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Publisher's Summary

Mark Colvin is a broadcasting legend. He is the voice of ABC Radio’s leading current affairs program PM; he was a founding broadcaster for the groundbreaking youth station Double J; he initiated The World Today program; and he’s one of the most popular and influential journalists in the twittersphere.

Mark has been covering local and global events for more than four decades. He has reported on wars, royal weddings and everything in between. In the midst of all this he discovered that his father was an MI6 spy. Light and Shadow is the incredible story of a father waging a secret war against communism during the Cold War, while his son comes of age as a journalist during the tumultuous Whitlam and Fraser years and embarks on the risky career of a foreign correspondent.

Mark was witness to some of the most world-changing events, including the Iranian hostage crisis, the buildup to the first Gulf War in Iraq and the direct aftermath of the shocking genocide in Rwanda. But when he contracted a life-threatening illness while working in the field, his life changed forever. Mark Colvin’s engrossing memoir takes you inside the coverage of major news events and gently navigates the complexity of his father's double life.

©2016 Mark Colvin (P)2016 Audible, Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    4 out of 5 stars

Probably of most interest to Australian readers

I really enjoyed this book, but I think that was in large part because I'm a contemporary of Mark Colvin and have listened to his reports for decades and hold him in high esteem and affection. But so much of his story has Australian references which would be lost on anyone not familiar with Australian geography, history, politics, and culture. To take just one example: If you don't know what The Dismissal refers to, this book is probably not for you (or you'll have a lot of looking up to do along the way). I am happy for Mark to keep his private life private, but I was surprised that the first mention of a woman in his life was reference to a wife and son - when did they appear? Nonetheless, it was an interesting trip through his journalistic career and his fitting together the pieces of his father's espionage puzzle. It was a great pleasure to listen to Mark's familiar voice narrating his story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anthony
  • Mount Lawley, Australia
  • 01-20-17

Beautifully written and narrated

Mark shines a light on English public school life, espionage and diplomacy, foreign correspondence, Australian journalism, his own fascinating story and much more. A beautiful story beautifully told.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great read

having grown up a decade behind Mark it was like listening to the soundtrack of my life.. he seem to have been in the right spot at the right time to capture some of the 20th centuries definitive closing moments

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  • David H. Cats
  • 05-13-17

A Masterpiece

Expertly written, hypnotic and beautifully narrated. RIP Mark Colvin, the world misses you and is the worse for your absence.

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  • Liv
  • 08-26-17

Enjoyable

Great narration, interesting story, coherent and easy to follow. A good filler between books. Give it a go.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Lucy
  • 10-25-17

Loved it

Loved every word of this wonderful book. Mark Colvin reads it beautifully, it’s interesting and well written, I highly encourage everyone to download it!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-06-17

History from an eyewitness.

What a great book.

The story of Mark's life as told in this book is nothing short of amazing, if for no other reason than the places he's visited and times he was there.

From the fall of the Shar in Iran to the Granville train disaster, Mark covered many monumental events that affected Australia and the world.

It was a sad loss for Australia when Mark died earlier this year.

Jandy Nelson said, "Each time someone dies, a library burns."

In Mark's passing, nothing could be truer.

Buy this book for your young children and give it to them when they're old enough to appreciate it, or as a teaching aide to assist them to learn history from an actual eyewitness.

RIP Mark, we lost a true national treasure when you passed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • G from OZ
  • 02-11-17

Riveting and educational

A riveting account of his and his father's roller coaster lives, simultaneously providing a modern history lesson of world affairs over the past 50-60 tumultuous years. Written with unmatched intellect, wisdom and humility. Loved it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • 10-16-17

Miss you, Colvin

ABC Radio is a lesser place without Mark Colvin.
The way he presents this story gives a great insight into what made Colvin the character we loved listening to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • nelly dean
  • 07-30-17

Absolutely riveting ! I was always a dedicated fan

I'm so grateful he left us this book . His insights and back stories make much sense now .
The way he tells a story is just like following a path that twists and turns with intrigue .
The cruelty he suffered in the 'private boarding school ' was just so typical of the times .... I'm so glad that Dickensian style of education is not the norm today . But rather the exception ! Thankyou Mark Colvin you taught me well and I've passed it on .

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-20-17

So many more questions...

This was a fantastic read. I have been a long fan of Marks journalistic capabilities and this memoir did not disappoint. I had saved this for our family holiday and quickly became addicted. His early years were covered in quite detail. But the remainder seem seemed quite rushed. In the acknowledgements he said he became ill about 2/3 the way through and took a while to come back to it. It does show somewhat. There were a number of sections where the voice tone was noticeably different. Perhaps some sections were re-read? The less detailed post 1980's memoir raises many additional questions. It's such a shame that he's no longer with us to ask. Highly recommended for anyone interested in Australian journalism and international affairs from an Australian perspective.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Padraig
  • 10-15-18

Too much detail

I did not finish this book as my patience ran out. There is far too much detail to wade through to extract the account of an interesting life and many fascinating anecdotes. An abridged version would be a lot better. The author, who reads the book, comes across as self-important and a little pretentious. The reading becomes tedious after a while.

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  • Kim Wingerei
  • 10-08-18

A great story by a legendary journalist

Even if you don’t know the name, you will remember the mellifluous soothing voice of the late Mark Colvin – ABC foreign correspondent for decades, including presenter on Four Corners, Lateline and many more. A legend of good old fashioned journalism at its best. He sadly passed away far too early in 2017. His autobiography – ‘Lights ad Shadow: Memoirs of a Spy’s Son’ is a terrific read.
From covering the American hostage crisis in Tehran in 1979 to the Rwanda genocides in 1992, Colvin reported first hand from some of the most pivotal moments of recent history. His anecdotes about those early days of his illustrious career are fascinating insights into how much technology has changed journalism and how the media works.
Like many other autobiographies by media people it is light on personal insights, except for the at times fractured but enduring and ultimately loving relationship with his father, who was a spy for British Intelligence, but without Mark and his sister knowing until well after their dad was retired. It adds an extra dimension of intrigue to some of the dramatic world events that Colvin witnessed.
The book is as well written as you’d expect from a man who lived his by the word. I listened to it on Audible which added to the enjoyment as hours upon hours of listening to his voice is about as calming as it must have been for Americans to hear Walter Cronkite in the sixties and seventies. May they both rest in peace – we need more of their kind now than ever!

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  • Stephen
  • 06-18-18

Great read

Wonderful book for anyone I'm Australia and aware (or unaware as I was) of its history in media and politics as well as the broader world.
Wonderfully read and put together.