Dispatches from Foreign Lands.
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Since leaving suburban England at the age of 21 with an invitation
to a wedding in Karachi and a yearning for adventure, Christina
Lamb has spent 20 years living out of suitcases and reporting from
all over the world.
Small Wars Permitting is a collection of her best reportage
following some of the principal events of the last two decades everywhere
from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. But Lamb’s main interest has
always been in the untold stories, the people and places where others
don’t go. Undaunted by danger, disease or despots, she has
travelled by canoe through the remotest reaches of the Amazon rainforest
in search of un-contacted Indians; journeyed to the world’s
highest battlefield where avalanches take more victims than guns;
joined a Rio samba school to infiltrate the crime rackets behind
Carnival; stayed on a fattening farm in southern Nigeria; and survived
a terrifying ambush by Taliban.
Among the characters she meets along the way are the Marsh Arabs
who want Play Stations instead of buffaloes; the Special Forces
hunting for Osama bin Laden; an Armenian compére for performing
dolphins with whom she travels around Iraq during the war, and a
much feared Afridi chief who slaughters a sheep washed down with
warm Russian champagne in his fort on the Khyber Pass.
Her writing is passionate, powerful and poetic, transforming reportage
into literature. Through the stories she tells – and her own
journey from self-confessed war junkie to devoted mother –
Lamb chronicles the human consequences of conflict in the countries
she has come to know and a life where she can never make arrangements
without adding the proviso “small wars permitting”.
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