TELL HIM THAT I HEARD by Patricia Hangen


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Welles Hangen, head of the NBC Hong Kong news bureau, was captured in Cambodia in 1970 and has never been returned to his wife and their two children; this is Patricia Hangen's story of their years together before his disappearance. The couple met in Athens while Patricia was a press officer with the American embassy and Welles was assigned to the New York Times Ankara bureau, and they were married in Cairo in 1958. Two weeks into the honeymoon both were dodging stones and bullets while Christian and Moslem factions fought in Beirut. With Pat usually at his side, Welles bargained, bullied, and coaxed his way through official-dom to the major trouble spots in Lebanon, Kuwait, Iraq, Jerusalem, Egypt, and India. There was a relatively peaceful hiatus in Germany and a period of study in the US before the Hangens' last residence in Hong Kong as a happy family with two adopted babies. (There Welles conceived a plan for transmitting mainland China's TV broadcasts from a chilly mountaintop.) Despite the author's inability to convey a real sense of current history--or for that matter, of her husband's obviously solid skills--one has a fair idea of the hazards and pleasures of being a working journalist often literally under fire: those generally awful hotels, the camaraderie and competition among the press corps, daily battles with red tape and shaky transportation, hot tips and warm liquor. In closing the author recalls her last glimpse of Welles (""joyous, loving, vital"") and the anguish of doggedly held hope. A modest recital from a private agony.

Pub Date: March 2nd, 1977
Publisher: Harper & Row