Books

Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press

All the Wrong Places

Adrift in the Politics of the Pacific Rim

by James Fenton

“James Fenton is part journalist, part Indiana Jones. He has been reporting from the front lines of the major upheavals in the Pacific Rim over the past 15 years, and in All the Wrong Places he has brilliantly captured the pathos, humor, tragedy, hope and desperation he witnessed.” –Marie Gottschalk, The New York Times Book Review

  • Imprint Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Page Count 288
  • Publication Date October 01, 1988
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8711-3204-8
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 9"
  • US List Price $9.95

About The Book

James Fenton is the right man in the wrong place in dangerous times. This journalist, poet, and critic is almost always at the center of a revolution. Fenton was one of the last journalists in Saigon, and his reporting from the abandoned American embassy, “where the looting had just begun,” is unlike any Vietnam coverage you’ve ever read. “Some people gave me suspicious looks; I was after all the only one there with a white face … so I began to do a little looting myself … Two things I could not take were reproduction of an 1873 map of Hanoi and a framed quotation by Lawrence of Arabia, which read “Better to let them do it imperfectly than do it perfectly yourself, for it is their country, their way, and your time is short.”

Reporting from war-ravaged Cambodia, Fenton lived for a while in a monastery, where the monks, certain he was a CIA agent, were fixated with his bout of constipation. In “The Snap Revolution,” Fenton chronicles Corazon Aquino’s assumption of power in the Philippines, from a vantage point so close “I could even tell you what perfume Imelda Marcos was wearing.” Fenton’s most recent posting is Korea, where he reports, in his inimitable fashion, on the recent riots and election in that complex country on the brink of civil convulsion. All the Wrong Places is a visceral and unforgettable view from the Pacific Rim.

Praise

“A brilliant chronicler of history-in-the-making on distant shores.” –Newsweek

“James Fenton is part journalist, part Indiana Jones. He has been reporting from the front lines of the major upheavals in the Pacific Rim over the past 15 years, and in All the Wrong Places he has brilliantly captured the pathos, humor, tragedy, hope and desperation he witnessed.” –Marie Gottschalk, The New York Times Book Review

“A riveting collection of Fenton’s audacious chronicles of war, unrest and revolution in Vietnam, Korea and the Philippines. . . . great travel writing.” –Mark Muro, Boston Globe

“The journalism of James Fenton – a British poet, foreign correspondent, and something on an intellectual freebooter – is rather like the places he writes about: hot, steamy, exotic, intense, sometimes darkly comic, often outrightly dangerous. It’s the stuff of Joseph Conrad, of Graham Greene.” –Jonathan Kirsch, Los Angeles Times

“Not only is Fenton an observer, but he is also a gifted listener. He never loses sight of the fact that wars and revolutions are all enacted by individuals whose voices, however obscure, allow us to retrieve these events from the embalming fluids of Official History.” –James Marcus, Philadelphia Inquirer

“Tough-guy, gritty prose about such grim and fascinating events as the fall of Saigon, the fall of the Marcoses, and, most recently, the political unrest in South Korea. . . . His style is all those things “good” reporting isn’t supposed to be: anecdotal, digressive, subjective, polemical; but because Fenton knows how to break the rules, it is also enormously successful. . . Vivid and intelligent reporting.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Fenton seems to have a knack for being at the wrong place at the wrong times, at least from the perspective of ordinary travelers.” –M Magazine