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Bad News

Bad News by Anjan Sundaram
Jan 12, 2016 | 208 Pages
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Praise for Bad News:

“It is nothing less than the best book written about Rwanda by an outsider, a massively important contribution to understanding what is one of Africa’s most important, inscrutable, regimes.”
Richard Poplak, All Africa

“Bad News‘ coverage of Rwanda is a true uncovering. Sundaram’s extraordinary reporting returns political stakes to literary ambition, reminding us that writing always participates in political life…. When we write, we celebrate the strange turn by which a word’s pinning of feeling and fact is not limitation but announcement of release. Denied this release, a country finds itself denied a public record—and public life.
Megha Majumdar, LitHub

“During Sundaram’s time in Rwanda, almost every major journalist he trained was either arrested or forced to flee the country. One writer who hadn’t yet joined the program was killed. Everyone else was so intimidated as to have been effectively silenced. The country was full of media dutifully spreading Kagame’s propaganda, but as far as Sundaram was concerned, real reporters were an endangered species.”
—Jordan Teicher, Los Angeles Review of Books

“Bad News: Last Journalists in a Dictatorship
” lead[s] the reader to a heightened recognition of how fear can be used to seep into any society, subtly at first, and then malignantly transformative.
Diana Nelson Jones, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Writing of his experience running a journalists’ training program in Kigali, Rwanda, Sundaram captures the quiet menace of his surroundings: The wide roads indicate progress but are in fact devoid of any life. The people scurry out of the perfectly sculpted streetlights’ sodium-vapor glare, afraid of attracting attention. And the bombs are immediately hushed up by the government, too quickly for anyone to notice, let alone write about in a newspaper…. Sundaram’s exposé is courageous and heartfelt.”
Aditi Sriram, Washington Post

Spotlight, the film about the Boston Globe’s reporting on sexual predators in the Catholic Church, has recently reminded us about the importance of investigative journalism—but Sundaram’s relatively unheralded new book is an equally important cultural document. Bad News is a searing illustration of the dangers associated with newsgathering in an authoritarian state, and a paean to those courageous enough to practice it in such dire circumstances.”
—Kevin Canfield, San Francisco Chronicle

“Few people have suffered the hideous fate of Rwandans in the modern era. It is shocking, painful beyond words, to see the darkness settling again in a dystopia that is crushing free expression and individual lives. This searing, evocative account, focusing on young journalists struggling to gain the rights they so richly deserve, provides insights about the human condition that reach far beyond the tragic story of Rwanda.”
—Noam Chomsky

“Once in a while, a book comes along with the potential to alter our understanding of a place and its history. Anjan Sundaram’s Bad News: The Last Journalists in a Dictatorship, which exposes the repression endured in one of the world’s poorest countries, is one such work. There has been plenty written about post-conflict society, but in the case of Rwanda, we rarely get such a cogent view of life inside an oppressive state bent on controlling the public narrative…. Make no mistake about it: there is a war going on against legitimate journalism the world over. Oppressive regimes and their PR firms are winning that war. But with Bad News, Sundaram boldly strikes back at the powers that be and his aim is true. Sundaram has pulled back a weighty veil and exposed layers of manipulation that are—for most of us—almost impossible to see.”
—African Arguments

“Sundaram’s insights are harrowing, his narrative fast paced and immediate.”
—Financial Times

“Powerful and shocking memoir… a damning indictment not only of the Rwandan regime, but also the western governments and agencies that have failed to question its practices.” 
Sunday Times (UK)

“Anjan Sundaram is a keen observer and a fine writer. In Bad News, he has rendered a chilling chronicle of the creeping totalitarianism taking hold in Rwanda that is as disturbing as it is unforgettable.”
Jon Lee Anderson

“A superb expose of a dictatorship… an important book… a desolate work, taut prose describing the stifling atmosphere of a nation trapped in fear.”
The Observer (UK)

“An unsettling account of journalists under fire.” 
—Foreign Affairs

“This is an important book for students of political science, modern history, and journalism.”
Publishers Weekly

“A powerful account of a nation 20 years later, still trying to recover from shocking genocide.”

“Sundaram’s talents show in his creation of an atmosphere of paranoia and dread…. A chilling account of reporters in danger that heightens awareness of the importance of a free press.”
Kirkus Reviews

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