• On All Fronts

  • The Education of a Journalist
  • By: Clarissa Ward
  • Narrated by: Clarissa Ward
  • Length: 9 hrs and 38 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (354 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

“On All Fronts: The Education of a Journalist beautifully outlines . . . what it means to seek the truth. It gave me a new faith in the power of reporting.” —Oprah Winfrey

The recipient of multiple Peabody and Murrow awards, Clarissa Ward is a world-renowned conflict reporter. In this strange age of crisis where there really is no front line, she has moved from one hot zone to the next. With multiple assignments in Syria, Egypt, and Afghanistan, Ward, who speaks seven languages, has been based in Baghdad, Beirut, Beijing, and Moscow. She has seen and documented the violent remaking of the world at close range. With her deep empathy, Ward finds a way to tell the hardest stories. On All Fronts is the riveting account of Ward’s singular career and of journalism in this age of extremism.

Following a privileged but lonely childhood, Ward found her calling as an international war correspondent in the aftermath of 9/11. From her early days in the field, she was embedding with marines at the height of the Iraq War and was soon on assignment all over the globe. But nowhere does Ward make her mark more than in war-torn Syria, which she has covered extensively with courage and compassion. From her multiple stints entrenched with Syrian rebels to her deep investigations into the Western extremists who are drawn to ISIS, Ward has covered Bashar al-Assad’s reign of terror without fear. In 2018, Ward rose to new heights at CNN and had a son. Suddenly, she was doing this hardest of jobs with a whole new perspective.

On All Fronts is the unforgettable story of one extraordinary journalist—and of a changing world.

©2020 Clarissa Ward (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“In On All Fronts, [Ward] combines grace, authority, and a humor so dry it evaporates on contact. Whether Ward is fending off the dissolute, lecherous Saif Gadhafi, son of the brutal former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, in a Moscow Mercedes, or confronting a jihadist leader with video evidence of an execution carried out by his men, she gives off the impression that the story is, above all personal considerations, sacrosanct . . . Ward shows an enduring faith in the power of reporting.” —Annalisa Quinn, NPR 

“Ward’s journalism skills shine, putting readers on the front lines. Readers interested in the life stories of intrepid women journalists and the nature of investigative, international journalism will be captivated by this engrossing account.” Library Journal  

“[Ward’s] descriptions of her experiences at all the sites are vivid and precise . . . A thoughtful account of the excitement and pitfalls of war reporting.” Kirkus

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Insights gained!

I read news articles and listen to podcasts, so was not familiar with CNN chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward, but am happy to make her acquaintance with this book. The only child of an American mother and English father, she acknowledges her privileged, if somewhat lonely, childhood that included expensive schools in New York and London and exotic-sounding travel all over. (She was even Uma Thurman's stand-in on one of the Kill Bill movies when they were filming in China.) It was 9/11 that piqued her interest in conflict journalism and family connections that got her foot in the door with a CNN internship in Moscow. This led to a Fox News post, first as an overnight desk assistant where she helped coordinate reporting in Afghanistan before going there herself as a field producer. She managed to get herself a position based in Beirut where she produced coverage of the Israeli-Lebanese war and the trial and execution of Saddam Hussein. She became a correspondent with ABC News based in Moscow during its conflict with Georgia, then transferred to Beijing, then switched to CBS News where she spent a lot of time covering the Syrian uprising while also getting some spots on 60 Minutes. Her descriptions of what happened in Syria are the most heartbreaking. She then took her current job with CNN. Ward manages to convey how much she loves conflict reporting - how it's something she feels she was meant to do - while also getting across the difficulties of all the logistical aspects that have to be worked out, the tedium, how hard it is being away from loved ones and then trying to fit back in with them after very trying, depression-inducing assignments. Her behind the scenes memoir gave me more insights into a number of conflicts as well as what life is like working in this aspect of the news industry. Thank goodness for people like her willing to do this kind of reporting! It is tough.

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A lovely narrration!

It has the feel of a James Bond-ish thriller movie and to think that its all derived from the experience of a journalist who had braved all to bring the reality of war from ground zero gives one goose bumps..

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Memorable memoir.

Truly enlightening. So well written. So well narrated. Met her goal of showing the humanity in all those experiencing the trauma of war wherever it occurs. What an amazing and brave woman.

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Fascinating

I have admired Clarissa Ward for many years. Listening to her journey and the cruelties of the world has been most educational.

