From the Publisher: Jan 8 1990

James Wilde's presence in revolutionary Rumania last week surprised none of us: after all, the foreign correspondent is hardly a stranger to bloodshed and chaos. In 30 years with TIME, Wilde has reported on wars from Viet Nam, Africa and the Middle East. During the war in Biafra in the late 1960s, when the eastern part of Nigeria tried to secede, Wilde not only came under frequent ground fire but was strafed by Nigerian jet fighters as well.

One of his most terrifying moments, though, came not in some far-off jungle but in New York City in 1981 when he was...