Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl became the focus of international concern when he was kidnapped by Islamic extremists in Pakistan while investigating a story. News of his brutal murder in February 2002 was universally denounced, a tragic loss of a good man and a compassionate journalist who was at home anywhere in the world.
At Home in the World celebrates Pearl's life through 50 of his best stories. Edited by his longtime friend and colleague, Helene Cooper, At Home in the World gives testimony to Mr. Pearl's extraordinary skill as a writer and to his talent for friendship and collaboration. With datelines from the United States and abroad, the articles showcase a dogged reporter who never lost sight of the humanity behind the news. A foreword by his widow, Mariane Pearl, and a contribution by his father, Judea Pearl, celebrate his desire to change the world, his basic decency and fair-mindedness and his sense of fun and love of family.
Mr. Pearl's eye for quirky stories -- many of which appeared in the Journal's iconic "middle column" -- and his skill in tracking leads, uncovering wrongdoing and making friends of strangers of all backgrounds and cultures are apparent throughout this carefully assembled collection. The selections range from child beauty pageants in the South to the making of the world's largest Persian rug to the Taliban's exploitation of a gemstone market in order to fund terrorism. Anecdotes from friends and colleagues in the introduction to each section provide background, context and a glimpse of his life at the Journal.
At Home in the World keeps alive Daniel Pearl's spirit through his words and the work that was so important to him.
One of the special talents of the late Wall Street Journal reporter Pearl, who was kidnapped and murdered by Pakistani Islamic extremists earlier this year while working on a story, was creating arresting leads. "Dusan Dujic has a seemingly modest ambition: to die in his own house," begins one of his stories, on the persistence of ethnic segregation in Croatia. "This is a small town in search of a really big floor," begins another, on the world's largest carpet in Ben, Iran. Yet this collection, which gathers 50 of Pearl's pieces from the last 10 years, makes it clear that the clever opening line was the least of Pearl's talents: he fills his elegant stories with memorable, vivid characters without sacrificing complexity. Selected by Pearl's friend and colleague Cooper, assistant bureau chief of the Journal's Washington bureau, the articles showcase his foreign correspondence (he worked in the London, Paris and Bombay bureaus, as well as in Atlanta and Washington, D.C.) and some of his niches: music, tech and communications; the "counterintuitive" story (Hindu India has a thriving cow leather industry; the war in Kosovo was not really genocide). The range of subject matter is wide: he reports on Pashtun Afghani refugees cheerfully making a profit by buying up afghanis every time there is a Taliban battlefield defeat; a new technique for surgically extracting caviar from sturgeon without killing the fish; and a nine-year-old "Little Miss Georgia" who was stripped of her crown on the kiddie beauty pageant circuit. Cooper has done a nice job choosing stories with staying power; though a handful of them do feel like old news, most of these thoughtful and often witty pieces will be a treat for readers who missed them the first time around and the book as a whole stands as a fitting tribute to a journalist who lost his life in the pursuit of truth.