Most people were unfamiliar with Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl before his kidnapping and murder in Pakistan. In A Mighty Heart
, his widow Mariane introduces us to Danny as he was when he was alive while also providing a heart-breaking first person account of his disappearance and death. There are plenty of endearing details about Danny--his insistence on moving his favorite Barcalounger with him around the world, his love of playing mandolin, his private conversations with his unborn son--but the more remarkable portrait that emerges is one of extraordinary bravery. Danny placed himself in post-9/11 Pakistan, realizing full well that region's inherent dangers, because of his courageous dedication to getting the truth about attempted shoe bomber Richard Reid and other terrorist activity. When he is kidnapped and pictures are e-mailed to his wife, she notices that he's slyly showing the peace or victory sign with one hand and flipping the kidnappers off with the other. And while clues to his fate are still being pieced together, Mariane's story, until now, has not been widely told. Realizing Danny has been abducted, she must navigate underworld politics, the international spotlight, and her own shattered nerves in a race against time to save her husband. Along the way, with the broad array of people and agencies assisting the cause, clues are gathered about the kidnappers' identity and the intricate machinations of the international terrorist community. When his fate is finally learned, the spotlight does not abate even as she is devastated and awaiting the couple's first child. Mariane Pearl's candor is remarkable and her courage, along with that of her late husband, serve to make A Mighty Heart
, despite Danny Pearl's death, an uplifting story. --John Moe
From Publishers Weekly
When Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped by terrorists in Pakistan in 2002, his very pregnant wife, Mariane, was left to try to manage the search effort. In this memoir of the month between Pearl's kidnapping and news of his death, she is unflinching, revealing every emotional detail with such honesty that to call the book heart-wrenching is to minimize its power. A journalist herself, Mariane is adept at detail and pacing, letting the events unfold as they happened, complete with their frustrating dead-ends and the tangle of Karachi's bureaucracy. She weaves in memories and thoughts about Danny, which give the book a keen poignancy. She describes how they first met at a party of her mother's, where he looked like "an elegant extra-terrestrial casting a delighted but somewhat perplexed glance at the earthly specimens." Later, after they were married and Mariane got pregnant, he would lean close to her growing belly and talk to the baby in a made-up language he was sure the baby would learn post-birth. After the kidnapping, as she searched his computer for clues, Mariane stumbled upon quirky lists he made, like "Things I Love About Mariane." Such insight into Pearl's personality make the tragedy of his death even sharper. As Mariane deals with his murder and faces the birth of their son alone, she acts with the same sincerity and grace that brought her through the ordeal of the kidnapping. It's not difficult to see why, on the list of things he loved about her, Pearl included: "Has incredible ability to see herself and others with clear perspective."
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.