We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Alan Heil’s informative Voice of America: A History demonstrates that the process of getting the story can be as memorable as the story itself. A 36-year veteran of America’s overseas broadcast network (his career took him from VOA news writer to deputy director), Heil shows a fondness for reporters’ tales. Covering the aftermath of the Jordanian civil war in September 1970, he was the only civilian aboard a late-night C-130 flight between Athens and Amman. When Heil was summoned to the cockpit to share coffee and striking early-morning vistas, the pilot told him to “take the stick for a minute” somewhere over the Gulf of Aqaba. A page later, we find him filing from a makeshift hospital in Amman, watching a doctor jury-rig an electric magnet to remove a piece of shrapnel from the eye of a 10-year-old boy. In one of the book’s lighter moments, Margaret Meadlike Heil, she was in Greece during the 1969 moon landingchews him out for not waking her up at 3:30 a.m. to watch it live. To make peace, he offers to treat the renowned anthropologist to scrambled eggs. Heil reads at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Joe Dempsey)