Interviews with history and conversations with power
The temptation must have been great indeed to refuse an interview with Oriana Fallaci, journalist, war correspondent and novelist. There were those who claimed they never gave interviews, but consented to her request, all with prior knowledge of her work. Henry Kissinger called his interview, "the most disastrous conversation I ever had with the press." And this from the former Secretary of State who had negotiated with his political counterparts from the world's toughest neighborhoods. Maybe the challenge itself, to prevail over this particular journalist, was enough for world leaders, filled with hubris, to consent.
At times she too was challenged. She confessed that the toughest interview was the most brief and most difficult, and she could not wait for it to end, not because the man was rude, but because he was so closed and became increasingly less responsive as the interview proceeded. It was with Robert F. Kennedy.
Her questioning style was probing, prosecutorial and she was judge and jury. She never hid her opinions and, when deeply enraged, could be intemperate about them especially after the 9/11 attacks. Elena Poniatowska was her equal in bravery, with both reporting on the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre in Mexico City. This is Poniatowska's history of that event, Massacre in Mexico by Elena Poniatowska. Christopher Hitchens may be comparable in his audacious irreverence.
Read these interviews for the questions and the methodology; read them with a view to past and present world history. Especially with world events, read these interviews and judge if she fullfilled the job of a journalist to get at some truths and/or elicit reasons for actions taken or not by well-known world leaders.
Rizzoli Publishing reissued these previously published interviews and they are admonished for releasing this book with far too many printing/typographical errors.