The Morning They Came for Us

The Morning They Came for Us

Dispatches From Syria

Book - 2016
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WW Norton
Once in a decade comes anaccount of war that promises to be aclassic.
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.

Foreign correspondent di Giovanni, a veteran of conflicts in Bosnia, Rwanda, Somalia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Chechnya, Afghanistan, and Iraq, recounts 2012 Syria through the stories of ordinary people whose lives changed forever. As she arrived people were leaving as war moved closer to Syria’s doorstep. Talking to as many people as she could from as many denominations and backgrounds as possible, she aimed to learn how Assad’s supporters told their country’s story and to present the narratives of those who suffered under the regime as well. She cites the signs of impending chaos: Syrians who identified as such started calling themselves Alawites, Christians, Sunnis, Shias, or Druze instead; normalcy ended as barricades went up, soldiers were recruited, neighbors built defenses, banks closed, and ministers were assassinated. Annotation ©2016 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (

& Taylor

An experienced and award-winning journalist describes life in Syria during one of recent history's most brutal conflicts through the eyes of everyday people, including a doctor, a nun, a musician and a student.
Describes life in Syria during one of recent history's most brutal conflicts through the eyes of everyday people, including a doctor, a nun, a musician, and a student.

Publisher: New York : Liveright Publishing Corporation, c2016
ISBN: 9780871407139
Branch Call Number: 956.91042 DIG
Characteristics: xvii, 206 p. :,maps ;,22 cm.


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Feb 22, 2017

One of the most personal (from a foreigner's point of view) and best books about the war in Syria. It gives a clear eyed view of different sides, and di Giovanni - with her long experience in war zones - is deeply self aware too.

If you haven't read any Syrian history, or at least middle eastern history, you may find this book confusing and meandering. But if you have a general idea about the history of the region, this book will make you feel as though you've been on a guided tour.

Jan 15, 2017

There were times when this book was so harrowing, I had to put it down and take a break from the descriptions. Janine Di Giovanni does not shy away from painting a real picture (with interviews from real people) of the war in Syria. Torture, bombings, rape, murder... It is a tragic tale and one in which I feel more Americans should educate themselves. I do wish Giovanni had given more historical background of the war, the Arab Spring, and Assad himself. She takes off from the gate and writes in a way that assumes the reader has the same knowledge she does. In those times, the book can become confusing. But, she is a reporter, not a historian, so if you're not familiar with how and why the war started, you may find yourself doing some extra research while you read. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be frustrating at times.

Aug 10, 2016

Very bad writing, essentially at a high school level. Disorganized, incoherent, rambling, speculative, dramatic. I suggest readers just look to their newspapers to learn about this subject. (Maps are bad too, disoriented, and lacking locations for places mentioned in text)

ChristchurchLib Jun 12, 2016

Right now, Syria isn't so much a place that people jet off to as it is a place they escape from. Even so, armchair travelers can visit via award-winning foreign correspondent Janine di Giovanni's latest book. Taking readers on an eye-opening journey to the troubled country ruled by a dictator and riven by civil war, di Giovanni describes the brutality of post-Arab Spring life here. Having been based in the Middle East for over two decades, she knows Syria and evocatively shows it to readers through the stories of everyday people, including doctors, nuns, activists, a baker, a musician, and a student. A "brilliant, necessary book" says Kirkus Reviews.

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