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The Morning They Came for Us

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Winner of the Hay Festival Award for Prose Winner of the 2016 IWMF Courage in Journalism Award Shortlisted for the New York Public Library's Helen Bernstein Excellence in Journalism Award Shortlisted for the 2017 Moore Prize for Non-Fiction Literature In May of 2012, Janine di Giovanni travelled to Syria, marking the beginning of a long relationship with the country, as she began reporting from both sides of the conflict, witnessing its descent into one of the most brutal, internecine conflicts in recent history. Drawn to the stories of ordinary people caught up in the fighting, Syria came to consume her every moment, her every emotion. Speaking to those directly involved in the war, di Giovanni relays the personal stories of rebel fighters thrown in jail at the least provocation; of children and families forced to watch loved ones taken and killed by regime forces with dubious justifications; and the stories of the elite, holding pool parties in Damascus hotels, trying to deny the human consequences of the nearby shelling. Delivered with passion, fearlessness and sensitivity, The Morning They Came for Us is an unflinching account of a nation on the brink of disintegration, charting an apocalyptic but at times tender story of life in a jihadist war - and an unforgettable testament to human resilience in the face of devastating, unimaginable horrors.
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A searing, intimate account of the conflict in Syria by someone uniquely equipped to tell the story from the inside, winner of the Hay Festival Award for Prose 2016 and the 2016 IWMF Courage in Journalism Award


About the Author

Janine di Giovanni has reported on war for over 20 years. She has written seven books, including the critically acclaimed Madness Visible, The Place at the End of the World, and, most recently, a biography of the Magnum Photographer Eve Arnold. She is the Middle East Editor of Newsweek, a contributing editor for Vanity Fair and a regular contributor to the New York Times, Granta and Harper's among many others. A frequent foreign policy analyst on British, American and French television, she has won many awards including Granada Television's Foreign Correspondent of the Year Award, the National Magazine Award, two Amnesty International Media Awards, the Spear's Memoir of the Year Award for Ghosts by Daylight and the Hay Festival Award for Prose for The Morning They Came For Us. She is a Fred Pakis scholar in International Affairs at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, has served as the president of the jury of the Prix Bayeux for war reporters and is a media leader at the World Economic Forum, Davos. She lives in Paris with her son. @janinedigi


At once necessary, difficult and elating. Her 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 -- Robin Yassin-Kassab * Guardian * 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 ... Ms. di Giovanni writes here with urgency and anguish ... Her testimony is contained here in this searing and necessary book -- Michiko Kakutani * New York Times * Di Giovanni writes vividly and we see with her how Damascene supporters of Assad drift away as the brutality of his rule became impossible to deny ... Di Giovanni explains to us how horrible it all really is * Evening Standard * Precisely observed... The strength of the writing comes out in the more subtle moments... Di Giovanni's [book] is full of passion and self-questioning -- Roger Boyes * The Times * This is a desperately sad book but it's a vital read ... **** * Mail on Sunday * Di Giovanni is responsible for some of the most poetic reportage from Syria ... Her writing stays with you * New Statesman * Heart-breaking ... Di Giovanni confronts the nightmarish subject of sexual violence as a means of terrifying prisoners early in this extremely harrowing book. Unsensational but unsparing * Observer * Janine di Giovanni has described war in a way that almost makes me think it never needs to be described again * Sebastian Junger * One of our generations finest foreign correspondents * Daily Telegraph * Few writers can match her evocations of individual suffering in wartime * Newsweek * Di Giovanni is a war reporter whose courage is matched only by her compassion for her subjects * Evening Standard * Vividly depicts the lives of ordinary people dealing with extraordinary events: life and death during a time of bitter armed conflict * LA Times * Heartbreaking . . . . [A] haunting reminder of what the Syrian revolution, ultimately, is about. . . . Amid our obsession with ISIS, these tales are worth remembering -- Anand Gopal * New York Times * Necessary, difficult and elating. Her 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. Giovanni's account is deeply personal ... 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 * Guardian * 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. How did millions of Syrians - both ordinary people and the elite - carry on from one day to the next? As Giovanni gives us the answers, it is clear that she is far more than merely a visitor. Her account of Syria is a testimony to the power of empathy, conscience and understanding -- Elif Shafak * Financial Times * Di Giovanni's eloquent, devastating book tells the stories of individual suffering behind the dreadful statistics of a conflict for which there seems no hope of resolution * Daily Mail *

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