Hannibal Free Public Library

It's What I Do

Lynsey Addario

January 23, 2017

2:30 - 4:00 pm



War photographer Lynsey Addario’s memoir It’s What I Do is the story of how the relentless pursuit of truth, in virtually every major theater of war in the twenty-first century, has shaped her life. What she does, with clarity, beauty, and candor, is to document, often in their most extreme moments, the complex lives of others. It’s her work, but it’s much more than that: it’s her singular calling.


Discussion Questions


  1. Before you heard about her book, did you recognize Addario as a war photo-journalist?  If so, what do you recall knowing about her? Did you remember seeing any of her images?
  2. Could you do what Addario does?  Have you ever known anyone who could?  How was this person different or similar to your other friends and acquaintances?
  3. When asked by Belinda Luscombe, “Do female photojournalists shoot war differently?” Addario replied, “On the front lines it doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman, so long as you keep up. But I think that in the Muslim world, where I work a lot, I have better access to women and children because the society is segregated by gender.”  What do you think:  Do you expect women to work differently than men?
  4. How did Addario’s life experience prepare her for America just after September 11th? 
  5. Give some examples of how Addario shows empathy in her photojournalism.
  6. Would you have made the same choices Addario made as she navigated a male-dominated career?
  7. How did marriage and motherhood inform Addario’s career? 
  8. Discuss Addario’s kidnapping in Libya.  What gave her the fortitude to survive?  Addario survived, but people died as a result of working with her. How does she live with that?  Could you live with it?
  9. By working at her career while pregnant, was Addario taking unnecessary risks?
  10. Would Addario’s memoir be as important without her images?  Why or why not?  Are the images stronger for Addario’s words?


Adapted from:  http://www.litlovers.com/reading-guides/14-non-fiction/10175-its-what-i-do-addario and from 10 Questions by Belinda Luscombe, Time, 3/16/2015, Vol. 185, Issue 9