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Butterfly Mind

Written by Patrick Brown

  • 264 Pages
  • 9780887848308
  • 8.400" x 5.300"
  • BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Editors, Journalists, Publishers
  • HISTORY / China
  • POLITICAL SCIENCE / Communism & Socialism


Publication Date August 01, 2009

Fascinating, revelatory, and powerful, Butterfly Mind is a memorable work from a renowned reporter on the front line of history.

In this memoir, award-winning journalist Patrick Brown weaves together three stories: the first is Brown's own education as a journalist over the past twenty-five years, and his parallel struggle with alcoholism. The second is the major political events of the past quarter century that Brown witnessed and covered -- including the shipyard in Gdansk, Poland, where the Solidarity movement began; Cambodia, where Brown reported on the impact of the Paris Peace Treaty; the fall of the Berlin Wall and the revolution in Czechoslovakia; and the wars in Afghanistan in 1992 and 2002. The third story is about China, which Brown first visited in 1989 during the Tiananmen Square protests and now calls home.

By comparing and contrasting his experiences as a foreign correspondent in societies in flux, Brown beautifully reveals how life in China today is both unique and surprisingly familiar, and how a so-called butterfly mind -- the ability to flit from one subject to the next with great flexibility and facility -- has allowed him to thrive in the middle of it.


Patrick Brown
Patrick Brown was born in Birmingham, England, and has been a foreign correspondent since 1980. He has also covered revolutions, elections, wars, and disaster throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, and has reported on China since 1989. His radio and television reports in English and French have won several awards. He lives in Beijing.


"...the book shows off his eye for that one telling detail or anecdote that can make a journalist's story memorable." Quill & Quire

"...a striking study of the eerie parallels between the struggles with alcohol and autocrats...[Butterfly Mind is] an incisive analysis of the major political convulsions of the past three decades by someone who's witnessed a good number. Brown weaves his own decline into a larger tale of tyranny and resistance in Lebanon, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Burma, Bulgaria, and, especially, China..." Walrus

"...compelling...The reportage, too, is excellent..." Globe and Mail

"...fascinating...Brown's personal story distinguishes Butterfly Mind from other I-was-there journalist memoirs..." Montreal Gazette

"...a modest, engaging reportage, marked by affection and curiosity, tinged with grace." Winnipeg Free Press