Passport Stamps: Searching the World for a War to Call Home
A memoir by Sean D. Carberry
ISBN: 978-1-956440-55-3 paperback $22.95
ISBN: 978-1-956440-56-0 ebook $9.99
A candid, darkly comic, and emotionally naked tale of a former NPR journalist who—driven by grief, loss, and the desire to find his “tribe”—seeks solace in the world’s most dangerous places and his pursuit to join the ranks of combat-tested war correspondents. The learning curve of reporting in hostile environments is steep and at times comical, at others nearly fatal. He encounters a lot of dust, ragged infrastructure, weaponry, scary driving, whiskey, lust, and way too much food poisoning. When the assignment ends, he is left to confront the mental and emotional impact of the years of danger, death, and destruction.
What people are saying about Passport Stamps:
“I wasn’t who I was because I was a journalist, I was a journalist because of who I am.” We need such journalists. Sean Carberry has written a brave book for which there are no passport stamps—the soul highs and lows of intoxicating faith leaping around dangerous combat zones on a years-long adrenalin rush. This is a clarion call for better mental health treatment after a confusing exodus from that world, where writing knits together that which is frayed and keeps indelible experiences on the shelves of story, always.—Jacki Lyden, author of Daughter of the Queen of Sheba and former NPR host and correspondent
Passport Stamps brings to mind Gale Garnett’s “We’ll Sing in the Sunshine.” Carberry describes the evanescence of sunshine and darkness followed by the inevitable being “on the way” of a journalist. Carberry’s world is a tattered web of people and places: Serbia, Russia, Egypt, Columbia, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan—our simultaneously horrifying yet alluring broken globe. Passport Stamps records Carberry’s memories—accounts which make the reader ache for his forgotten life, real or imagined. It is a sharp, raking marvelous travel book, an autobiography rich with detail and ponderings about life.—Sam Pickering, author of The Gate in the Garden Wall, and “The Truth”
A lot of journalists come back from covering war and disaster and write the book about what they saw. Sean Carberry tells a different story—about what goes on inside of such a reporter’s mind out there. Hopes, dreams, fears, embarrassment, hard lessons. It’s all there, and it’s quite a yarn.—John Donvan, former ABC News correspondent, filmmaker, and author of In a Different Key: The Story of Autism
In this episode of Update-1, NPC Broadcast/Podcast Team Co-Chair Adam Konowe asks Carberry what drew him from the comfort of WBUR’s studios in Boston to many of the world’s hottest war zones. —Adam Konowe interviews Carberry for Update-1: War Correspondent Talks Craft and Challenges in New Book
Of immense value to readers with an interest in contemporary battlefield journalism, Passport Stamps: Searching the World for a War to Call Home is as inherently fascinating as it is impressively informative. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, Passport Stamps is a unique and unreservedly recommended addition to professional, community, and academic library Journalism collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.—Michael Dunford, Reviewer for Midwest Book Review
Sean Carberry is an award-winning journalist, writer, and editor. In his more than 15 years as a radio and print journalist, he has traveled to dozens of countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. He was NPR’s last Kabul-based correspondent in 2012 through 2014. After that, he spent several years working for the Defense Department Office of Inspector General, writing and editing oversight reports on counterterrorism operations, before returning to journalism. In a previous life, he was a Gold Record-winning recording engineer and producer. He has a B.A. from Lehigh University and an M.P.A. from the Harvard Kennedy School. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his cat Squeak who he rescued from the streets of Kabul.