Blood & Sand is the story of a man who was left for dead but, and against all odds, survived. And not only did Frank Gardner survive but, drawing on his journalistic calling, he has given us an extraordinary, terrifying account of the whole, literally life-shattering, experience, from what it's like to be shot to the excruciating months of recovery. But his book is more than about this one incident and its aftermath. It is about a journey that began 25 years ago with a chance meeting on a London bus with the veteran Arabian explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger, who inspired in the young Frank what would become a lifelong passion for the Arab world. This abiding interest would lead him to travel throughout the Middle East, experiencing at first hand peoples, places, and cultures that few have encountered, a colourful world of scorpion-infested Bedouin tents, of Cairene hash dens and vibrant Egyptian slums. It's a journey that would eventually lead, via the world of banking, to Frank becoming a journalist with the BBC. And it was this passion that would, in the wake of the world-changing events of 9/11, send him on the journey that came to dominate, and so very nearly end, his life.
Written with honesty, integrity, and humour, this is a powerful, haunting account of survival, of over-coming adversity and a determination to carry on, a moving and inspiring personal story that reveals a deep understanding of the Islamic world and an insider's compelling analysis of the on-going "War on Terror" and what it means in these uncertain times.
©2006 Frank Gardner; (P)2006 Random House AudioBooks
"Gardner is a superb reporter; his terrible experience only make his analysis all the more telling." (Evening Standard)
"An insightful and experienced reporter, Gardner had a great respect for Arab culture. It was not the end for what his attackers called the 'infidel reporter', however. Through medical expertise and courageous spirit, Gardner is back in his old job, even though he is now paraplegic. He does not forgive his attackers, but his unique insights into the current crises have been honed. His measured narration complements his admirable dignity." (The Observer)
I have seen this chap on the BBC and always thought what does he know and why is he in a wheel Chair. Well he knows alot about the middle East and that knowledge was gain by moving amoungst the people of the region. A positive tale about a man who loved the people the area and the life of the countries of the middle East. Who one day was at the wrong place at the wrong time. His story is bright and colour full charting the early years he spent reporting and visiting all around that area. Full of the hope and potential the region had and still could have. A tale well told in his own word from the very horse`s mouth.
An outstanding insight into Middle Eastern geopolitics clearly written with compassion, understanding and verve despite the author's horrendous and tragic personal experience at the hands of al quaeda terrorism. I'll recommend this one to all my friends and associates.
I usually find that a memior (or similar) is best read by the author, as the enthusiams, passions etc are best communicated by the person who experienced them. Unfortunately, Frank Gardener's performance was very wooden. He spoke slightly too fast and his received pronunciation didn't help. The wooden delivery and the speed improved enough to no longer be distracting in the middle sections of the book, but in the early part and towards the end, the narration was distracting.
The description of this book states that it " . . . is a powerful, haunting account . . . . , a moving and inspiring personal story that reveals a deep understanding of the Islamic world". It does not live up to that. It is a good book, well written and of course, well informed given the author. However, its too short to be very powerful or to reveal a deep understanding of the Islamic world. It does allow the listener to realise that Frank Gardner probably does have that deep understanding, but the length precludes a deep exploration of the issues.
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