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Danger, glamour, and a family: Is being a war correspondent a way to have it all? #bookreview

Dirty Wars and Polished Silver

The Life and Times of a War Correspondent Turned Ambassatrix

Lynda Schuster

Melville House, hardcover, Kindle

Lynda Schuster grew up in Detroit wanting to not repeat her mother’s safe-at-home-with-family lifestyle. So, she did the exact opposite. She left home and ended up in Israel during the Yom Kippur War. This sharpened her appetite for adventure, so she soon became a war correspondent in gritty, dangerous places: primarily Central America, South America, the Middle East, and Southern Africa, writing for the Wall Street Journal and later the Christian Science Monitor.

Her new book, Dirty Wars and Polished Silver: The Life and Times of a War Correspondent Turned Ambassatrix, is a well-written memoir that intimately describes three major chapters of her life: How she worked as a reporter in dangerous war zones; how she became the wife (while still reporting) of a Los Angeles Times correspondent who was killed 10 months later in Honduras; and how her life again changed dramatically after she married a U.S. diplomat who became Ambassador to Liberia and then Peru. For her, it was quite a transition, from dodging bullets and meeting deadlines to being sure the proper silverware was set out for posh embassy dinners.

In her book, she tells many funny stories and anecdotes from within the worlds of journalism and diplomacy. But she does not hide her sadness and disgust over the senseless violence and destruction that wars bring to helpless civilians.

For anyone who has ever dreamed of reporting from the frontlines of war or trying to do good works for humanity in isolated, faraway places, Lynda Schuster’s Dirty Wars and Polished Silver can be eye-opening, informative, entertaining–and definitely sobering.

— Si Dunn


  • Si Dunn is a novelist, screenwriter, photojournalist, and book reviewer. His published books include: DARK SIGNALS, a Vietnam War memoir; ERWIN'S LAW, a private-detective novel; and JUMP, a novella about a combat veteran suffering from PTSD and alienation while trying to work for newspapers as a journalist. Several of his feature screenplays recently were under option to movie producers. He spent nearly 15 years working as a technical writer and software tester in the telecommunications industry. His current programming interests include Go, JavaScript, Python, R, Angular, and other languages and frameworks. He is a U.S. Navy veteran and a graduate of the University of North Texas.

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