The Madness: A Memoir of War, Fear and PTSD from Sunday Times Bestselling Author and BBC Correspondent Fergal Keane
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This set him on the path of choosing journalism, and then reporting from front lines to prove his worth. Especially to himself.
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I’ve been f**king scared all my life,” says Fergal Keane. “If there’s an underlying theme to my life, that’s it. I’m afraid of what’s going to happen, afraid of what I didn’t do ... Afraid of what someone will think. It’s a crippling way to go through life.” Having read through the Keane memoir and into Breaking, I found the experience too much — too soon for me after my own writing of Living with Ghosts.And yet he continued to return to war zones. He believes that he is, to some extent, “addicted to war”. “If you’re a drug addict or an alcoholic killing yourself people will say, ‘Oh, my God, stop.’ War is the only addiction that people will come up to you and say, ‘That was brilliant’.” In the prologue of his book, he writes of a conversation in which he says: “I should have stopped after Belfast.” He knows, of course, that he was not going to stop then. Those of us who knew him then knew he was not going to stop. Woman's Hour — Christina Lamb on Victoria Amelina, Alex South, Actor Beth Alsbury, Debbie and Helen Singer, Female photographers
Fergal Keane, war addict: ‘You feel like a bit of a freak Fergal Keane, war addict: ‘You feel like a bit of a freak
Why would anyone want to be a war correspondent? And yet without them, how do we learn the truth of what’s going on in the world?So did other struggles. Fergal’s father was a talented actor, a self-taught man of letters and a lifelong alcoholic. Searching for his drunken father in pubs and alleyways, the young Keane developed a bone-deep sense that something was wrong with the world and that it was his responsibility to put it right. Growing up in an alcoholic’s home made Keane anxious, hyper-alert and keen to escape. That escape arrived in the early 1980s, when his budding journalistic career took him from Ireland to South Africa.
The Madness By Fergal Keane | Used | 9780008420420 | World of The Madness By Fergal Keane | Used | 9780008420420 | World of
Not devastation in a foreign field but on our own doorstep, with people dying and suffering all around us.” We don’t often, or not often enough, think about those behind the camera. McIlveen’s writing, his words in Breaking, will make the reader think some more. The other addiction proved to be harder to quit. “If I feel self-loathing I start to need to escape to war, the ultimate land of forgetting.”and I began to have nightmares of Rwanda. And of course, at that stage, you know, it was obvious that I was traumatised but, again, did I go to a psychiatrist? No, I didn't. I kept doing the job. I got very close to being diabetic and was told I had to lose weight. I went at it and got one of those calorie-counting apps, and I think it got slightly obsessive. I lost a lot of weight, but I now feeling guilty if eat French fries. What does recovery look like for him? “It’s a matter of figuring out those boundaries and working on them. You should never not have an emotional reaction to something that is moving but you can’t let it take you over. And that’s what I’m working on. You can empathise but there’s a limit to what you can do and it doesn’t belong to you ... I think the basics would be to keep my promise: no war zones ... And it means loving life, spending time with friends, playing music.”