The Vanishing: Faith, Loss, and the Twilight of Christianity in the Land of the Prophets

Janine Di Giovanni. PublicAffairs, $30 (272p) ISBN 978-1-5417-5671-7
In this informative work of journalism and memoir, war reporter Di Giovanni (Ghosts of Daylight) recounts her travels through the Middle East with a focus on rapidly shrinking Christian minority groups. While Islam is the majority religion of the region, there are sizable populations of Christian in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, and Egypt dating back to the founding of Christianity. In recent decades, Di Giovanni notes, they have suffered ethnic cleansing, political oppression, and the upheaval of civil wars. Di Giovanni’s insightful reporting traces the histories of these groups and emphasizes the cultural legacies they represent; among other topics, she explains the spread and impact of ISIS on Christian minorities throughout Syria and Iraq, and the “drum roll of violence and killing” targeting Coptic Christians within Muslim Brotherhood–controlled Egypt. The propulsive account is marked by the author’s keen eye for detail and the stories of the people involved, such as an Egyptian Coptic Christian jeweler who refuses to give up proclaiming his faith despite constant fear and public humiliations. This is perfect for anyone interested in the Middle East, or in how humans live through war. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 07/23/2021
Release date: 10/05/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
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