The Vanishing

The Vanishing : The Twilight of Christianity in the Middle East

3.58 (12 ratings by Goodreads)
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3.58 (12 ratings by Goodreads)

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**Longlisted for the Moore Prize for Human Rights Writing**

'A tragic portrait of a disappearing world, created with passion and literary grace' SALMAN RUSHDIE

'Janine di Giovanni is a humane and persistent witness' HISHAM MATAR

'Profoundly moving' MARK TULLY

The Vanishing reveals the plight and possible extinction of Christian communities across Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine after 2,000 years in their historical homeland.

Some of the countries that first nurtured and characterized Christianity - along the North African Coast, on the Euphrates and across the Middle East and Arabia - are the ones in which it is likely to first go extinct. Christians are already vanishing. We are past the tipping point, now tilted toward the end of Christianity in its historical homeland. Christians have fled the lands where their prophets wandered, where Jesus Christ preached, where the great Doctors and hierarchs of the early church established the doctrinal norms that would last millennia.

From Syria to Egypt, the cities of northern Iraq to the Gaza Strip, ancient communities, the birthplaces of prophets and saints, are losing any living connection to the religion that once was such a characteristic feature of their social and cultural lives.

In The Vanishing, Janine di Giovanni has combined astonishing journalistic work to discover the last traces of small, hardy communities where ancient rituals are quietly preserved amid 360 degree threats. Full of faith and hope, di Giovanni's riveting personal stories make a unique act of pre-archeology: the last chance to visit the living religion before all that will be left are the stones of the past.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 153 x 234 x 29mm | 544g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1526625830
  • 9781526625830
  • 269,711

Review quote

A tragic portrait of a disappearing world, created with all of the great Janine di Giovanni's passion and literary grace -- Salman Rushdie An award-winning war correspondent, with a particular expertise on the Middle East, di Giovanni focuses on the persecution and "vanishing" of Christian communities in the Middle East - the birthplace of the religion. Focusing in particular on Egypt, Gaza, Iraq and Syria, she examines the impact of Islamist militancy and tells the stories of the individuals and families affected * FINANCIAL TIMES, Best summer books of 2022 * Janine di Giovanni, a former winner of the Courage in Journalism prize, is a shining example of the dwindling band of investigative reporters -- Martin Chilton * * di Giovanni brings a compassionate perspective to her narrative, interweaving complex, sometimes dense history with evocative vignettes and interviews * Economist * Extraordinary ... di Giovanni has a fine way of capturing landscapes and people * Spectator * Janine di Giovanni is a humane and persistent witness who knows when to stand out of the way, has a unique ability to be both unflinching and tender and, most importantly, never forgets that war is always a human tragedy. And because the story of Arab Christians is also the story of the Arab Middle East, the book is a record of the painfully fractured region, the consequences of war and foreign intrusion, of which its peoples, of all faiths, but particularly its minorities, have suffered most -- Hisham Matar Profoundly moving -- Mark Tully Janine di Giovanni's beautifully written and deeply researched study of Christian communities in Iraq, Gaza, Syria, and Egypt is important not only for what it reveals about those vital but largely effaced communities, but also for its careful examination of an issue that is far more complex - as so much is in the Middle East - than typically presented or understood ... A compelling and powerful study -- Sara Roy Gorgeously written and deeply felt -- Elle Hardy Janine di Giovanni, a former winner of the Courage in Journalism prize, is a shining example of the dwindling band of investigative reporters * * Ms di Giovanni brings a compassionate perspective to her narrative, interweaving complex, sometimes dense history with evocative vignettes and interviews * Economist * There could scarcely be a better person than Janine di Giovanni to write about the disappearing Christians of the Middle East * Irish Times * Di Giovanni writes elegantly, her reporting informed partly by being a Christian herself * Daily Telegraph * This is an interesting work of journalism that mixes personal reflection with a patchwork of reportage * Prospect Magazine * Each book of hers should be required reading ... In addition to contextualising the conflicts, Janine shared the human stories ... She exposes what we find so hard to confront in humanity * Tablo, The Secret Life of Writers * A moving and insightful portrait of the Middle East's shrinking Christina population * Catholic Herald * The Vanishing is unique because di Giovanni is not seeking a solution, and indeed knows there may not be one. As a war reporter for 30 years she knows the reality of man ... I like The Vanishing because it's true, and people in the West need to read the truth, even if they don't like it and can't do anything about it * First Things * Praise for Janine di Giovanni: It is crucial to reveal the human stories behind the news - and Janine di Giovanni does this with heartbreaking eloquence -- Elif Shafak * Financial Times * 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 * New York Times * 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 * Few writers can match her evocations of individual suffering in wartime * Newsweek * Compelling reportage at its best * Economist * Janine di Giovanni has described war in a way that almost makes me think it never needs to be described again -- Sebastian Junger Read this book and you may begin to understand what war looks and feels like * Spectator * Janine di Giovanni writes with unblinking courage about war, death, marriage, motherhood, loss, love, redemption, fear - indeed, about all the world's most pressing risks and dangers ... Her writing here (as ever in her remarkable career) is a great and important achievement -- Elizabeth Gilbert
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About Janine di Giovanni

Janine di Giovanni is a journalist and author, and Senior Fellow and Lecturer at Yale University's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. She has won more than a dozen prizes, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Blake Dodd Prize; her other awards include the National Magazine Award, two Amnesty International Prizes and the prestigious Courage in Journalism Prize. She is the author of nine books; her most recent, The Morning They Came for Us, was translated into 30 languages and was a finalist for the New York Public Library Award. di Giovanni was awarded the Foreign Correspondent Association Professional Excellence Award in 2021. She lives in Manhattan with her son.
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Rating details

3.58 out of 5 stars
- 12 ratings
5 8% (1)
4 42% (5)
3 50% (6)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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