Synopses & Reviews
Once in a decade comes an account of war that promises to be a classic.
Doing for Syria what Imperial Life in the Emerald City did for the war in Iraq, The Morning They Came for Us bears witness to one of the most brutal, internecine conflicts in recent history. Drawing from years of experience covering Syria for Vanity Fair, Newsweek, and the front pages of the New York Times, award-winning journalist Janine di Giovanni gives us a tour de force of war reportage, all told through the perspective of ordinary people—among them a doctor, a nun, a musician, and a student. What emerges is an extraordinary picture of the devastating human consequences of armed conflict, one that charts an apocalyptic but at times tender story of life in a jihadist war zone. Recalling celebrated works by Ryszard Kapus´cin´ski, Philip Gourevitch, and Anne Applebaum, The Morning They Came for Us, through its unflinching account of a nation on the brink of disintegration, becomes an unforgettable testament to resilience in the face of nihilistic human debasement.
Publisher Weekly Reviews
"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)
Veteran foreign correspondent di Giovanni (Ghosts by Daylight) brings her history of covering battle zones (among them Iraq the Gaza Strip Lebanon and Sarajevo) to this account of her experiences inside Syria from June to December 2012. Her work informed by her extensive experience as a journalist shows a keen ability to capture violent conflicts from multiple sides. Starting from the point when Syria after a short lived cease fire fell back into fighting she describes the collapse of communities with reputations for diversity and tolerance—among them Aleppo “the oldest continuously inhabited city on earth.” The peculiarities of modern urban warfare in which the smells and sounds of war permeate everyday life are graphically conveyed. Hunger prevails; vanquished diseases (polio typhus cholera) return; children are traumatized; and rape torture kidnapping and beheading become conventional weapons. 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. Though di Giovanni does not make Syria’s civil war and its repercussions rationally comprehensible she makes its reality fully tangible and tragic. Agent: Kim Witherspoon InkWell Management. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
"[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)
"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)
About the Author
Janine di Giovanni, the Middle East editor of Newsweek and a contributing editor of Vanity Fair, has won four major journalistic awards, including the National Magazine Award. She lives in Paris.
Janine di Giovanni on PowellsBooks.Blog
People always ask me if there was a trajectory, a leap to me becoming a war reporter, and my answer is always no. I think if I had set out to do it, if it was my goal and my intention, it never would have happened. Instead, it more or less found me. And I am a frightened person, afraid of the dark and spiders and fearful of the future with its big dark claws....