More from Our Own Correspondent by Tony Grant (Editor)

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More from Our Own Correspondent by Tony Grant (Editor)

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Category: Politics and Society
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Conor Murphy
Reviewed by Conor Murphy
Summary: A selection of radio essays from the BBC's famous radio programme in which foreign correspondents are able to give a more in depth and more personal view of events. Recommended for all those who like to see the ordinary faces behind the stories and appreciate a degree of opinion and honesty too often missing from our daily news reports.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 240 Date: May 2008
Publisher: Profile Books
ISBN: 1846680778

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From Our Own Correspondent began in 1955. It's a series of monologue dispatches by BBC foreign correspondents in which they give a personalised and in depth view of an aspect of current events from their posting. It's fascinating. It's educational. It's a national treasure. In this second anthology of broadcasts, More From Our Own Correspondent, these radio essays cover topics ranging from the heady oxygen-light road through Bolivia's mountains, the world's most dangerous thoroughfare, through the Honey-Hunters of Bangladesh to Mr and Mrs Nie in China as the Beijing Olympics approach.

My favourite is Alan Johnston's account of his kidnapping in Gaza. There is something about that man's kind and gentle demeanour and careful but honest reporting that the BBC could do with a lot more of.

I am not a huge fan of BBC News. I think it's disintegrated in quality immeasurably since Helen Boaden took over in 2004, increasing the slide that most obviously began for me with its dreadful reporting of the war in Iraq. I don't watch it any more and if I do, I generally end up throwing something at the television in frustration at its propaganda or its dumbing down. But I do listen to From Our Own Correspondent. It's a rare beacon in Auntie's reporting for all those who like to see the ordinary faces behind the stories and appreciate a degree of opinion and honesty too often missing from our daily news reports.

This is not to say that it's particularly controversial; indeed, any more controversial than the BBC's standard news bulletins. But it's individual, it's in depth, and it's personal. It expects your undivided attention for twenty minutes or more and it asks questions rather than answering them in ineffective and misleading soundbites. If you want to get a feel for life in other parts of the world, particularly in the areas where there is conflict, or poverty, or social change, then you will find that in From Our Own Correspondent. And I think it's very much worth collecting the segments into anthologies, as here. It's doubly enlightening to return to yesterday's news, and it's a testimony too, for future generations.

My thanks to the good people at Profile for sending the book.

Those who enjoy reportage could look at The Soccer War by Ryszard Kapuscinski.

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Buy More from Our Own Correspondent by Tony Grant (Editor) at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy More from Our Own Correspondent by Tony Grant (Editor) at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy More from Our Own Correspondent by Tony Grant (Editor) at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy More from Our Own Correspondent by Tony Grant (Editor) at Amazon.com.

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