A memoir from the former foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal and the Christian Science Monitor.
Schuster (A Burning Hunger: One Family’s Struggle Against Apartheid, 2004) finished high school in three years and took off to live in a kibbutz in Israel just in time for the Yom Kippur War. The experience whet her appetite to be in the middle of the action, so she returned home and earned multiple college degrees. After a year covering agriculture in Dallas for the Journal, Schuster received an assignment to cover Costa Rica, which was teetering on bankruptcy. Eventually, she met and married Dial Torgerson, a veteran foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, and they both worked in all the Central American hot spots. After Torgerson was killed in Honduras, the journalist in Schuster fought to remain in the area to uncover the details of his death. Instead, she was sent to Beirut just after the bombing of the Marine barracks in 1983. Between assignments, the author made only short visits to her family in Detroit, as she struggled with the rocky relationship she had with her mother. After a short, terrifying spell in civil war–torn Lebanon, Schuster was posted to Miami to cover Argentina and its ongoing “dirty war.” Through that assignment, she met Dennis, the diplomat who would become her second husband. When Dennis received a post in Malawi, Schuster managed to secure an assignment in South Africa. While some of the narrative is focused on the author’s dislike of family and her love life, when the author chronicles her professional life, it transforms into a riveting international thriller. Especially enthralling are her accounts of her evening trips to a Soweto in the throes of apartheid, her evacuation out of Monrovia, and a hostage crisis in Peru.
What could have been another average cathartic memoir becomes a page-turner thanks to lucid writing and thrilling storytelling.