Dirty Wars and Polished Silver

The life and times of a war correspondent turned ambassatrix

Growing up in 1960/70s Detroit, Lynda Schuster felt certain life was happening elsewhere. And as soon as she graduated from high school, she set out to find it. Dirty Wars and Polished Silver is Schuster’s story of her life abroad as a foreign correspondent in war-torn countries, and later, as the wife of a U.S. ambassador. It chronicles her time living through a war on a kibbutz in Israel, reporting on uprisings in Central America, dodging rocket fire in Lebanon, and grieving the loss of her first husband, a fellow reporter, who was killed only ten months after their wedding.

But even after her second marriage, to an American diplomat, all the black-tie parties and personal staff and genteel “Ambassatrix School” grooming in the world could not protect her from the violence of war. Equal parts gripping and charming, Dirty Wars and Polished Silver is a story about one woman’s quest for self-discovery—only to find herself, unexpectedly, more or less back where she started: wiser, saner, more resolved. And with all her limbs intact.

BUY

“A riveting international thriller . . . A page-turner thanks to lucid writing and thrilling storytelling.
 — Kirkus, starred review

Dirty Wars and Polished Silver is the fabulously entertaining story of Lynda Schuster's adventures as a foreign correspondent and wife of a U. S. diplomat. It captures all the glamour, intrigue, love, and, yes, loss that's to be found in a life lived on the frontlines, but it's also a deliciously fun (and funny!) story of transformation. A delight from start to finish.”
—Valerie Plame Wilson, author of Fair Game

“A wonderful, witty ride about hurtling towards happiness and embracing maturity. If you ever wondered: What do I want and how do I find joy? Dirty Wars and Polished Silver is a book for you.”
—Sonia Nazario, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Enrique’s Journey

“Lynda Schuster’s memoir Dirty Wars and Polished Silver is the story of a woman breaking down barriers to become an accomplished war correspondent, and an on-the-ground narrative of the conflicts that wracked the world in the 1980s and -'90s. It is also a tale of love, great loss, and love again that demonstrates the resilience of the soul. I recommend it to all, but especially to those who wonder how to succeed in life by following both their head and their heart.”
—Jeffrey Herbst, President and CEO, Newseum

“For the armchair traveler and imagined war correspondent, and for anyone who misses the tropical non-paradises of Africa and Latin America that furnished the intrigues of Graham Greene, I heartily recommend Dirty Wars and Polished Silver. It throbs with the romance, and the anguish, of a life lived in excitement and in peril, tracking sundry and dubious American missions abroad.”
—Roger Lowenstein, author of When Genius Failed and America's Bank     

“....This engaging, personal story of self-discovery will appeal to readers who enjoy memoirs of adventuresome and rebellious women.”
Library Journal

 

A Burning Hunger

One Family’s Struggle against Apartheid

On June 16, 1976, the youth of Soweto rose up in protest against a new rule making Afrikaans the language of instruction in their schools. Tsietsi Mashinini, a charismatic high school student, led them in demonstrations that quickly turned into South Africa’s biggest rebellion. Tsietsi’s actions on that day changed his country irrevocably and forever defined his family. The Mashinini name became the stuff of legend; many of Tsietsi’s twelve siblings and even his parents found themselves pulled inexorably into the fight against apartheid.

Originally published in the United Kingdom to critical acclaim, A Burning Hunger tells the tale of this remarkable family. Theirs is a story of imprisonment, torture and exile; it is also one of dignity, courage, and strength in the face of appalling adversity. Based on extensive research and interviews, this rich portrayal of one family’s struggle is a timely reminder of the passion that led ordinary people to extraordinary acts.

Buy

“Marvelous, rich and rewarding...”
The Times of London


A Burning Hunger is a vital reminder of one of the most intense political struggles in living memory. It's fascinating, triumphant and ultimately very sad.”
— Times Out


“Of all the valuable books I have read, Schuster's was the first to draw me so close that I could smell the burning tires that barricaded Soweto streets that week; I could smell the thick smoke of burning shops and police vehicles—all coupled with a family's burning hunger for survival.”
Mercury


“This must rank as one of the most important contributions to the history of the period. It is simply required reading.”
The Northern Echo

A Burning Hunger is the history of a South African family that suffered, resisted and finally triumphed over apartheid: a book that is as fascinating as the best novels.”
— Maria Vargas Llosa


“It is strange that no South African writer has thought of doing what Lynda Schuster, an American journalist, has done so well in this book— follow through the history of a black family in the context of the anti-apartheid struggle.”
— The Sunday Times


“This is an earnest and passionate historical account, crafted from meticulous research and study. It is a narrative made for captivating reading and painful reminder of the brutality of the apartheid system. The book is a welcome addition to a much needed but historically neglected genre of struggle biography.”
— Reverend Frank Chikane, Director-General in the Office of South African President Thabo Mbeki


“In A Burning Hunger, Lynda Schuster tells a tale that should have been told a long time ago.”
The Citizen

"Although A Burning Hunger gives a clear insight into the politics of the time, it is the exposed humanity of the family members that makes this book so compelling and poignant."
— Brainstorm


“The apostles of apartheid wanted African children to become hewers of wood and drawers of water. Lynda Schuster shows why those of Nomkhitha and Joseph Mashinini became brave freedom fighters instead. They were sustained by the spirit of their ancestors, their religious belief and their confidence in the leaders of the struggle. The story of the Mashininis is a lesson which both oppressors and democrats should read.”
— George Bizos, human rights advocate and author of No One to Blame: In Pursuit of Justice in South Aftrica


"It is a major contribution to the history of the struggle era, giving a human face to a family that was idolized by black South Africans and demonized in white South Africa.”
Business Day

A Burning Hunger | British Edition

ONE FAMILY’S STRUGGLE AGAINST APARTHEID

Originally published in the United Kingdom to critical acclaim, A Burning Hunger tells the story of the Mashininis, a remarkable South African family. On June 16, 1976, the youth of Soweto rose up in protest against a new rule making Afrikaans the language of instruction in their schools. Tsietsi Mashinini, a charismatic high school student, led them in demonstrations that quickly turned into South Africa’s biggest rebellion. Tsietsi’s actions on that day set in motion a chain of events that changed his country irrevocably and forever defined his family. The Mashinini name became the stuff of legend; many of Tsietsi’s twelve siblings and even his parents found themselves pulled inexorably into the fight against apartheid.

If the Mandelas were the generals in the fight for black liberation, the Mashinis were the foot soldiers. Theirs is a story of imprisonment, torture and exile; it is also one of dignity, courage, and strength in the face of appalling adversity. This record of one family’s struggle is a timely reminder of the passion for freedom that led ordinary people to extraordinary acts.