Swinging from tales of war zones to reminiscences of the men she met in them, former CNN reporter Darrow takes the reader on a 20-year trip through Russia and assorted hot spots around the globe.
In 1980, five years before perestroika transformed the Evil Empire, Darrow was a visiting university student in Moscow. Russia, she says, acted “like a narcotic.” Participating with the locals in their all-absorbing quest for subsistence, Darrow came under the thrall of life on the edge, fell in love with the Russian soul, and picked up a handsome husband who wanted a green card. Following the tumult, the urge for a normal job led her to Atlanta in 1986 to take a position as a tape logger at the fledgling Cable News Network. At the time, CNN was operating out of a former plantation, and “anyone with the desire to advance could do so with a bit of perseverance and hard work and willingness to work through weekends and holidays.” Darrow had the requisite attributes. Estranged though not divorced from her Russian husband, she stayed in Atlanta just long enough to have an affair with Ted Turner, discreetly discussed here, but was soon back in Russia as a field producer. She covered the civil war in Georgia, dashing through no-man's-land with Christiane Amanpour to enter the besieged Parliament building. After that it was on to the bombing in Chechnya, where “the Chechens were getting most of the arms from the Russian soldiers they were gearing up to fight, trading bottles of vodka or food for their kalashnikovs.” She moved on to the Balkans and then Israel, alternately covering battle scenes and jumping in and out of relationships with a series of unsuitable men (who nonetheless make for interesting reading).
Warm and engaging: a piquant slice of a colorful life.