CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour often finds herself in flak jacket and helmet breaking news from the trenches in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, and the Balkans, but she’s equally at ease coiffed and suited, interviewing such heads of state as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Home in Manhattan is, thankfully, less frenetic. She values evenings spent reading with her eight-year-old son, Darius, and meals shared with her husband, fellow journalist James Rubin. We turned the tables on Amanpour while she was on the ground in Pyongyang, North Korea.
On your nightstand?
Right now I’m reading Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. The books that I enjoy most are the ones I read to my son now.
The Four Seasons in Washington, D.C. Perfect meal in New York, D.C., Paris, or Kabul? One with lots of good wine, food, and friends around. Or a romantic dinner with my husband.
Garry Trudeau, for Doonesbury.
Toughest place to live?
Kandahar under the Taliban, or Darfur now.
Must-have for the trenches?
Hands down, a Beretta trenchcoat.
Best news broadcast anywhere in the world?
After CNN? BBC World Service radio. I have been carrying it around on my shortwave radio since before CNN was born!
Hero or heroine?
Intrepid female journalists like Oriana Fallaci and Martha Gellhorn. Great men like Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and the Dalai Lama.
First thing you do when you check in to your hotel room?
If I’m alone, I turn on CNN.
Places you love/hate most?
I love Ile de Ré’s beautiful simplicity, great food, and family time. My mother taught me never to say “hate,” but there are some airports that sorely tempt me.
You get the call, you have to be out of the house in ten minutes. What do you pack to cover the biggest news story of the century? And you have only your L. L. Bean bag….
My Tod’s boots, which are still as good as new after 15 years of tramping around some of the world’s toughest terrain.