It’s as much the “nitty-gritty of the journalistic enterprise, the ‘how-do-I-do this’ quality of reporting in Iraq” as “the life of the society he is covering” that Edward A. Gargan, Newsday’s Asia bureau chief, finds in reading Jon Lee Anderson’s book, “The Fall of Baghdad.” Anderson reported from Baghdad for The New Yorker before and during the invasion of Iraq, and Gargan observes that the author “leaves us almost in despair for, as he writes, a year after the invasion, ‘it seemed as if Baghdad had not really fallen at all—or perhaps it was still falling.’”

Alissa J. Rubin, who is Vienna bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times, has reported from Iraq, and she revisits some challenges of being an embedded war correspondent, as seen through Katherine M. Skiba’s account of covering the invasion of Iraq in “Sister in the Band of Brothers: Embedded with the 101st Airborne in Iraq.” Rubin believes that Skiba is at her best in describing “how embedding works—its opportunities and limitations” and as she writes about “bonds that form between embedded reporter and soldier … [as] skepticism and objectivity [become] casualties of the embedding experience to greater and lesser degrees.”

In reflecting on “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death,” a book by syndicated columnist Norman Solomon, former New York Times columnist Tom Wicker points to the author’s severe indictment not only of a “war-minded U.S. government,” but also “of an American press all too willing, even eager, to go along,” and a gullible American public that was “ill and misinformed by [its] pliant press.” Though Wicker agrees with most of Solomon’s ideas, he writes that he deplores “the frequent excess—as I see it—with which he expresses them,” and he embraces “the old journalist’s creed, so often abandoned—‘just the facts, please.’”

John Maxwell Hamilton, dean of the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University who is writing a history of foreign news, applauds former CBS News foreign correspondent Tom Fenton for highlighting the neglect of foreign news and its consequences in “Bad News: The Decline of Reporting, the Business of News, and the Danger to Us All.” Hamilton also explores “the true golden age of foreign correspondence” (between World Wars I and II) and suggests how foreign coverage might be revived. “Its survival,” he writes, “lies in thinking about foreign news differently.”

“The End of Poverty,” by Jeffrey Sachs and “Mountains Beyond Mountains,” by Tracy Kidder belong on the essential reading list of all news reporters and editors, particularly those whose path might one day cross with coverage of issues involving global poverty, according to Chris Waddle, who is vice-president/news of Consolidated Publishing Company, publishers of The Anniston (Ala.) Star. Waddle’s hope is that the experiences portrayed in these books can help to better inform the decisions news organizations will make “in the years ahead about coverage of the world’s poor and their problems.”

Wilson Wanene, a Kenyan-born freelance journalist, writes about how Howard French, a senior New York Times writer who served as West and Central Africa bureau chief from 1994 to 1998, in his book, “A Continent for the Taking: The Tragedy and Hope of Africa,” brings the reader “along on his hectic journalistic journey through Africa” and “offers an unflinching look at his beat.” French contends that Western reporters sent to Africa need to be better prepared to cover this vast and complicated continent without relying too heavily on “Western diplomats.”

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