Sebastian Junger Gives Up Front-Line Reporting: "I don't want to risk my life covering a mistake"

by Sophia Savage
June 10, 2011 5:02 AM
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Thompson on Hollywood

Sebastian Junger has been doing the book circuit for the paperback release of his book, War. The LA Times reports that the author and documentarian (who co-directed Oscar-nominated Restrepo with the tragically killed photojournalist Tim Heatherington) is through with covering the front lines:
"I'm not going to do any more front-line reporting, because I don't want to put my wife through what I went through with Tim..It was a very obvious thought to come to in the wake of all this. Tim's death made war reporting feel like a selfish endeavor."

Of reporting from war zones so far, Junger says:

"I thought it couldn't happen to me, and I'd never known anyone who had got killed — couple guys that got shot. You know, there's a lot of denial. I mean, denial works." He also believes there are 'good' wars and 'bad' wars: Afghanistan = good, Iraq = bad, and he doesn't "want to risk my life covering a mistake."

Junger also tries to explain the lure of war as one of the "master narratives" of a man's life:

"Look at the cave paintings in France. What do they show? They show the game animals that they've hunted — a form of warfare, in a way, violence. They show warfare, they show men fighting each other. They show fertile females. I mean, what topics preoccupy men? You want to look into the male brain? It's like, OK, I need to kill game, I need to sustain myself— basically, career. Conflict and combat, manliness and proving yourself. Hot chicks. And the final one is shamanism, connection to the divine. That comprises the entirety of what's on the walls of the caves in France. That's the male brain, that's human society in a lot of ways."

Here's the LA Times' excerpt from Junger's book, which is divided into three sections: War, Killing and Love.

And here is Junger's tribute to Heatherington.

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More: Directors, Genres, Books, Obit, Documentaries

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