A date with Ford Sawyer, Small Wars Permitting

Posted by Lou. The time is 12.15pm here in London, UK.

Bel sent me a book called Small Wars Permitting: Dispatches from Foreign Lands by Christina Lamb. That was all I knew when I turned to the first page. Turns out Lamb is an award-winning foreign correspondent working for UK newspapers, having focussed particularly on the Middle East, Africa and South America. Her book is absolutely fantastic.

Interspersed with a selection of her key published articles, she provides the behind-the-scenes story, context and commentary on some of the key driving people, places and issues of our modern world and also of her own life as a young female foreign correspondent. I can honestly say that I know more about the war in Afghanistan, the situation in Pakistan, the politics of Brazil and the Amazon, and - shamefully - far, far more about the political situation in Zimbabwe than I did before picking it up.

The access she has had, the stories she has covered, the life-threatening situations she has been in are staggeringly impressive, yet her writing is down-to-earth and entirely humble. She infuses each and every story with insight into the people and places (big and small), drawing forth each and every interesting element, and presenting it in a clear and absorbing manner. Definitely recommended!

Lamb in Afghanistan back during the war with Russia

Whilst Lamb's wonderful book took me through the drama of being plunged into travel purgatory due to an idiot's attempt to blow up a plane on Christmas Day (how apt!), I was glad to finish it in time to spend the Holiday Proper reading a piece of delicious trash. Another Nora Roberts romance called Tribute was my choice for beachside reading, and expecting nothing but a page-turning plot-driven, brain-frying treat I wasn't disappointed.

The dialogue is cringy, the plot is weak, the heroine one dimensional (but in a Sassy! Strong! Self-determined! way), the hero Mr Impossibly Perfect (Sensitive! Understanding! Patient!), but hey - I was on holiday! It had me turning the pages and giggling at its trashiness and looking forward to spending a bit of quality time with the hilariously named Ford Sawyer. Feel free to borrow it for your next sunshine holiday.

Oooh looks like they made it into a TV movie -
so bad I wouldn't be able to say no :)

3 thoughts on “A date with Ford Sawyer, Small Wars Permitting”


    I agree, I learnt so much about current affairs & foreign politics from Christina Lamb's book - just amazing.

    Martha Gellhorn is very much her predecessor!

  2. You too, CC ;D

    And fear not, I believe that the official sic blog verdict on 8 Mile is that it was an extremely tolerable film with surprisingly pleasing performances! Let's not forget that the same director also made L.A. Confidential!!