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A Mighty Heart: The Brave Life and Death of My Husband, Danny Pearl Hardcover – September 30, 2003

64 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

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.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (September 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743244427
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743244428
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,498,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Mariane Pearl is to be commended for this wonderful book. She weaves together the story of why she and Mr. Pearl were in Karachi, the current political situation that was taking place, and every emotion she went through when Danny disappeared. This book will ground you in the reality that there IS senseless hatred in the world, but it also will inspire the reader to look towards the future, where hopefully all can live in peace.

The glimpses Mrs. Pearl gives into her life are astounding, particularly when she retells her difficult birth to she and Danny's child. She also expresses her unique balance of inner strength and her will to fight for Danny with her inner calm and ability to still trust in the world.

After the epilogue, she has copied some of the numerous letters she received after the news of Danny's death, and they will restore your faith in humanity. Written by both common individuals and world leaders, these instill within the heart that there is good within mankind. The letters from adherents of Islam are especially poignant, and their calls for a peaceful, united world will bring tears to your eyes. Five stars.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By rebelmomof2 VINE VOICE on June 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
I picked this book (actually an older version of the hardback book) in a bargain book bin at a bookstore last year ~~ and since I am reading up on quite a bit about the Middle East and I knew that the movie was going to be out soon, I thought this would be a good time to read it.

When Daniel Pearl was kidnapped, I was pregnant and still working in the newsroom (nothing like the calibar of Wall Street Journal, mind you!). I remember reading avidly about the kidnapping and eventual murder of Pearl (though I refused to watch the video ... what a cruel thing to do to another human being!) but as time passes by, I got busy raising our twin boys. Reading Mariane Pearl's book on her experiences of waiting to see her husband again and being pregnant brought back memories of conversations I had with my husband. As a woman, I cannot imagine how harrowing it was for her during that time period nor can I imagine giving birth without my husband at my side. This book is a memoir to her husband's courageous stance and beliefs that truth is vital to human growth. It is also a memoir of Mariane's beliefs as well.

Mariane recounts her meeting with Daniel, her wedding (where she didn't stop smiling for the three-day party), her travels with Daniel and even their little routines that all happily married couples have. She recounts her fear and horror but her belief that Daniel will return home to her ~~ how she sees him defying his captors in little ways and how that uplifted her during that horrid time. She writes of the friends that she has made who searched for Daniel and tried to rescue him. She writes of her pregnancy and dreams for their unborn son. It is a beautiful love story that continues in defiance of the terrorists.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By M. Bouchard on December 11, 2003
Format: Audio Cassette
This book was a little slow to start, but about halfway through I couldn't put it down. I was hooked. The author lets us know many details of her life with her husband, truly a great man -- what a loss to the world is his death. She exhibits great courage, persistence, hope, and appreciation for those who assisted her through this ordeal. I was crying at several points in this book, even at the end, where she includes many of the letters of support she received from people all over the world. The other bus passengers must have wondered what was going on with me as I sat there reading with tears streaming down my face!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I found this book impossible to put down when I started reading it. I thought I would give it a quick skim and I was hooked. The story and the outcome are well-known, but there are many facts and details here that were not known at all to me.
Contrary to two Amazon reviewers from Pakistan who claim that the book expresses hatred for Pakistanis, the book reveals a woman who has no place in her heart for hate or prejudice or stereotypes. Indeed, she has deep emotional attachments to several Pakistani investigators who tried to find her husband before it was too late.
Mariane Pearl is amazingly kind, generous, and loving, as well as courageous. She faced her trauma with remarkable strength of character. At no point did she blame "Pakistanis," and she is remarkably restrained in what she says about the zealots and terrorists who killed her husband. She describes the experience she lived through and the loving relationship that she had with her husband, as well as describing the remarkable man that he was. They had a beautiful love affair, and her love for him is what sustains the narrative. At the same time, the reader learns about the abundance of terrorist organizations and their connections to Pakistan's elusive intelligence organizations (the ISI).
The book is a compelling narrative and I recommend it highly to anyone who wants to understand the world as it is today. It is a beautiful love story, a suspenseful mystery, a tale of international intrigue, and a guide to some of the scariest terrorist organizations in the world.
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