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The Morning They Came For Us: Dispatches from Syria 1st Edition
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“Devastating . . . . Like the work of the Belarussian Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich, Ms. di Giovanni’s book gives voice to ordinary people living through a dark time in history; and like Anthony Shadid’s powerful 2005 book, Night Draws Near (which recounted the aftermath of the American invasion of Iraq), it chronicles the intimate fallout that war has on women, children and families. A longtime reporter who covered the wars in Bosnia, Chechnya and Sierra Leone, Ms. di Giovanni writes here with urgency and anguish ― determined to testify to what she has witnessed because she wants ‘people never to forget.’ . . . . Her testimony is contained here in this searing and necessary book.”
- Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
“Necessary, difficult and elating. [Di Giovanni’s] reporting from the Syrian revolution and war is clear-eyed and engaged in the best sense – engaged in the human realm rather than the abstractly political. . . . Such reporters as Giovanni, who not only visit but also live (and often die) through wars not their own, are heroic. These are the Marie Colvins, Paul Conroys, Ali Mustafas of journalism, reporters motivated by commitment to the act of witnessing.”
- Robin Yassin-Kassab, The Guardian
“Di Giovanni's work, informed by her extensive experience as a journalist, shows a keen ability to capture violent conflicts from multiple sides…This book, haunted by the international failure to intervene effectively, gives readers an on-the-ground experience of the devastating seasons that followed the promise of the Arab Spring…[Di Giovanni] makes its reality fully tangible and tragic.”
- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“With a potent mix of sensitivity and outrage, Di Giovanni relates firsthand accounts of deprivation and suffering from the people caught up in the conflict…[T]heir stories reveal in harrowing detail the horrific nature of the war. The expert perspective of this seasoned war correspondent proves invaluable to understanding Syria today.”
- Booklist (starred review)
“[Di Giovanni] is a master of war reporting, especially its civilian side. Thanks to her bitter sacrifice, Western readers may begin to appreciate the chaos that Syrian refugees continue to flee. This brilliant, necessary book will hopefully do for Syria what Herr's Dispatches (1977) did for Vietnam.”
- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Di Giovanni presents a devastating picture of the horrors of civil war and the disintegration of Syrian society.”
- Elizabeth Hayford, Library Journal
“It is crucial to reveal the human stories behind the news – and in The Morning They Came for Us, Janine di Giovanni does this with heartbreaking eloquence…Her account of Syria is a testimony to the power of empathy, conscience and understanding.”
- Elif Shafak, Financial Times
About the Author
Janine di Giovanni, Middle East editor of Newsweek and contributing editor at Vanity Fair, has won seven major awards, including the National Magazine Award and two Amnesty International Awards. Her work is widely anthologized, and her article from Harper’s, "Life during Wartime," was chosen by Paul Theroux for The Best American Travel Writing. The author of seven books, di Giovanni is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, where she was a Pakis Fellow. She lives in Paris.
Top customer reviews
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I've been involved in humanitarian and human rights work for decades, and worked with torture victims from the Bosnian war. However, the graphic descriptions of torture here are harrowing and difficult to read, and the suffering of the victims difficult to comprehend. Torture can be justified for any reason in the minds of those who use it. This is made clear by the comments of the perpetrators here. In this respect as well, this book is about the use of torture throughout history; the motives are the same, the victims dehumanized, their suffering justified. It winds together the human capacity to justify torture, and war, and to rationalized its use: from early human history to the Nazis to the Khmer Rouge to the Russian gulags to our own country's use by the Bush administration, its use is always justified in the minds of the torturers.
Also, in this and other ways, this book shows how the fabric of society--the collective experience of whole populations--breaks down and becomes fragmented in war. Like in Bosnia, these Syrian people who once identified as "Syrian" broke down into smaller tribes and factions. War destroys commonalities and can make neighbors and relatives enemies.
Last, what further makes this such a painful read is that the Syrian war is ongoing--still going strong and mercilessly. For those who are surviving through it, their suffering continues day after day, by each and every one.
Somewhat repetitive toward the end f the book but still a very good read.
Most recent customer reviews
It is stunning, shocking, devastating, and soul crushing.Read more
This is what war is and we do not see.Read more