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Bullets and Bylines

By Shyam Bhatia

Bullets and Bylines: From the Frontlines of Kabul, Delhi, Damascus and Beyond is a gripping and fascinating memoir by Shyam Bhatia, celebrated journalist and former foreign correspondent for The Observer. The book presents an unflinching and incisive description of pivotal events in the Middle East and India that continue to shape our world today. It reflects on the nature of war-zone journalism, in particular the idea that sometimes, success or failure as a journalist hangs on help coming from some entirely unexpected places.

Very few people have seen and survived the situations that Shyam Bhatia describes in this memoir, and perhaps even fewer have the modest and accessible style that he employs here to involve and engage the reader. While Bhatia does not turn away from describing the full horrors of war – for example, his narrow escape from execution on a bus trip in Afghanistan and discovery of bodies following a mass murder in India – his tale is also peppered with examples of the sheer humanity of some almost super-human political figures, such as his time spent babysitting the infant daughter of Yasser Arafat and his life-long friendship with Benazir Bhutto, which began over a cup of coffee in Oxford.

Bullets and Bylines: From the Frontlines of Kabul, Delhi, Damascus and Beyond is a wonderfully readable but nonetheless revealing description of key political events over the past forty or so years. It is bound to appeal to lovers of politics and history alike, and for fans of top-quality political journalism.

Shyam Bhatia grew up in New Delhi and was educated at Oxford. He trained as a journalist on The Western Mail and went on to cover affairs in the Middle East and Indian subcontinent for many major publications, in particular The Observer, for which he was both Middle East correspondent and Diplomatic Editor. He has written several books on the Middle East, India and Pakistan, including a biography of his friend, the late Benazir Bhutto.

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