before she became a mother, was more difficult when she had her first child and was almost unbearable a ...more
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’m starting my first post-grad job at CNN’s D.C. bureau in less than a month. While prepping to move to the District I have experienced plenty of first-job jitters and more than a few moments of imposter syndrome. However, reading this book has reminded me why I want to pursue journalism, and has imbued me with a newfound sense of passion and confidence in my decision to do so.
Lindsey Uniat
Nov 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating and riveting account of Clarissa Ward’s life and work. I couldn’t put this book down! I really liked how the narrative mixed her personal experiences in the Middle East with analysis of the crises taking place there. I was also wowed by what she and her producers had to do behind-the-scenes to report from some of the most dangerous places in the world, such as having smugglers bring them from Turkey into rebel-held Syria or coordinating clandestine meetings with the Taliban.
Feb 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
With an almost reckless disregard for her personal safety, Clarissa Ward has been covering news stories in dangerous places since 2003. At times harrowing, at times touching, her memoir of her life in journalism is a gripping and unforgettable read.
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Clarissa Ward’s “On All Fronts” is a fantastic read.. It's a riveting personal account of what it's actually like covering war. You get an understanding of the day- to-day insanity of real bullet-flying, car-bombing, sleep and eat on the run, friends dying in front of you, journalism. But her voice is not the usual swashbuckled macho I read from her fellows. Her storytelling is from the bone, it's an emotional experience as well. War zones are harsh, and the best and worst of humanity are consta ...more
Paws with a Book
Mar 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-paws
CNN’s Chief International Correspondent, Clarissa Ward, shares her experiences as a war correspondent living and travelling in some incredibly dangerous places.

Ward’s memoir is chronological...from her desire to be a journalist, to her very recent travels including reporting on the eviction of Rohingya from Myanmar.

Ward is an accomplished journalist, and her book is written in a very journalistic way...she very eloquently describes the situations she was in, and the context of them. She creates
Renjia Huang
Jan 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The chapters about reporting in Syria were the highlight of the book. Reading them made me realize how headlines often failed to capture the complexity of the situation in the field.
This book sends a reminder that it’s important to have empathy for others who are different from us, to keep urging those in power to do more to protect the powerless, and to keep working hard with hope when the reality suggests otherwise at the moment.
Rachel Hagan
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
CNN’s chief international correspondent recounts her life in journalism in this insightful memoir. It’s a love letter to journalism and Syria, but we also get taken to Baghdad, Moscow, Beirut, Beijing, Greenland, Myanmar and many other locations throughout her unbelievable career. Clarissa is funny and thoughtful, she writes with eloquence and breeziness – I am in awe.
Excellent read - a gripping ride along with a world class journalist / war correspondent. Clarissa is an amazing storyteller. Thank you!
Sep 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: on-the-shelf
News correspondents' bios have easily become my most favourite genre, particularly considering the state of the world press and journalism.

This book being a perfect example of why I love reading about journos lives. It's a beautiful, harsh, inspiring read about the perseverance it takes to investigate and cover the history defining happenings around the world.
Jack Hicks
Nov 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
On All Fronts, The Education of a Journalist, Clarissa Ward, 2020
You have probably seen Clarissa Ward covering the war zones of the Middle East on various segments of CBS Sixty Minutes or on CNN. Watching her reporting I had an immediate admiration for her courage in reporting from such fraught and dangerous situations but also for her passion to communicate the tragic suffering of the people caught up in these horrific conflicts. What gives this autobiography such an powerful emotional impact i
Mar 16, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021-reads
I recently saw an interview with this author on television, so thought I'd try this book. It is her own story of how she decided to become a journalist, and of her experiences over the years working as a correspondent from the Middle East.

One of the things that I thought was interesting was that she did not originally set out to be a journalist at all - it was only after 9/11 when she was moved to find out how we got to a place where this could happen. From humble beginnings working for Fox News
Doris Gourbere
Mar 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: war-war-war
this is such an important book and i say this, not because it touches most importantly on war, conflicts, geopolitics, ... but because it touches on everything: work, personal relationships, family, mental health, motherhood, etc.. the stories at the forefront of this book are monumental and they remind us, once again, that we can never turn a blind eye to human suffering and injustice. they are personal and they highlight the pain and the burden of war and how it cruelly shapes people’s lives. ...more
Sep 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a sincere and touching, yet humorous memoir by the Chief International Correspondent at CNN. Clarissa Ward has reported from some of the world's most dangerous zones and delivers a tale that will make readers laugh and cry.

