They don't make 'em like Ann Leslie any more. For decades, she has bestrode the world of British foreign correspondents like a colossus. Any journalist worth his or her salt will want to read her memoirs KILLING MY OWN SNAKES if only to pick up some good tips.
Leslie's anecdotes of daring deeds constantly entertain and sometimes horrify. She seems to have covered every international conflict over the last forty or so years, yet hates to be described as a 'war correspondent'. Her tales of covering various aspects of the Cold War are particularly evocative as is the chapter on her recent visits to Iran. She makes out she is not particularly brave, but that's nonsense. Time and again she has put herself in physical danger in order to get the story. And preferably get it before her Fleet Street rivals.
I first noticed Ann Leslie when she used to appear on Question Time in the early 1980s. She was always impressive on programmes like that because she wasn't (and isn't) afraid to voice an opinion. She tells in the book of her first appearance on Any Questions, which turned out to be a rather horrifying experience. She was sitting next to the Tory MP Sir Nicholas Fairbairn who proceeded to spend the whole programme with his hand on her crotch.
Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Ann Leslie as we were fellow judges on an award for World Statesman of the Year. I was slightly in awe of her at first, but she has a wonderfully natural way of speaking to you, as if you were the only person in the room that mattered.
Sometimes you look forward to reaching the end of a book. Not in this case!
If you have a friend or relative who is interested in world affairs or journalism, this book makes a great Christmas present. It's also on offer for £8 (reduced from £20) at my online shop HERE.