Award-winning journalist Anjan Sundaram, hailed as “the Indian successor to Kapuscinski” (Basharat Peer) and praised for “remarkable” (Jon Stewart), “excellent” (Fareed Zakaria), and “courageous and heartfelt” (The Washington Post) work, must reckon with the devastating personal cost of war correspondence when he travels to the Central African Republic to report on preparations for a genocide hidden from the world, leaving his wife and newborn behind in Canada
After ten years of reporting from central Africa for The New York Times, Associated Press, and others, Anjan Sundaram finds himself living a quiet life in Shippagan, Canada, with his wife and newborn. But when word arrives of preparations for ethnic cleansing in the Central African Republic, he is suddenly torn between his duty as a husband and father, and his moral responsibility to report on a conflict unseen by the world.
Soon he is traveling through the CAR, with a driver who may be a spy, bearing witness to ransacked villages and locals fleeing imminent massacre, fielding offers of mined gold and hearing stories of soldiers who steal schoolbooks for rolling paper. When he refuses to return home, journeying instead into a rebel stronghold, he learns that there is no going back to the life he left behind.
Breakup illuminates the personal price that war correspondents pay as they bear witness on the frontlines of humanitarian crimes across the world. This brilliantly introspective, grounded account of one man’s inner turmoil in the context of a dangerous journey through a warzone is sure to become a modern classic.
About the Author
ANJAN SUNDARAM is the award-winning author of Bad News: Last Journalists in a Dictatorship and Stringer: A Reporter’s Journey in the Congo. His war correspondence won a Frontline Club Award in 2015 and a Reuters award in 2006 and was short-listed for the Prix Bayeux in 2015. Sundaram graduated from Yale University, where he studied mathematics, and holds a PhD in journalism from the University of East Anglia.
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"A remarkable and needed chronicle of a war gone missing from the collective moral conscience." —Jina Moore Ngarambe, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
“Works in the same fragmented modernist key as the prose of William Faulkner . . . Unnerving and memorable.” —Tom Zoellner, Los Angeles Review of Books
"Propulsive . . . Sundaram's honest writing serves both the personal and political well." —Booklist
"Sundaram’s descriptions of wartime Central Africa are riveting, and his political analysis is intriguing . . . An introspective . . . memoir about war and family." —Kirkus Reviews
"Riveting . . . A powerful study of the forces that tear nations and people apart." —Publishers Weekly
"A compelling journey of hatred and horror, of compassion and courage, through the wreckage left by French imperialism in the Central African Republic, what should be one of the most prosperous and productive countries in the world, leading the way for Africa. I can hardly imagine the bravery it took to compile this invaluable record" —Noam Chomsky
“This is the kind of investigative journalism I wish I had read much earlier in my career. Breakup is an understated yet emotive firsthand account of human rights atrocities often overlooked, and the price of attempting to tell these stories. Sundaram expertly captures the terrifying moment many crisis journalists experience but rarely share: when home begins to feel foreign, and living in a dangerous environment feels more normal than a happy life at home.” —Will Potter, author of Green Is the New Red
"An immensely powerful work, bringing to light, in compelling intimacy, an emblematic conflict that deserves far more attention than it currently gets in mainstream media." —Philippe Sands, author of East West Street
“A masterpiece. I was enraptured by the prose and it took me through a whole range of intensely felt emotions. I love all of Sundaram’s books but this one hit me hardest.” —Richard Grant, author of The Deepest South of All
"A wonderful blend of the public and personal, of war and love, told in clear and beautiful language." —Gary Shteyngart, author of Our Country Friends
"War destroys countries. War destroys love. At its heart, Breakup is about a forgotten war in a country far away. But it is also a universal story, beautifully written and passionately told, of a seeker on a dangerous journey, about the power of love and the eventual redemption that a child and family can bring. Breakup captures this in all its pain, joy, sadness, and mystery." —Janine di Giovanni, author of Ghosts by Daylight: Love, War, and Redemption
“I marvel at those journalists who put their lives in peril covering conflicts in countries that most people don’t know exist. Breakup is so gripping that I had to remind myself to breathe. Sundaram’s unflinching reflections on his inner conflict—his doubts, his terror, and the toll his work takes on his marriage—are even more admirable. This is an extraordinary work that will linger in my mind." —Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone
"Penetrating, courageous, indelible. Anjan Sundaram is an astonishing writer and this is such an important narrative, a terrain so few of us know. We should all read it." —Sunjeev Sahota, author of China Room
"Anjan Sundaram is one of the great reporters of our age. He writes with exceptional courage and deep humanity. An inspiring chronicler of the world and the spirit." —Fergal Keane, author of The Madness: A Memoir of War, Fear and PTSD "A breathtaking story, a rare testimony from a foreign journalist that highlights the incredible experience of an oppressed people caught in the crossfire of lawless militiamen in a country almost forgotten by the international media. I recommend that you read this reportage." —Didier Kassaï, author of A House Without Windows
"Sundaram's style in Breakup is like no other contemporary writer's I’ve read: elegant, pregnant, allegorical. It is a rare kind of experiential writing that trusts its readers and captures the ambiguities of modern life." —Eve Fairbanks, author of The Inheritors