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From the Preface:

"I went in behind the lines and emerged as a kind of agent. I went in as a reporter and came out a kind of soldier. I sometimes wish I had never gone in at all." – Paul Morton

War correspondents have long entered combat zones at great personal risk, determined to capture the conflict for those on the home front. But during World War II, Toronto Star journalist Paul Morton found himself not just reporting the war, but fighting his own personal battle in a shocking turns of events that led to disastrous consequences for his career.

Morton volunteered in 1944, to parachute behind Nazi lines and report on the guerrilla war being waged by Italian partisans. But, after he spent two months writing a series, the British Army changed its battle strategy and ordered stories on the partisans to cease.

Morton's stories were "spiked," and he was discredited as a correspondent. Morton was subsequently fired by the Toronto Star after they unfairly claimed his reporting was fabricated. Eye-opening and gripping, Inappropriate Conduct shares the dramatic true story of how Morton became the target of a ruthless campaign that shattered his journalistic integrity and his career.

Journalist Don North captures Morton's experiences from the beginning, using Morton's previously unpublished memoir and archival sources to create a seamless, powerful narrative that speaks to the tenuous relationship between the truth and propaganda during war.

"I have tried to discover the truth about Paul Morton for more than ten years, ever since my friend Peter Stursberg, a war correspondent in Italy and a friend of Paul's, told me the story. In many ways I identify with Paul Morton, since I was born Canadian and am a lifelong journalist with a deep respect for soldiers, prone to drinking too much, and often not very good at communicating with my bosses. Like Morton, I covered war close-up and to my regret, out of fear for my life, sometimes decided to go armed into a conflict zone.

In 1983, I spent two months behind the lines with the leftist guerillas in El Salvador, escaping with my life and a story for Newsweek—only to have the US Embassy there state that I was a liar for reporting a Salvadoran army massacre of civilians. I've spent most of the last fifty years not only thinking about, but experiencing the often rocky relationship of government and armed forces with the press.

So, yes. Paul Morton's experience strongly resonates with me, and made me want to find out why he suffered such an ignominious fate.

War changes and often harms not only its combatants but its eyewitnesses. Inappropriate Conduct is the story of a journalist who found himself not just reporting the war, but fighting it as well, with disastrous consequences for his career.

Paul Morton, a writer for the Toronto Star, volunteered in 1944 to parachute behind Nazi lines to report on the guerrilla war being fought by Italian partisans. But after Morton spent two months writing a series, the British Army changed its strategy and ordered news of the partisans to cease. Morton’s stories were "spiked," he was disaccredited as a correspondent and fired by the Toronto Star, who unfairly claimed his reporting was fabricated.  Inappropriate Conduct includes the dramatic memoir Morton wrote that was never published in English until now and the authors ten year research in the archives of Ottawa, London and Turin that uncovers the mystery of why an honest journalist’s life was destroyed in the supposed cause of  "the war effort."

Paul Morton was more complex than most of us. He could be able, elegant, difficult, personable, articulate, gay, ulcerous and improbable. He got caught up in a bizarre episode of the war. At a crossroads in his life, the frailties of his past reached out and poisoned his finest hour.

In many ways I identify with Paul Morton. I was born Canadian and have been a journalist all my life with deep respect for soldiers, prone to drink too much and often not good at communications with my editors. Like Morton I have covered war close up, fifteen since my first experience in Vietnam. In 1983, I spent two months behind the lines with partisans in El Salvador, escaping with my life and a story in Newsweek. Like Morton, I was called a liar when the US State Department said I fabricated a report on the Salvadoran Army massacre of civilians.

Don North

Inappropriate Conduct, Mystery of a Disgraced War Correspondent, a gripping, true story of
a WWII war correspondent and his mysterious fall from grace written by Don North in Fairfax, Virginia.
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