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Amazing listen

Incredible stories told with descriptive and riveting details. Recommend ten out if ten for sure.

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Insightful, intriguing and well written.

Informative, insightful and entertaining, this story is one that provides insight into the complicated, dangerous and difficult job of modern journalism.

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Intense tales of life on the very edge

To be completely honest, I wasn’t that familiar with Clarissa Ward before listening to this book, but having been in the field myself, I’m always excited when I see any nonfiction book by a journalist.

If you’re interested in life on the front lines, this is definitely a great choice. Ward offers many detailed accounts of her trips to numerous war-ravaged countries, including harrowing accounts of how she managed to get in and out of various risky locations.

She also includes very well-told accounts of interactions with people she met everywhere along the way, from truly psychopathic leaders with nothing less than total annihilation of an entire people as their purpose, to a gentle young afghani teen optimistically looking forward to joining his people to make a difference.

Ward also opens a window into a world we rarely get to see — that of women in war. She is able to slip between the rooms of men planning attacks and those of the women who support them, feed them, birth and raise their children, quite often personally put up with their violence, care for them when injured, and grieve their deaths. She illustrates them so well here that it’s almost like we can walk through the porthole, sit down beside them, and get to know them ourselves.

You will leave this book wishing you had paid much, much more attention to Syria, and Libya, and the Rohingya, and Afghanistan, and pretty much all of the countries stuck in horrible conflict in our world — including the US; but, then again, at least you’ll also leave it with a much clearer understanding of them all.

Ward sums everything up with a very astute observation about war that really helps bring her book full circle.

Overall I’d say this book was well worth the credit and made me want to go look up everything Ward has ever done journalistically. I truly admire and thank her for everything she’s done to keep journalism alive and make sure the truth gets told.

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Intelligent,accessible look into a woman journalist’s life

This is a beautifully written, thoughtful look at Clarissa’s career and attempt to humanise war and it’s many victims. Interesting and well written, a great listen, sensitivity read and empathetic in every way. A peak into a worlds we often gloss over. Highly recommend this book.

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  • HZ
  • 09-02-21

Gripping

This book hooked me from the first line. Helps give so much context to what is going on in the Middle East with heartbreaking and humanizing stories. I highly recommend it.

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Raw Accounts of a Journalist

Clarissa Ward's journalism covering the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan really oeaked my curiousity in this brave, open minded and seemingly wise journalist. I was delighted to see she had a book. and it didnt disappoint.

This book really sucked me in. She focused on the highlights and cornerstones of her carreer and in the process we revisited the historical moments of the last 2 decades. It made me feel a pull of nostaligia as I remembered events unfolding through the lense of a younger more niave self. And then we revisit them through the lense of journalist, a forienger , trying to understand the events and the people involved. The end left me with a mixed feeling of despair and hope.

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  • S
  • 08-27-21

Love every moment

I have been struggling to focus recently and this gripped me; I finished it within days. Very happy to have listened to the ups and downs of Clarissa’s personal and professional life.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-26-21

It was a pleasure to listen to this audiobook.

Great stories and what an insight into what it means to be a war correspondent. Clarissa, you are an inspiration 🙂

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  • Glenys Taylor
  • 11-19-21

Outstanding

Excellent narration. The effort and risk that stands behind the story. Essential for anyone who wants to work in Media.

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  • Lauren
  • 11-01-21

excellent

Highly recommend. Compelling story and storytelling. Very moving and inspiring. Essential listening. You'll also learn a lot from this book. 10 out of 10.

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  • M. McGuirk
  • 09-12-21

Wonder Woman

This book gripped me from beginning to the end. Clarissas story is fascinating, she is a sponge absorbing languages cultures and love. She has dived into the lives of people going through hell, she has travelled their road with them and relaid it to us. She really needs to be listened to.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-17-21

Fascinating

This book has been fascinating, from hearing about the Japanese tsunami to covering wars and human rights atrocities. This book doesn't shy away from the upsetting details but neither is it gratuitous. It was hard to stop listening

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  • Ioan
  • 10-06-20

engaging and insightful

fantastic listen! heard about it after an interview she gave. Great insight in the dangerous world of foreign correspondents. My words wouldn't do it justice, just get it 👍🏻

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  • Kim
  • 01-20-22

Loved it!

Fascinating behind the scenes stories from war torn countries as a foreign correspondent. The author also had an interesting background. Top notch. Have since discovered her podcast Tug of War which is also great.