And Then All Hell Broke Loose by Richard Engel - ReviewThank you! A deft personal account of a career spent reporting from the Middle East, witnessing the evaporation of peace and stability. Looking back, he concludes that his own youthful, improvisational journalistic beginnings in Egypt in coincided with the impending downfall of dictators like Saddam Hussein. He was offered a position as Palestinian-affairs correspondent for a French press agency in time to witness the violent Second Intifada. An intriguing journalistic memoir built around a lucid, alarming overview of where the Middle East has been and where it is heading. There was a problem adding your email address. Please try again.
Then all hell broke loose
And Then All Hell Broke Loose: Two Decades in the Middle East
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When Richard Engel was 13, traveling abroad with his parents, he dreamed of becoming a reporter. He did grow up to become a reporter — he is the chief foreign correspondent for NBC — but would spend much of his year award-winning career not in glamorous Paris, but in war zones in the Middle East. The result is a book that gives readers a brisk but wide-angled understanding of the calamities that have unfurled there over the last two decades — most notably, the still unspooling consequences of the United States invasion of Iraq, and the sad trajectories of revolutions in Egypt, Libya and Syria, which began in hope and have snowballed into fiasco. Countless articles and books, of course, have chronicled these same events — with a narrower focus and more detail — but for readers looking for an astute, fast-paced overview, this book is a great explainer. Along the way, Mr. Engel also offers his personal impressions of leaders.
In , young Richard Engel, working freelance for Arab news sources, got a call that a busload of Italian tourists was massacred at a Cairo museum. This is his first view of the carnage these years would pile on. Over two decades he has been under fire, blown out of hotel beds, and taken hostage. He has watched Mubarak and Morsi in Egypt arrested and condemned, reported from Jerusalem, been through the Lebanese war, covered the shooting match in Iraq and the Libyan rebels who toppled Gaddafi, reported from Syria as Al-Qaeda stepped in, and was kidnapped in the Syrian cross currents of fighting. Engel takes chances, though not reckless ones, keeps a level head and a sense of humor, as well as a grasp of history in the making.
In twenty years of foreign correspondence throughout Egypt, Iraq and Syria, journalist Richard Engel has no doubt covered a myriad of horrific incidents. One August morning, a traveling crowd of religious pilgrims are packed on the bridge so tightly they can only advance by inches. A stampede begins: Hundreds are fatally trampled, hundreds more leap off the bridge to their deaths. Yet when Engel covers this story for the Nightly News, he is afforded only 75 seconds to present. Hell Broke Loose can be viewed as two books in one. He laments the haphazard drawing of country boundaries after WW1, setting the stage for decades of sectarian conflict. The subsequent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq pull the lid off the long-suppressed buildup of racial and political animus.