My book review of 'Our Bodies Their Battlefield' by Christina Lamb

Our Bodies Their Battlefield

by Christina Lamb
Our Bodies Their Battlefield
by Christina Lamb

Warning: This is not an easy read.

In fact the subject matter is shocking, disturbing and distressing. But it's so brilliantly written, I couldn't put it down, and it's such an important subject, I hope that you'll read it too.

The respected journalist, Christina Lamb writes with great warmth and empathy and also huge power and conviction. 

During the past year, I've been fortunate to hear Christina Lamb speak online on a couple of occasions and have been inspired and energised by her quiet strength, courage and determination.

She has reported on wars for over 30 years and is currently the chief foreign correspondent for the Sunday Times. She has written numerous books and won many awards and accolades.

Nevertheless, the subject matter of this, her latest book, looked just too troubling for me to think about reading during these times. However, I picked it up yesterday and wasn't able to put it down.

Her desire throughout her career has been to present the whole picture, and for her that has meant ensuring women's voices and women's experience is seen and heard in her journalism. But in this book she goes further in highlighting the violence and humiliation accorded to women by armies, militias and terrorists time and again in situations all over the world.

There is no denying that what Christina details, what she has witnessed and documented in so many different areas of conflict, is horrific. But she writes about it so sensitively, so skilfully, that it is impossible not to engage with the women she has interviewed.

By hearing the personal story, the magnitude of the attrocities is only too clear. But also the strength, courage and fortitude of the survivors. When victims are faceless, it is easy for us all to turn away, but when you learn about individuals, their real and personal suffering, and the consequences for them and their families, you cannot look away.

"Bearing witness does not guarantee it won't happen again, but it can eliminate any excuse that the world simply didn't know," reads the introduction.

This is a powerful, moving and challenging read. It was not a book I thought I would be able to read, but I am grateful and pleased to have done so, and I hope you might take a look at it too.

Review date: March 2021
Publication date: 5th March 2020