New York Times' C.J. Chivers can track firefights, but can't watch war movies


New York Times reporter and former Marine C.J. Chivers tells Esquire some of the things he's learned in reporting from conflict zones. "I try to get into a relationship with a good driver. Someone who's not going to panic. They teach me about local things, and I teach them which way to have the car facing in a dodgy place, where to keep the keys." He can "move through a firefight as if it's almost happening in slow motion and make a record of it, understand it, and on some days even anticipate where it's going as it's happening," but he can't watch war movies. And although he doesn't find it hard to transition to home life after returning from a war, he acknowledges the emotional toll when he slows down. "But, you know, maybe one of the secrets to dealing with that is I don't stop very often." Chivers also tells Esquire what he was doing when he learned Osama bin Laden had been killed.

Related: Chivers tells Terry Gross on "Fresh Air" that he was nearly bombed by a NATO plane while in a rebel-controlled area of Libya. "It sounded like the sky falling and I knew immediately what it was because I had been close to a bunch of airstrikes in Afghanistan," he says. "I had enough time for one thought. It was kind of two words fused as one. I thought, 'Airstrike. Dead.' And I thought they got us." NATO hasn't explained what happened. || Earlier: What news organizations owe the fixers they leave behind in foreign countries

  • Steve Myers

    Steve Myers was the managing editor of until August 2012, when he became the deputy managing editor and senior staff writer for The Lens, a nonprofit investigative news site in New Orleans.


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