Behind the Curtain of War

A Reporter in the Middle East and Elsewhere

October 2018, 260 pages

Available material: English sample

The debut work by the war correspondent and Czech Television reporter in the Middle East.

Jakub Szántó offers an insider’s detailed account of his experiences as a war correspondent in various corners of the Earth and different types of military conflicts and revolutions. He is professionally dedicated to his work, but he recalls his experiences in a personal, rather than objective, way. The dramas of front lines, child and juvenile soldiers, famine, destitution and the pain of war or revolution are presented vividly by an eyewitness who spent 20 years of his life experiencing them. The book is valuable not only as a personal testimony but also as a glimpse into the work of a war correspondent, a journalist in situations it is impossible to prepare for. As a history graduate, Szántó is also able to set the events he has observed and experienced in their historical context. The tragedy of the events related is softened by humour and irony. The book includes an extensive section of the author’s photographs from the field.


“An unusual insight into the life of a reporter who risks his life and deliberately heads into danger at a time when the work of a journalist is risky in itself. Szántó’s effort to be in the thick of it and find out what is really going on is invaluable at a time when some politicians are proclaiming alternative facts.”


“Szántó unveils and demystifies the work of journalists in the midst of turbulent situations and unpredictable developments.”

— Právo

Download English sample

From the sample translation

“Fuck, drive smoothly! I don’t want them to think they’ve got a reason to shoot at us!” I yell from the passenger seat at the technician, Michal Rydval. “If you want to get out, I’ll stop for you! I mean, they’re shooting at us.” Smack, smack, vzoom. It’s coming from the right, from my side. The bullets hit the asphalt and whirr past the car. Individual shots. Most likely a sniper, so probably an Israeli soldier. Ratata, tatata. That’s coming from the left, from Michal’s side. It must be a Kalashnikov, so that’ll be a Palestinian.”