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Fools Rush In: A True Story of War and Redemption [Paperback]

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Item description for Fools Rush In: A True Story of War and Redemption by Bill Carter...

Published in Britain to great acclaim -- a startling, gut-wrenching memoir of war, personal dissolution, and rebirth -- based on the author's experiences in Bosnia.

When tragedy strikes Bill Carter's life he finds himself drawn to an unlikely place -- Bosnia, in the midst of its civil war. Searching for meaning in the heart of darkness, he manages to find lodging in an abandoned tower block and sets out getting supplies to the starved, besieged citizens of Sarajevo. It is there that Carter emerges from his stupor. Inspired by a community of people working to bring relief to the city, he daringly enlists the help of music group U2 and its lead singer, Bono, who set up satellite links on the band's Zooropa tour that allowed ordinary citizens of Sarajevo to speak unedited and live on 90-foot television screens to thousands of concertgoers worldwide.

Just as Michael Herr's Vietnam memoir Dispatches captured the horror of war for the '60s generation, Bill Carter's Fools Rush In will be the seminal book for this generation on the visceral and transformative impact of war in our time.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   400
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.8" Width: 4.9" Height: 1.2"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 27, 2005
Publisher   Wenner
ISBN  1932958509  
ISBN13  9781932958508  

Availability  0 units.

More About Bill Carter

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Bill Carter reports on the television industry for the "New York Times" and has written about television for almost 30 years. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a native of Brooklyn, New York, he currently resides in New Jersey with his wife and children.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Europe > Bosnia and Herzegovina
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > General
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > International > Relations
4Books > Subjects > Travel > Europe > Yugoslavia (former) > Bosnia, Croatia & Herzegovina
5Books > Subjects > Travel > General > Essays & Travelogues

Reviews - What do customers think about Fools Rush In: A True Story of War and Redemption?

eye-opening and impossible to put down  Aug 15, 2008
Bill Carter's FOOLS RUSH IN has got to be one of the finest memoirs ever written. Explains what happened in Sarajevo (and Bosnia) better than any book on the subject that I have read.

You'll shed your share of tears at the madness, cruelty and mindless slaughter and suffering that went on, but you'll also be laughing your butt off between bouts of deep sadness... (as the victims, trapped in Sarajevo, under under constant shelling and sniper fire, and I am talking about Serbs, Croats, Muslims--who referred to themselves as Bosnians & wishing to live together in a united way-- were able somehow to hold on to their sense of humor under these hellish conditions.)

Read it in less than two days. Could not put the book down once I started. Amazing feat by Mr. Carter, a survivor in his own right.

Highly Recommended  May 14, 2007
A layered, character-driven memoir that reads like a novel. For everyone who wants to understand a little more about war -- and right now, shouldn't that be all of us?
War and Love - a really powerful story  Jun 14, 2006
I loved this book. It was raw and powerful and really moved me. This book touches on a couple of key themes - war and love. I found it a really powerful commentary on the politics of war, without being a political polemic. Equally,anyone who has experienced the death of someone young and close to them will find a kindred spirit which may make the experience less lonely. The only time Carter lost me was when he describes his experiences with U2. He comes across as bit of a victim, a bit too self pitying. This is a problem only because it is at odds with the rest of the book which has such a tone of endurance and spirit.
Truely a story of love and war  Aug 27, 2005
This emotionaly moving story encompasses all facets of human emotion and should truely be read by everyone.
Intimate and Horrifying  Jun 29, 2005
FOOLS RUSH IN by Bill Carter is a memoir of the siege of Sarajevo by an American who voluntarily went there to help the Bosnians victimized by the Serbian aggressors.

