As I hoped, this book is intelligently written, with a blend of insight, analysis and anecdote. The book itself treads a fairly conventional line, but Mr Snow's story is not particularly conventional. The early chapters deal with childhood as the son of a public school headmaster and soon-to-be Bishop, VSO work in Uganda, student days, protests and sit-ins at the University of Liverpool, and running a drugs/homeless drop-in centre in central London, before moving into a career in journalism and broadcasting. Oh, and attracting the unwelcome attentions of MI6 human resources department.
From the end of the Vietnam war onwards, Snow seems to have covered many of the Cold War proxy conflicts throughout the developing world - returning to Uganda under Idi Amin; covering the Iranian revolution; the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan; and various troubles in central America, as well as several years as ITN's Washington correspondent. This background gives some authority to the depressing (though not surprising) view Snow presents of American foreign policy - variously clueless, impotent and trigger-happy. Like most journalists, from time to time he describes the chase and competition between reporters, including his cousin Peter Snow.
Among the especially interesting sections, Snow describes his momentary contemplation of committing murder; how the first English-language TV interview with a Pope lies somewhere in the Caribbean; his appointment as Washington correspondent over Trevor MacDonald's credentials as a "safe pair of hands"; and the inability of Reagan and the US administration to cope with Gorbachev's leadership. It's a well-rounded volume that affirms the regard in which Channel 4 News is generally held.