Haunting images of pain and loss; Canadian Reporter-Photographer Paul Watson has written a breathtakingly compelling and candid account of his experiences as a foreign correspondent

Montreal Gazette Saturday, August 18, 2007 LEVON SEVUNTS There are moments in every reporter’s life when a story brings you to a moral conundrum. It can be something as simple as making that dreaded call to a grieving mother to get a quote about her dead child, or shoving a microphone into the face of a man who has just lost everything in a house fire. But sometimes, the circumstances are so extreme, so outside the norm, that nothing in your previous life can prepare…

Two deaths, two very different cases

Two deaths, two very different cases; A Russian diary, by murdered journalist Anna Politkovskaya, is a ringing indictment of the course charted by president Vladimir Putin; death of a dissident, which reads like a spy thriller, looks at the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko Montreal Gazette Saturday, August 11, 2007 LEVON SEVUNTS A RUSSIAN DIARY By Anna Politkovskaya Harvill Secker, 323 pages, $45.95 DEATH OF A DISSIDENT: THE POISONING OF ALEXANDER LITVINENKO AND THE RETURN OF THE KGB By Alex Goldfarb with Marina Litvinenko Free Press,…

Drama and 'democracy'; Mark MacKinnon's incisive look at Post-soviet politics

Montreal Gazette Saturday, June 23, 2007 LEVON SEVUNTS The New Cold War: Revolutions, Rigged Elections and Pipeline Politics in the Former Soviet Union Mark MacKinnon Random House Canada, 313 pages, $34.95 If you’ve never read a book about the politics in the former Soviet Union, make an exception for this one. And if you’re interested in post-Soviet politics, then Mark MacKinnon’s The New Cold War is a must. It’s a real-life political drama, a non-fiction page-turner that will keep you up at night and provoke…

Witness to suffering; A foreign correspondent writes home

Montreal Gazette Saturday, May 19, 2007 LEVON SEVUNTS ECHOES OF VIOLENCE: LETTERS FROM A WAR REPORTER By Carolin Emcke Princeton University Press, 340 pages, $29.50 – – – What did you really see? What do you really think? Friends ask me these questions every time I come back from some faraway assignment. They want to know what I – the person they know, not the supposedly unbiased reporter I try to be in the field – have witnessed and felt. These questions seem straightforward enough,…

Afghanistan: A long-term project; Author Peter Pigott explains why Canadian soldiers have been sent to Afghanistan, and provides a multi-faceted account of what they are doing there

Montreal Gazette Saturday, March 31, 2007 LEVON SEVUNTS CANADA IN AFGHANISTAN: THE WAR SO FAR By Peter Pigott Dundurn Press, 240 pages, $35 It’s a rare newscast or newspaper edition in Canada that doesn’t have a story from Afghanistan these days. Yet almost five years after Canada sent its soldiers there, many Canadians remain surprisingly ignorant about the history of that country and the reasons for Canada’s involvement. That ignorance also permeates the upper echelons of Canadian politics, academia, media and government agencies. Peter Pigott’s…

Whose War Is It?

Stand on guard, historian tells Canada: Military scholar J.L Granatstein makes a passionate plea for a more muscular Canada, one that can protect itself at home and once again punch above its weight on the international scene. Furthermore, the U.S. war on terror, he says, is our war too Montreal Gazette Saturday, February 24, 2007 LEVON SEVUNTS J.L. Granatstein starts his latest book, Whose War Is It?, with a horrifying scenario: The “big one,” an 8.9 quake, has hit Vancouver at 8:08 a.m. on Tuesday,…

Fleeing a hellish war: Deserter served in Iraq with U.S. army

Montreal Gazette Saturday, February 3, 2007 LEVON SEVUNTS The Deserter’s Tale: The Story of an Ordinary Soldier Who Walked Away from the War in Iraq By Joshua Key as told to Lawrence Hill House of Anansi Press, 237 pages, $29.95 First, I want to lay my cards on the table. I don’t like deserters. It’s a dislike that I’ve developed over the years hanging around soldiers: first growing up in the family of a soldier, doing my own military service, then covering wars on three…

Two views of the war on terror: Burke fights stereotypes, Musharraf seeks moderation

Montreal Gazette Saturday, November 25, 2006 LEVON SEVUNTS ON THE ROAD TO KANDAHAR: TRAVELS THROUGH CONFLICT IN THE ISLAMIC WORLD By Jason Burke Bond Street Books/Doubleday Canada, 228 pages, $32.95 IN THE LINE OF FIRE: A MEMOIR By Pervez Musharraf Free Press, 354 pages, $38.50 Jason Burke had an unusual start to his journalistic career. He began as a peshmerga, a Kurdish guerrilla fighter, in northern Iraq, in 1991. Luckily for him and for us, Burke survived unscathed this rather extreme version of the end-of-college…

A Genuine sense of suffering: Anderson Cooper's reports are heartfelt

Montreal Gazette Saturday, July 15, 2006 LEVON SEVUNTS Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival Anderson Cooper Harper Collins, 212 pages, $32.50 I don’t remember the exact date I stopped watching CNN, but it must have been around the time the United States was gearing up for the last war in Iraq. The last straw for me was when my friend Kevin Sites parted ways with CNN because the network couldn’t stomach his hard-hitting personal blog (so much the better for…

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