Few would dispute that Robert Fisk is the world’s most famous foreign correspondent. For more than four decades he has been reporting from the planet’s trouble-spots with the confident authority of a man who writes only what he has seen with his own eyes.

Wherever and whenever the darker chapters of modern history are being written – in Lebanon, Israel, Iraq, Iran, Algeria, Northern Ireland, former Yugoslavia – Fisk is rarely far from the thick of things, seeking out the truth with a commendable disregard for danger, and describing it with a scarcely less heroic indifference to received wisdom.

His courage and integrity have won him unmatched respect: he is trusted both by those he writes about and by his growing worldwide readership. Add to this a novelist’s flair for vivid evocation, a profound sense of historical context and an often prophetic gift for political analysis, and you have the ingredients for a truly great chronicler of human affairs. If journalism is the first draft of history, Fisk’s drafts are unlikely to need much revision.

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To list his achievements and awards in full would fill much of this two-volume collection of his dispatches. Better to say simply that The Independent is proud to be associated with him – and to devote the rest of the available space to this all-too-short selection of writing from a remarkable career.

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