Jonathan Randal


Much to the despair of his mother, Jonathan Randal threw away an Exeter and Harvard education to become a foreign correspondent condemned to coverage of wars, crises and general nastiness his wiser colleagues avoided as fast as possible. His single-minded pursuit of mayhem led him from UP (before it added the I) and AFP to the old Paris Herald, TIME, The New York Times and then for 30 years as roving correspondent for The Washington Post. Randal specialized in what a British Prime Minister in a slip of the tongue once called “the underdeveloping world.” He began by covering Algeria’s War of Independence against France and then the Cold War in Hot Climates in the old Belgian Congo.  Knowledge of those Third World conflicts landed him in America’s Indochina wars. Therein ensued a long exposure to the Arab-Israeli dispute and the wider problems within the Muslim world from Lebanon and Syria to Iraq and Afghanistan. Along the way, Randal wrote three books about the region: Going All the Way, Christian Warlords, Israeli Adventurers and the War in Lebanon;  After Such Knowledge, What Forgiveness-My Encounters with Kurdistan; and Osama, The Making of a Terrorist.

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