Bad News: Last Journalists in a Dictatorship, by Anjan Sundaram
This one has been on my wishlist for some time, since Jenny at Reading the End talked about it (go read her version, it's more eloquent than mine). Boy howdy, is it good -- if by 'good' we mean 'riveting, important, and depressing.'
Anjam Sundaram, living in Rwanda, is teaching journalism classes to train Rwandan journalists as part of a general grant. Rwandan journalism is in deep trouble, as is speech in general, because the president of Rwanda is a dictator and getting more controlling all the time, rewriting reality and exchanging lies for truth. Journalists are alternately threatened and bribed, or just plain jailed, and the few who do not break down and become fawning lackeys usually end up fleeing the country and going into hiding.
The situation just gets more and more grim through the book. The Rwandan government uses all the best DDR tricks to keep surveillance on every citizen all the time. No one dares to speak out, and with the inability to speak or criticize comes, eventually, an inability to imagine anything different. As Sundaram sees his closest friends and colleagues hounded into escape, paranoia, or jail, he wonders how the future of the whole country can be salvaged.
Riveting, as I said, and I recommend it. This is also my #2 Book of Summer, but I'm not counting it for the Reading All Around the World project as it is not written by a Rwandan. I'll have to find something else for that!