Review: Book: Fools Rush In*

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By Devlin Smith
2004.03


Author: Bill Carter
Publisher: Doubleday

Somehow it?s fitting that I just finished reading Ernest Hemingway?s ?For Whom the Bell Tolls? before opening up Bill Carter?s memoir ?Fools Rush In,? the classic getting me in the mind set of an American caught up in a foreign war trying to both make sense and make a difference. Hemingway?s main character Robert Jordan is a university professor who becomes a dynamite expert in the Spanish Civil War, while Carter was a world traveler who?d done everything from work in an Alaskan fishery to work on film crews and ended up part of a guerilla aid group passing out food and supplies to people in Sarajevo during that regions civil war.

Love is a motivation for both men, Jordan falling for Maria during his last mission and Carter dealing with the loss of his girlfriend Corrina. Both men are also storytellers, wanting to share the truth of their individual experiences. Only Carter succeeded on that point, first by sending out interviews with Sarajevans across U2?s ZooTV screens, then with his award-winning documentary ?Miss Sarajevo? and now with ?Fools Rush In.?

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?Fools Rush In? isn?t just about Sarajevo, it?s about the experiences that lead Carter there and so many things that followed. The book transitions easily from mid-?90s Sarajevo to various points in Carter?s life, sort of following his own train of thought as he tries to understand why he ended up there in the first place.

In Sarajevo, though, Carter finds more questions than answers, not just about himself but about humanity, like how it would make any sense for close neighbors to suddenly become bitter adversaries or how in the midst of chaos and starvation, art and music can still thrive. Carter?s journey isn?t clear-cut, and he begins to doubt himself and his motivations, especially as his connection to U2 makes him both a hero and an easy target.

It?s hard not to get completely wrapped up in Carter?s story as he lays his entire life out. Like Hemingway, Carter reports the facts, not coldly but not over-the-top. War and heartbreak don?t need to be oversold, Carter doesn?t need to ask for sympathy for himself or those he meets along the way, by simply and accurately presenting their circumstances a real connection between reader and story can?t help but be made.

Hemingway?s greatness in stories like ?For Whom the Bell Tolls? was taking his reporting expertise and applying it to fiction, knowing how to best portray people and situations in the simplest ways. ?Fools Rush In? follows that perfectly, a true-life adventure delving into the best and worst the world and life have to offer. Carter?s book is startlingly honest, gripping and hard to shake. Sometimes only real-life can rival fiction.
 
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even if I'm lata, I want to thank you for this.
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