Scaring Myself Again: Far-flung Adventures of a Journalist


250 pages
ISBN 0-00-215786-1
DDC 070.4'332'092




Julie Rekai Rickerd is a Toronto broadcaster and public relations


After six years at The Globe and Mail as one of Canada’s finest sports
writers (а la Roger Angell) and two years as the paper’s China bureau
chief, Abel made the leap across the great divide to broadcast
journalism in 1986. Scaring Myself to Death is a superb and very
personal account of the “glamorous” world of a foreign correspondent
who worked for the CBC news program “The Journal.” Writing in the
elegant style for which he is known, and with his trademark sardonic and
self-deprecating wit, Abel takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride
through many of the world’s troubled spots.

Although the main narrative deals with the problems that emerged over a
28-day trip that began as coverage of the flight of the Kurds from Iraq,
Abel and his colleagues eventually wound up in Kuwait, where they
reported on the raging fires in the oilfields following the devastation
of Desert Storm. Understanding how and why all this came about is reason
enough to read the book.

Within the context of his latest adventure, Abel cleverly flashes back
to his many previous ones—in Romania during the Ceaucescu coup, China
the day after Tiananmen Square, and India, Thailand, and Brazil (among
others)—each with its own lengthy list of trials and tribulations. He
is refreshingly honest about the cost of these adventures to the
taxpayer, and extremely generous in praising the enormous contributions
of his colleagues. With the best of intentions, many thousands of
dollars and hours are frequently wasted through unforeseen
circumstances. Cameras do break down and access to places and people is
often denied. Abel is far from blind to the fact that his best sound
bites are often made possible by the misfortunes and misery of others,
and often require hours of gathering footage.

Fortunately, despite his ever-present fears, Abel continues “in the
field” and, it is hoped, will continue to chronicle his adventures and
misadventures abroad. This book is a perfect introduction to a great
print and broadcast journalist’s modus operandi, both professional and


Abel, Allen J., “Scaring Myself Again: Far-flung Adventures of a Journalist,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 19, 2024,