The first time I saw an army cookbook in my home country of Israel, I was instantly smitten.
It was a book I had seen only in the US and the UK, but I had never been able to afford to buy one in Israel, let alone buy it in Hebrew.
A couple of years later, I stumbled across a book on how to cook in Israel that had a price tag of $300.
I could hardly believe that I was going to spend $300 to get the chance to watch a war photographer in action, and I bought it.
The experience changed my life.
The next few years saw me travel to Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Afghanistan to cover war, crime and peace, often with a camera.
I have spent the past decade traveling to Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Jordan and Egypt, covering the conflict there, the Syrian conflict, the conflict in Yemen and the unrest in Libya.
War photographer and documentary filmmaker John Maclean has spent more than 50 years documenting conflict, crime, and the international criminal justice system.
He has written and produced two books, including the award-winning film The Last One, which won the 2016 Sundance Film Festival’s Documentary Documentary award for Outstanding Documentary Feature and was nominated for the 2017 Emmy Award for Out of the Park Productions.
Maclean was born in Montreal, Canada, and raised in the small village of Mont-Tremblant, in northern Ontario, a small town in northern Quebec that was named for its proximity to the Canadian Arctic.
He is the son of a former Montreal police officer, who had an extensive criminal record, including a number of convictions for assault.
As a teenager, Maclean became an active member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, serving with the Special Operations Unit, where he worked on undercover investigations.
He was commissioned as a helicopter pilot in 1986, and was assigned to the Air Force, where his duties included flying spy drones over the Arctic.
At the time, Canada was experiencing an epidemic of heroin addiction.
In 1990, he was sent to Grenada to investigate the heroin trade, and after working his way through a series of raids, was awarded a Special Forces Special Forces Unit Unit Cross-Country.
The unit eventually disbanded, and Maclean returned to the Arctic in 1991, and spent three years there.
In 1995, he left the military and began working as a journalist, producing a series on Canada’s opioid epidemic.
In 2004, MacLean started his first documentary, The Last Night of the War, which chronicled the war in Iraq.
He spent the next four years working with journalists to produce documentaries about the war, the Afghan conflict and the civil war in Yemen.
The Last Night was published in 2013, and in 2015, Macleans first documentary film, The Siege, was released.
A documentary that examines the legacy of the conflict, MacLeans documentary is based on the personal accounts of former and current members of the Canadian Armed Forces who served in Iraq and have spoken out about their experiences during the conflict.
During his time working with Maclean, I had the opportunity to interview many of these former soldiers, as well as dozens of other military veterans, and to interview the men and women who were there on the ground in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.
During these interviews, we were able to learn about their lives and the experiences they had while fighting.
The documentary The Siege is the most comprehensive look at the military’s contribution to the war on terror, and it tells the story of the men, women and children who were deployed to the region, as part of the coalition forces fighting ISIS.
The film also looks at the challenges faced by the Canadian military as it struggles to rebuild from a disastrous invasion in 2002.
The Siege tells the stories of those who served, who were injured and who fought in Iraq from 2003-2009.
As a result of the documentary, Macleans first book, The Next One, was published.
It is a collection of essays and articles from his time in the military, and includes personal accounts from former and former military officers, veterans, academics and others, along with his work as a writer and documentary maker.
It tells the compelling stories of the lives and experiences of Canadian veterans, their families and friends.
“I was never a soldier, but as an old soldier I had to fight, and as a Canadian I was compelled to fight,” Maclean said.
I knew I had something to offer the world, but not just any soldier.
I wanted to change the world.
And to do that I had a duty to do something that I believed in.
I felt like I was doing the right thing.
And that’s how The Siege came to be.
It was a real honour to be asked to do this project, and my family and I are thrilled that we were invited to participate. John Mac