Carter had recently lost a girlfriend suddenly in a car accident, and he was looking for something to do to get away from his grief. He went to the Balkans, where he had a friend working for an aid organization in Split, Croatia. He couldn't get an "official" job in Bosnia, during the war, so he joined The Serious Road Trip, a group of internationals, who drove brightly painted trucks and cars and delivered food aid to beseiged people while juggling and clowning for the kids. Carter's main friend in the narrative is Graeme, who utters some funny Brit black humor in the course of the surreal events of the memoir. ("Easy there, Spam," will forever be part of my ideolect.)

Carter essentially moves to Sarajevo, and stays in an office tower near the front lines, the Unis Towers. He tells of the daily hardships of living with no sure supply of water, food, gas, electric along with having to move through the city ever-aware of snipers. The Serious Road Trip delivered food to different groups around the city, mostly based on interpersonal relationships the members of TSRT developed. For example, Carter meets two sisters who lead him on a run across Sniper Alley (they accused him of being a "war tourist") to their apartment, which they couldn't leave once the siege began until their father dug a tunnel out of the building, as the main exit faced the Serb-occupied hills. In the family's apartment, Carter feels guilt over enjoying the hospitality they offer him. He can see from their faces and bodyies that they are slowly starving, but they are all amazed when they find a bullet in the flour he was carrying in the box of groceries he was taking to them as he ran across Sniper Alley. He watches a video with the family of a birthday party, and in the video, as they celebrate, a bullet comes through the window and lodges in the wall. After the instant of the shot, the family recovers and continues the celebration. After showing the video, the mother tells Carter, "Our first bullet."

It is unreal and inhumane moments like this that are best illustrated in Carter's narrative. Much of the last half of the book deals with Carter's idea to get U2 to publicize the problems in Sarajevo because of the siege. (The UN brought in food for those trapped in the city, but the Serbs wouldn't allow it to be delivered unless they got 40 percent of it themselves. The UN troops also kept Sarajevans in the city, not allowing them to connect with the free Bosnian territory just beyond the UN controlled airport.) The U2 aspect was interesting, and illustrated how the world came to be outraged about what was happening to Bosnians, but it was less interesting than the small moments so well depicted by Carter's intimacy with the lives of Sarajevans but colored by his "foreigner's" view, as an American. His stranger's view of the situation allows him to voice his moral outrage, but his intimate experience with the city's horrors, and his own hardships because of it, allow him that outrage, legitimize it.

The thing I didn't like about the book is an aspect of Carter's personality that I term (borrowing from organizational communication) "low elimination breakpoint." Carter seems to be better than everything, or at least everything around him has intolerable flaws. Aid organizations are too bureaucratic, so he won't work with them. Even though he works in film and makes a documentary of the hardships in Sarajevo during the siege, working in film is also not good enough for him. Etc. I found some of the writing overwrought (he was the most in love of any person ever in love, for example). He seems to morally eschew attention for his work in Bosnia, but then is offended when he doesn't get what he thinks is his fair share.

One of the most moving and upsetting moments in the narrative is when TSRT is trying to get out of Bosnia to collect supplies and stays with a Muslim family in a town after the Croats have turned on their Muslim allies against the Serbs. Carter and his colleagues know the town they're in is about to be ethnically cleansed, and the family they're staying with will be victims of that cleansing. There is a teen-age boy in the family who tells them it isn't their war, and Carter thinks, whose war is it?" A boy's war? People who didn't cause it, but are about to be killed en masse because of their Turkish sounding names? TSRT can leave the town, but the people with whom they've stayed cannot. Again, it's the intimacy and humanity of the encounter that make the impression. Carter later hears that the people of the town who could flee tied handicapped and sick people to their beds and fled the genocidal murderers by running into the woods. That's all he knows of the family who sheltered him...

I bought this book at an English-language bookstore in Sarajevo, so it was richer to read about such places as Sniper Alley, the Holiday Inn, the Old Town, the tunnel the Bosnian forces used to get supplies and soldiers into and out of Sarajevo after having seen them myself. It's a good book and serves as an effective companion to the historical and political reportage that exists on the war. I recommend it.

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