Don't Be Afraid of the Bullets: An Accidental War Correspondent in Yemen

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9781628724455: Don't Be Afraid of the Bullets: An Accidental War Correspondent in Yemen

Laura Kasinof studied Arabic in college and moved to Yemen a few years later after a friend at a late-night party in Washington, DC, recommended the country as a good place to work as a freelance journalist. When she first moved to Sanaa in 2009, she was the only American reporter based in the country. She quickly fell in love with Yemen’s people and culture, in addition to finding herself the star of a local TV soap opera.

When antigovernment protests broke out in Yemen, part of the revolts sweeping the Arab world at the time, she contacted the New York Times to see if she could cover the rapidly unfolding events for the newspaper. Laura never planned to be a war correspondent, but found herself in the middle of brutal government attacks on peaceful protesters. As foreign reporters were rounded up and shipped out of the country, Laura managed to elude the authorities but found herself increasingly isolated and even more determined to report on what she saw.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Bullets is a fascinating and important debut by a talented young journalist.

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About the Author:

Laura Kasinof is a freelance journalist who, at the age of 25, reported from Yemen for the "New York Times" during the Arab Spring protests of 2011. Laura's work has also appeared in the "Washington Monthly," the "Economist" and the "Christian Science Monitor," among other publications. Her first book, "Don't be Afraid of the Bullets," chronicles the highs and lows of her year in Yemen. She lives between Colorado and Washington DC.


"To read . . . Don't Be Afraid of the Bullets is to understand how Yemen rose up, nearly fell apart, and tried to put itself back together in 2011. It's a necessary primer on the chaos that has beset the country yet again." Washington Monthly

"Kasinof’s book is an engaging read throughout and a moving tribute to the foreign journalists who risked their lives to report on the uprising, as well as the steadfastness of the Yemeni people who so bravely took to the streets demanding a better life." Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

"[Laura Kasinof] provides vivid details of those years, bringing readers into the heat of the conflicts, into the mosques-turned-hospitals filled with the wounded and dying, and into the sitting rooms where she interviewed some of the most important men in Yemen . . . A moving portrait of life as a war correspondent. An action-packed account of the civil war in Yemen from a woman who experienced it firsthand."
Kirkus Review

"[Kasinof] pulls the reader into her heady, complicated mix of emotions. . . . Her passion for the country still makes for a compelling tale." Publishers Weekly

"Well written . . . essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the details of events during this historic year in Yemeni politics." —British-Yemeni Society Journal

"This is a beautifully written, highly personal account of a young journalist's experience with revolution and war in Yemen. Kasinof offers a revealing portrait of the lives and work of a rising generation of young journalists at a time of urgent and perplexing changes. She weaves together their stories with a compelling account of Yemen's ambiguous revolution as witnessed by one of the few Western journalists on the ground. It is a gripping, thought-provoking read about how the news is really produced in today's turbulent Middle East."
Marc Lynch, professor and director of the Institute for Middle East Studies, George Washington University

"A fast-paced journey through the Yemeni uprising that began in 2011, by someone who witnessed much of it first hand. Kasinof offers a welcome corrective to the pervasive view of Yemen as an incubator of terrorism and little else, showing the humility, humor, and grace of ordinary Yemenis as they attempt to navigate fiendishly challenging circumstances.
Sarah Phillips, the University of Sydney, author of Yemen’s Democracy Experiment and Yemen and the Politics of Permanent Crisis

"As I was anxiously watching the political situation in Yemen unravel and become more dangerous in the years leading up to its Arab Spring, there was one reporter whom I read with interest and confidence, and that was Laura Kasinof. She clearly knew Arabic well, was familiar with the local scene, and talked to more than the 'usual suspects' when she wrote up her columns. To produce that kind of nuanced reporting required a person of tenacity and ingenuity, a true force of personality. This memoir provides us with a fascinating glimpse into both those turbulent years and the kind of fearless reporting it took to render them intelligible."
Steven C. Caton, Khalid bin Abdullah bin Abdulrahman Al Saud Professor Of Contemporary Arab Studies, Harvard University

Laura Kasinof has written one of the most fascinating books about Yemen. It paints an excellent portrait of the country’s politics and society. Just as it was essential to read Kasinof's reporting in 2011 to keep up with Yemen’s revolutionary news, it is essential to read Don’t Be Afraid of the Bullets to understand and capture the fuller and more complete picture of Yemen.”
Farea Al-Muslimi, journalist, activist, and a 2013 Foreign Policy Leading Global Thinker

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