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American Rambler with Colin Woodward

Mar 5, 2021

Frank Smyth is a journalist with a long and impressive career covering war-torn places such as Central America and the Mid-East. His resume includes articles and stories for The Village Voice, The Nation, and The Washington Post. He is also the author of The NRA: The Unauthorized History (2020), the subject of the next American Rambler podcast. You can find Frank's writings at The Progressive and Frank's website.

In part one of Frank and Colin's conversation, Frank talks about how he went from a student at Boston College and Johns Hopkins to covering the complicated and often brutal war in El Salvador in the mid-1980s, where leftist forces battled with the U.S.-backed regime of President José Napoleón Duarte. In late 1989, six Jesuits were murdered at Central American University, and the international outcry led to an eventual ceasefire.

As if that weren't dangerous enough, Frank left Central America to write about the Gulf War and subsequent unrest in Iraq. Not long after the end of American ground war ended, Frank was captured in northern Iraq while reporting on the Kurdish uprising. He was imprisoned for eighteen days. Frank wrote a great piece on his grueling experiences while imprisoned. You can read it here: