On July 4, 1962, near the beginning of the First Iraqi-Kurdish War, New York Times foreign correspondent Dana Adams Schmidt left his post in Beirut to be voluntarily smuggled into Iraqi Kurdistan. It was the beginning of a nearly two-month journey that would climax in a days-long visit with the leader of the Kurdish rebellion, the most loved and feared man in Kurdistan, Mullah Mustafa Barzani.
Accompanied by armed Kurdish guides and a 72-year-old Turkish interpreter, the six-feet-three-inch, seersucker-suit-clad Schmidt traveled, often at night, a secret route by foot, mule, horse and, on two occasions, jeep into the high Kurdish mountains to report on “the fightingest people in the Middle East” as no foreign journalist had done before. The physical dangers were acute—his group was strafed more than once by the Iraqi air force. Along the way, Schmidt learned about the history and culture of the Kurds, whose cause Barzani hoped Schmidt could convey to the world.
Originally published in 1964 and now back in print with a new foreword by historian Charles Glass, Journey Among Brave Men is an enduring testament to the power of audacious journalism and to the strong will of the Kurds, an embattled people who remain in search of an independent state today.
Praise for Journey Among Brave Men
“It is not often nowadays that eminent foreign correspondents steal away on borrowed mules into forbidden rebel territories, leaving no forwarding address and revealing no details of their route . . . One can only marvel at the author’s indefatigable industry and power of enthusiasm, which makes him one of the most reliable of all daily paper reporters . . . An excellent, fair and patently honest piece of work.”—Jan Morris, New York Times