Academic journal article Military Review

UNEMBEDDED: Two Decades of Maverick War Reporting

Academic journal article Military Review

UNEMBEDDED: Two Decades of Maverick War Reporting

Article excerpt

UNEMBEDDED: Two Decades of Maverick War Reporting, Scott Taylor, D&M Publishers Inc., Vancouver, BC, 374 pages, $34.95.

After finishing Scott Taylor's introductory description of his terrifying captivity and inquisition by Turkomen insurgents in Iraq, the reader is likely to think the book might be an exciting read. Well, it slows down markedly through the next 50 pages in this, the author's seventh book, written along the lines of a memoir. Taylor's youth and upbringing and his early ventures into publication subsidized by the Canadian military are mildly interesting, but the truly newsworthy periods of his reporting life were centered around his dogged investigations into corruption, incompetence, and betrayal of the common soldier by the senior ranks of the Canadian offi cer corps, particularly in Somalia. When he really started digging, Taylor found the Canadian military establishment to be a "resourceful, recalcitrant, and vengeful foe."

Taylor's articles resulted in military investigations, which were more like whitewashes that pointed a finger of guilt at a "few bad apples" within the enlisted ranks. (The author set out to argue and then explain how news initiative is stifl ed by the protection and logistical support of reporters housed in military units (called "embedding"). When Taylor transformed Espirit de Corps magazine, essentially a Canadian military house organ, into a hotbed of investigative digging, he even accomplished some of the early revelations on the army's own nickel.

Taylor reaches his narrative zenith in this book when he traverses dangerous back alleys and trails to report on the warring factions in the Balkans. His ability to infi ltrate areas with hazy borders- such as the Western Sahara-places him in a small circle of reporters including those who set up shop in prewar Baghdad.

The unembedded paths he covered included the Balkans and later Iraq. …

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