A Reporter’s Marriage amid a Central African War
An award-winning journalist courageously reveals the personal cost of war reporting, vividly recalling his dangerous assignment and confronting its devastating impact on his family.
After ten years reporting from central Africa, Anjan Sundaram is living a quiet life in Canada with his wife and new-born. But when preparations for genocide emerge in the Central African Republic, he is suddenly torn between his duty to his family, and his moral responsibility to expose the conflict.
Soon he is travelling through the CAR, driven by a possible spy—discovering ransacked villages and locals fleeing imminent massacre, fielding offers of mined gold, and hearing of soldiers who steal schoolbooks for cigarette 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 has left behind.
Breakup illuminates the personal price paid by those bearing witness on the frontlines of humanitarian crimes across the globe. This brilliantly introspective, strikingly grounded account of perilous warzones and inner turmoil is sure to become a modern classic.
‘Riveting. . . . A powerful study of the forces that tear nations and people apart.’ — Publishers Weekly
‘Heroic frontline journalism about a conflict (and a region) not even news agencies are keen to cover. Sundaram is in a league of his own. . . recalls the best of Michael Herr and V.S. Naipaul but with humanity that steals one’s breath away. To shatter one of the gravest geopolitical silences: open this book. Your world will never be the same.’ – Junot Diaz
‘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
‘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 an award-winning author, journalist and television presenter, whose war correspondence has won a Frontline Club Award and a Reuters prize. Hailed as a ‘successor to Kapuscinski’, his previous books are Bad News: Last Journalists in a Dictatorship (an Amazon Book of the Year) and Stringer: A Reporter’s Journey in the Congo (a Royal African Society Book of the Year). Sundaram has reported from Central Africa for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Observer, Granta, Foreign Policy, Politico and The Associated Press. His books have been featured by Christiane Amanpour and Fareed Zakaria on CNN; by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show; and on BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week and Start the Week. Sundaram graduated from Yale University and holds a PhD in Journalism and Literature from the University of East Anglia.