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Don't Be Afraid of the Bullets: An Accidental War Correspondent in Yemen Hardcover – November 11, 2014

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"To read . . . Don't Be Afraid of the Bullets is to understand how Yemen rose up, nearly fell apart, and tried to put itself back together in 2011. It's a necessary primer on the chaos that has beset the country yet again." —Washington Monthly

"Kasinof’s book is an engaging read throughout and a moving tribute to the foreign journalists who risked their lives to report on the uprising, as well as the steadfastness of the Yemeni people who so bravely took to the streets demanding a better life." —Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

"[Laura Kasinof] provides vivid details of those years, bringing readers into the heat of the conflicts, into the mosques-turned-hospitals filled with the wounded and dying, and into the sitting rooms where she interviewed some of the most important men in Yemen . . . A moving portrait of life as a war correspondent. An action-packed account of the civil war in Yemen from a woman who experienced it firsthand."
Kirkus Review

"[Kasinof] pulls the reader into her heady, complicated mix of emotions. . . . Her passion for the country still makes for a compelling tale." —Publishers Weekly

"Well written . . . essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the details of events during this historic year in Yemeni politics." —British-Yemeni Society Journal

"This is a beautifully written, highly personal account of a young journalist's experience with revolution and war in Yemen. Kasinof offers a revealing portrait of the lives and work of a rising generation of young journalists at a time of urgent and perplexing changes. She weaves together their stories with a compelling account of Yemen's ambiguous revolution as witnessed by one of the few Western journalists on the ground. It is a gripping, thought-provoking read about how the news is really produced in today's turbulent Middle East."
—Marc Lynch, professor and director of the Institute for Middle East Studies, George Washington University

"A fast-paced journey through the Yemeni uprising that began in 2011, by someone who witnessed much of it first hand. Kasinof offers a welcome corrective to the pervasive view of Yemen as an incubator of terrorism and little else, showing the humility, humor, and grace of ordinary Yemenis as they attempt to navigate fiendishly challenging circumstances.
—Sarah Phillips, the University of Sydney, author of Yemen’s Democracy Experiment and Yemen and the Politics of Permanent Crisis

"As I was anxiously watching the political situation in Yemen unravel and become more dangerous in the years leading up to its Arab Spring, there was one reporter whom I read with interest and confidence, and that was Laura Kasinof. She clearly knew Arabic well, was familiar with the local scene, and talked to more than the 'usual suspects' when she wrote up her columns. To produce that kind of nuanced reporting required a person of tenacity and ingenuity, a true force of personality. This memoir provides us with a fascinating glimpse into both those turbulent years and the kind of fearless reporting it took to render them intelligible."
—Steven C. Caton, Khalid bin Abdullah bin Abdulrahman Al Saud Professor Of Contemporary Arab Studies, Harvard University

“Laura Kasinof has written one of the most fascinating books about Yemen. It paints an excellent portrait of the country’s politics and society. Just as it was essential to read Kasinof's reporting in 2011 to keep up with Yemen’s revolutionary news, it is essential to read Don’t Be Afraid of the Bullets to understand and capture the fuller and more complete picture of Yemen.”
—Farea Al-Muslimi, journalist, activist, and a 2013 Foreign Policy Leading Global Thinker

About the Author

Laura Kasinof is a freelance journalist who, at the age of 25, reported from Yemen for the New York Times during the Arab Spring protests of 2011. Laura's work has also appeared in the Washington Monthly, the Economist and the Christian Science Monitor, among other publications. Her first book, Don't be Afraid of the Bullets, chronicles the highs and lows of her year in Yemen. She lives between Colorado and Washington DC.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing (November 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1628724455
  • ISBN-13: 978-1628724455
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #440,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I couldn't put this book down! Ms. Kasinof is not only an excellent journalist who covered a situation when no one else was brave enough to do so, her work also makes it easy and fun to learn about the Yemeni protest movement. Kasinof gives many examples that get to the heart of the beauty (and the sadness) of the Yemeni people and the situation they face - bad governance, a weak state, poverty, dwindling resources, etc. What emerges is a narrative that reveals that Yemen is far more than just the battleground against Al-Qa'ida depicted in the U.S. media. The author is honest about her own weakness and insecurities. She gives us some insight into the brave (and perhaps slightly deviant or naive!) young people who commit themselves to immersion in Arabic language, culture, and politics. Kasinof is frank about how little she knew going into the situation, as well as what it was like becoming one among a small minority of experts on Yemeni politics. In addition to being informative, the book was also funny. I particularly enjoyed her tale about becoming a Yemeni soap opera star! Full disclosure: I am an academic who studies the politics of the Middle East. That said, I would recommend Kasinof's book to any person interested in getting a taste of the complexity of Yemeni political issues. It is readable, funny, sad, and true.
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Format: Hardcover
Don't Be Afraid of the Bullets gives the reader insight into both the personal struggle of living in a conflict zone as a foreigner as well as the national struggle that Yemen faced during the revolution in 2011. It provides excellent context for the continuing conflict in Yemen today. Her writing style also brings the reader into the world of Yemeni culture, leaving you feeling connected to the country long after you've finished reading (even if you've never set foot there!). It's a must read for anyone interested in Yemen, journalism, conflict zones, or the Middle East more broadly.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Kasinof does an incredible job at taking an immensely cryptic and foreign place and making it accessible to the reader. Throughout the book, the personality of so many Yemenis shines just as brightly as they do on the streets of the old city of Sana'a and they become human beings, just like the rest of us, and not just a headline from a strange place. The indefatigable humor and good will of the Yemeni people is interrupted throughout the book by violence inflicted upon them by their government. Learning about their struggle alone makes this book worth reading. Luckily, the author has done an incredible job of crafting an enthralling story about them as well as her struggles covering the conflict. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
Don’t Be Afraid of the Bullets is a compelling and thoughtful story about a young journalist caught up in the protests and violence of Yemen’s Arab Spring. Kasinof skillfully balances her own story with Yemen’s, pulling the reader into the front lines of action while also taking pause to reflect on the weight of these events. The author breathes refreshing honesty into the complicated mix of emotions, personal desires, and sense of purpose that motivated her to stay and report despite the dangers it posed. In doing so, she opens up a world previously unknown in Yemen, a place of striking beauty, rich culture and political intrigue. Ultimately, it’s the perseverance and fortitude of the young protestors that help define her journey, and Don’t Be Afraid of the Bullets endures in its conviction to find meaning amidst the flood of history.
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