Unreasonable Behaviour: An Autobiography
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"McCullin is required reading if you want to know what real journalism is all about." --Times Literary Supplement
From the construction of the Berlin Wall through every conflict up to the Falklands War, photographer Don McCullin has left a trail of iconic images.
At the Sunday Times Magazine in the 1960s, McCullin's photography made him a new kind of hero. The flow of stories every Sunday took a generation of readers beyond the insularity of post-war Britain and into the recesses of domestic deprivation: when in 1968, a year of political turmoil, the Beatles wanted new pictures, they insisted on using McCullin; when Francis Bacon, whose own career had emerged with depiction of the ravages of the flesh, wanted a portrait, he turned to McCullin.
McCullin now spends his days quietly in a Somerset village, where he photographs the landscape and arranges still-lifes -- a far cry from the world's conflict zones and the war-scarred north London of Holloway Road where his career began.
In October 2015, it will be twenty-five years since the first publication of his autobiography, Unreasonable Behaviour -- a harrowing memoir combining his photojournalism with his lifework.
The time is right to complete McCullin's story.
huge bulk. The gang paid lip-service to him because they respected him, though even Bert could not be everywhere at once. The place acquired a reputation for drawing George Raft and James Cagney types from all over north London, who came with the sole intention of taking on the local hard nuts. Often they would end up laid out like dead bandits in one of those old-fashioned American photographs. Gray’s was in fact rather like a speakeasy, the obelisk revolving lights at your feet incessantly, as
impotence, and its inability to control what was happening on its own territory. I went to Dawson’s Field to photograph the planes as smouldering ruins. The passengers had already been evacuated, many of them to the Intercontinental. When I got back to the city, the Jordanian army had taken to the streets and were attacking Palestinian strongholds around the city. In our hotel, a Swedish reporter took a bullet in the leg; just down the road, in a smaller hotel, a Russian correspondent was shot
and financial services. It was like one great big racket that worked for everybody – or everybody with money. It was also known as the safest place in the Middle East. The greatest danger in Beirut when I first went there was of being knocked down by a whole Lebanese family parading on Hamra Street in high Gucci fashion. Journalists were drawn to the place, partly for its quality as a listening-post in the Arab world, but chiefly because its communications were so good. I must have passed
post-haste from some north European conference. On that occasion he’d had to use his considerable astuteness to plumb the African politics he was encountering for the first time. On this occasion, in the autumn of 1977, I was being sent to meet him in West Germany, very much his home ground. We were going to see a group of extraordinary old Nazis, with whom Tony had ingratiated himself. They were the survivors of Hitler’s own personal SS guards, the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler. They included an
family and place were still very strong. I had made the mistake a lot of men make; I had allowed myself to fall in love with someone else. It was a savage time emotionally. It was not long before I began to fret about work also. A crisis in the Falklands was blowing up. With my arm in plaster, like a broken jackdaw wing, I got on the phone to the office, disturbed that they hadn’t already been in touch with me about it. ‘Listen, I want to be in on this,’ I said. ‘Yes, okay. We want you to be