It's What I Do

A Photographer's Life of Love and War

    • 4.6 • 152 Ratings
    • $14.99
    • $14.99

Publisher Description

"A brutally real and unrelentingly raw memoir."--Kirkus (starred review)

War photographer Lynsey Addario’s memoir It’s What I Do is the story of how the relentless pursuit of truth, in virtually every major theater of war in the twenty-first century, has shaped her life. What she does, with clarity, beauty, and candor, is to document, often in their most extreme moments, the complex lives of others. It’s her work, but it’s much more than that: it’s her singular calling.

Lynsey Addario was just finding her way as a young photographer when September 11 changed the world. One of the few photojournalists with experience in Afghanistan, she gets the call to return and cover the American invasion. She makes a decision she would often find herself making—not to stay home, not to lead a quiet or predictable life, but to set out across the world, face the chaos of crisis, and make a name for herself.

Addario finds a way to travel with a purpose. She photographs the Afghan people before and after the Taliban reign, the civilian casualties and misunderstood insurgents of the Iraq War, as well as the burned villages and countless dead in Darfur. She exposes a culture of violence against women in the Congo and tells the riveting story of her headline-making kidnapping by pro-Qaddafi forces in the Libyan civil war.

Addario takes bravery for granted but she is not fearless. She uses her fear and it creates empathy; it is that feeling, that empathy, that is essential to her work. We see this clearly on display as she interviews rape victims in the Congo, or photographs a fallen soldier with whom she had been embedded in Iraq, or documents the tragic lives of starving Somali children. Lynsey takes us there and we begin to understand how getting to the hard truth trumps fear.

As a woman photojournalist determined to be taken as seriously as her male peers, Addario fights her way into a boys’ club of a profession. Rather than choose between her personal life and her career, Addario learns to strike a necessary balance. In the man who will become her husband, she finds at last a real love to complement her work, not take away from it, and as a new mother, she gains an all the more intensely personal understanding of the fragility of life.

Watching uprisings unfold and people fight to the death for their freedom, Addario understands she is documenting not only news but also the fate of society. It’s What I Do is more than just a snapshot of life on the front lines; it is witness to the human cost of war.

Biographies & Memoirs
February 5
Penguin Publishing Group

Customer Reviews

Samuel A. Phillips ,

In Depth , honest, and profound

This book is an amazing exploration of life, passion, trauma, excitement, risk and love. All complexly intertwined with conviction to expose and share the harsh truths of our human experience. I recommend this book for the aspiring journalist, photojournalist, or civilian looking to read an inspirational journey and story.

This book is well written and easy to read. The descriptions of moments of tension are captivating - emphasizing the privilege it is to live in the developed world. Enjoy!

filmguyryan ,

Disappointing account of a career that should be rife with drama and intrigue.

Honestly, I was hoping for more out of this read. As a professional photographers I was interested in that angle. Since I’m also a news junkie the war correspondent piece drew me in as well. Ultimately I was left unsatisfied on both accounts. Lynsey’s story wasn’t particularly compelling or interesting other than one relatively short event. Also, I hate to sound judgmental, but given the access and dedication to the field the actual photographic work is underwhelming.

Cat Palmer ,

Eye Opening

Extremely honest, well written, and realistic. This memoir has taught more about what's going on throughout the world than I have ever learned in school. It discusses real life issues, and it sheds light on the pain and suffering that is going on outside of America. It does not glorify the US or the media, in fact Addario is very honest about her feelings towards American action in the War on Terror. This is not her bragging about all of her accomplishments in life, it's her sharing her story and providing us with insight. I recommend this to students especially. An enjoyable and enlightening read.

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