Hi! I’m Chris Woolf, author of “Bumbling Through the Hindu Kush: A Memoir of Fear and Kindness in Afghanistan” and I’m here to answer your questions about the book, about myself, my experiences, Afghanistan more broadly, or journalism or war or anything that interests you.
Today’s question is from Poppy in Bath in the UK and she wants to know who I am?
Who am I?
That’s a huge question in 90 seconds or less.
Well, I’m a Brit who now lives in the USA. I was, for 34 years, a broadcast journalist with the BBC World Service – pretty much always in radio. They say I have a great face for radio. In addition to Afghanistan, I’ve reported from Mozambique and Malawi. But all my trips into the field were pretty short because, as you’ll discover, I really wasn’t cut out for the life of adrenaline that is the life of a foreign correspondent in a war zone.
So for 20 of those years with the BBC, I worked in America, on a public radio program called The World (link: https://www.pri.org/) dealing with international affairs, which was all very interesting, and I was on air as the History Guy (link: https://www.pri.org/people/chris-woolf )trying to explain complicated foreign issues in a way that was accessible to everyone but without sounding patronizing or dumbing it down too much. Hopefully, I did okay.
I’ve always wanted my career to have some meaning, to be a public servant. In journalism, I felt like a bringer of truth. Before the BBC, I was another kind of public servant – a soldier – or at least a part-time soldier. I was in the British Territorial Army that’s the UK’s equivalent of the National Guard. I was an infantryman, of which I’m enormously proud. But that training really didn’t help prepare me psychologically for the real horror and terror of an actual combat zone.
Anyway, if you have any questions, I’d love to hear from you. You can write them here, or on my Youtube channel, or you can like us on Facebook and contact us there. Don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list and keep up to date with the book, Bumbling Through the Hindu Kush. Thanks for joining me here.