In her quest to illuminate some of the world's most violent conflicts, she uncovers some of the best and the worst aspects of humanity and in the process shares her motivations and hopes for her work. Because of her willingness to reveal so much about herself, and thi
Angela Campbell
Feb 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
The sub title “The Education of a Journalist” encapsulates the story of Clarissa Ward, a renowned international correspondent who can often be seen today reporting on CNN. Ward has had an amazing life beginning with a privileged but unconventional childhood which was probably the impetus for an adaptable, self-reliant and opinionated adult.
Ward has spent periods in a dizzying number of war fronts and her book traverses time in Syria, Beirut, Baghdad, Georgia, and Afghanistan to name a few. She h
Oct 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
I ordered this book from the library after hearing part of an NPR interview with Clarissa Ward, an international correspondent for CNN. I wondered what her experiences had been and in listening to her I was immediately struck by her professionalism, passion and confidence. This memoir is a searing and heartfelt telling of her life as she tells the stories of others. She carefully juxtaposes her education of the world with those whose stories she is covering. She writes of the fine line between w ...more
Monika Zaicevaite
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
For many years I have watched Clarissa on the news and have always wondered who is this young, incredibly brave and sharp woman is. In her book "On all fronts" Clarissa brings us behind the scenes. She tells stories about people who do not make the headlines, whose lives got lost in the wars and fights over power. Her personal and almost intimate connection with Syria is heartbreaking and moving. This book is also a story about a journalist that is especially relevant at today's news environment ...more
Holly Hatfield
Jan 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. It was humbling to read about all her dangerous journalistic adventures and not feel a tinge of guilt about how disengaged I am in America. I wondered to myself throughout the book what empowers a woman to feel so independent and fearless that she puts herself in harms way over and over again to bring a tragic story to life in her copy and later in her live broadcasts. I also learned of her addiction to adrenalin rushes during extreme danger and the difficulty of decompressi ...more
Jan 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A great informative and intimate memoir from one of the best war zone TV reporters. I am a big fan of Clarissa Ward for her well informed and empathetic reporting. I often wondered about her safety and her drive to reach the most perilous areas of any conflict. I learned that my concerns are more than justified; but it became clear that this not driven by bravado and outdoing other reporters, but by a genuine need to educate the world and give the innocent victims a voice. Her chapters on the Sy ...more
Apr 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
the best book i have read so far.
of course i liked Lyndsey Addario's book too.
but this one, is whoa.....
it's way beyond, it's,... how to explain,
like you are yourself a journalist and experience everything
what in the book says.
the feel of the excitment,
the fear,
the sadness,
the joy... everything.
to be a war correspondent/journalist in all the fronts,
gotta say it ain't an easy job.
it's a tough one,
because you see everything that it's not "explicit".
and go through many things, etc....
life ain'
John Tyson
Sep 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I don’t often read memoirs but I was drawn to this one based on an article I read about the author’s career.

The book was super easy to read and provided a great account of mid-2010s Syria, late-2000s Iraq, and a few other international conflict zones. It led me to brush up on my international politics and appreciate more deeply the life and lifestyle of a war reporter. Fascinating stuff.

Four stars instead of five only because there were times when it felt a little repetitive, but overall great r
Mar 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I am so moved by Clarissa Ward's exposition of what happened in Syria. She "gets" Muslims. She "gets" Islam. She sees the tragedy of chaos and destruction to families and culture and infrastructure as exacerbated by uncomprehending, mystified, aimless, western policy makers who operate on Islamophobia intersecting with the arms industry and geo-political games. Assad is a monster. The world let him get away with it. My heart goes to the Syrians. If only the diplomats would hear and understand an ...more
Apr 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Reading this brought back feelings of when I learned more about the life of Hunter S. Thompson. Imagining how stressful and maddening I would find it to be emotionally close to someone like this, and that I'm profoundly grateful that they exist - a diamond in the rough of humanity. Audiobooks voiced by the author can be a gamble. It's always nice to get the author's inflection on what they have created but often showcases they are professional writers and not professional speakers. Being a news ...more
Apr 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I found all aspects of her story interesting. She had an unconventional upbringing, and she admits she was privileged. Her ability to speak many languages opened doors for her. This book introduced me to what it takes to cover the war-torn countries of the world. I have a much better understanding of what leads up to and after I see a correspondent reporting in front of the camera. It's difficult to understand how a person can have enough strength to handle the fear, heartbreak, and exposure to ...more
Dec 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
On All Fronts is an incredible book detailing stories from Clarissa Ward's career as a conflict reporter and international correspondent. I was completely engrossed by this book and at times wouldn't want to stop the audio recording. On a technical level, Clarissa Ward's writing is top notch and she does an incredible job at narrating her stories. What I found the most interesting was that her stories also tell the story of her colleagues and those she befriends in places such as Syria and Afgha ...more
Hella Comat
Mar 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A journalist who has spent the past couple of decades in every war torn country, Clarissa Ward has a compelling, eye opening story to tell.

She reminds us how, even though we hear about foreign atrocities daily, we get immune to them through distance and frequency. By sheer luck, we should be so grateful for our lives in Canada - no matter how difficult they may seem now. It’s no comparison to the injustices in places like Syria, Myanmar, Yemen, Afghanistan, and so many more.
Jane Connell
Dec 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Highly recommend this read. But, I will caveat and say that if you do not come from an upper-middle-class background(like upper upper), this will leave you feeling slightly defeated on the prospects of pursuing a journalism career. Ward is incredibly honest about her steps towards success which I find highly respectable.
Ilan Israel
Jan 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Clarissa Ward lets us see behind the lines

This is a wonderful literary memoir from one of the best war correspondents working today. She takes us to places we can never expect to see, tells human stories with compassion and adds the element of giving a female perspective on some of the world’s lasting conflicts.
Jan 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I appreciated the raw details from the authors POV. Especially when little is typically shared from the areas she worked in. The book speaks to feminism too in the extensiveness of her travels and experiences in male dominated areas. Additionally, the book speaks to mental health in the reality of how hard life and job based trauma can take its toll.
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