Anna Politkovskaya won international fame for her courageous reporting. Is Journalism Worth Dying For? is a long-awaited collection of her final writing.
Beginning with a brief introduction by the author about her pariah status, the book contains essays that characterize the self-effacing Politkovskaya more fully than she allowed in her other books. From deeply personal statements about the nature of journalism, to horrendous reports from Chechnya, to sensitive pieces of memoir, to, finally, the first translation of the series of investigative reports that Politkovskaya was working on at the time of her murder—pieces many believe led to her assassination.
Elsewhere, there are illuminating accounts of encounters with leaders including Lionel Jospin, Tony Blair, George W. Bush, and such exiled figures as Boris Berezovsky, Akhmed Zakaev, Vladimir Bukovsky. Additional sections collect Politkovskaya’s non-political writing, revealing her delightful wit, deep humanity, and willingness to engage with the unfamiliar, as well as her deep regrets about the fate of Russia.
|Publisher:||Melville House Publishing|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.25(d)|
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Is Journalism Worth Dying For?Final Dispatches
By Anna Politkovskaya
Melville HouseCopyright © 2011 Anna Politkovskaya
All right reserved.
"I will not go into all the joys of the path I have chosen: the poisoning, the arrests, the menacing by mail and over the Internet, the telephoned death threats. The main thing is to get on with my job, to describe the life I see, to receive visitors every day in our newspaper’s offices....What am I guilty of? I have merely reported what I witnessed, nothing but the truth."
--From an article found on Anna Politkovskaya’s computer after her death; it is addressed to her readers abroad
Excerpted from Is Journalism Worth Dying For? by Anna Politkovskaya Copyright © 2011 by Anna Politkovskaya. Excerpted by permission of Melville House, a division of Random House, Inc.
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Table of Contents
1 Should Lives Be Sacrificed to Journalism? 7
2 The War in Chechnya 25
Part I Dispatches from the Frontline 27
Part II The Protagonists 79
Part III The Kadyrovs 113
3 The Cadet 173
4 Nord-Ost 221
5 Beslan 251
6 Russia: A Country at Peace 279
7 Planet Earth: The World Beyond Russia 297
8 The Other Anna 349
9 The Last Pieces 377
10 After October 7 387
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Anna Politkovskaya was a correspondent for the Novaya Gazeta newspaper and was an outspoken critic of the Kremlin and its policies in Chechnya. The definition of a hero in many people¿s eyes is a person who is admired for courage or noble qualities. Anna was more than a hero. She was the voice of the Russian people¿the suppressed, the murdered, the victimized. She was extremely brave to speak out for the atrocities done to the people in Chechnya and other parts of Russia. She was murdered in her apartment in 2006.This book is written in Anna¿s words in the format of news stories and investigative reports she had done over several years. She is one of many Russian journalists who has been murdered under Vladimir Putin¿s regime and the judicial process for these murders, promised by Putin, are slow and lacking in conviction.This is a very eye-opening book for those who do not know the details of what has been going in Russia for the last several years. It is a dangerous and many times fatal job to be a journalist in Russia and I commend newspapers like the Novaya Gazeta for hiring the people who take the risk for the good of the Russian people. They will have their hands full now that President Putin has announced that he will seek a third non-consecutive term in the 2012 presidential elections.Thank you to NetGalley and Melville House Publishing for giving me the opportunity to review this book.
While any Politkovskaya book is an emotionally intense experience, this one is particularly wrenching: it begins with articles she wrote during the final years of her life, including the articles that may have led to her murder, and ends with tributes--some heartfelt, some grudging--paid to her after her death by her friends, admirers, and enemies (Ramzan Kadyrov and Vladimir Putin's official statements are both included). The final impression is one of a person of superhuman forthrightness and integrity, who had the courage of her convictions and paid the ultimate price for them. Politkovskaya's writing is, as always, distinctive. She was not a flowery writer, although she was not afraid to use strong phrases when the occasion called for them, nor did she turn out carefully polished pieces of prose. Instead, her writing style is workmanlike and journalistic, aimed at drawing attention to the story she was covering, not her own artistic flourishes. It is vigorous and straightforward while also infused with an emotional sensitivity that can only be categorized as feminine. While, as I have discussed elsewhere, Politkovskaya was more sui generis, or in some cases an upholder of overt gender stereotypes, than a representative of the current American conception of feminism, she insists, loudly and repeatedly, that her, female, voice, and the voices of the women she interviews, are all important and must be heard. In fact, in a delightfully unexpected section of this book, she muses on the delights of the tango and how Russian women should demand more romance and passion in their lives. But this is just a sweet side note to the main business of the book, which of course is the war in Chechnya. More than half the book, and the bulk of her actual writing, is devoted to a series of blistering accounts of corruption and atrocities in Chechnya, including several articles about Russian officers, and one officer in particular, accused of the abduction, torture, and murder of Chechen civilians. These articles caused the officer in question to send death threats to Novaya gazeta, Politkovskaya's newspaper; instead of retracting her article and ending her investigation, the paper printed the threats and carried on covering the matter until the officer chiefly responsible was arrested and, in an unusual turn of events, convicted, it is assumed in part because of Novaya gazeta's coverage. Although Politkovskaya said herself in a questionnaire that is included at the beginning of this book that her professional credo was "What matters is the information, not what you think about it," she and her editors were crusaders who had no hesitation about jumping in the ring, instead of sitting on the sidelines. Western readers may find Politkovskaya's approach unusual, even at times off-putting--in fact, lots of Russian readers found her aggressive stance and unyielding commitment to the truth off-putting too--but I would say it is impossible to understand what is going on right now in Russia without reading a little Politkovskaya. It is fashionable these days to lament the decline of Russian literature and the hack-work of many contemporary Russian writers: a profession that was once the conscience of the nation and source for world-famous works of art has become just another cheap, low-brow commodity in the new, "freer" market-based economy. However, the real deal is that good writers are rare.