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“Enjoy Pope’s bold curiosity” – Booklist

March 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Pope, formerly the Middle East correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, here recounts a career’s worth of regional reportage that began in the early 1980s, an arc that follows his pursuit of interesting stories and interviews, as with an Islamic militant who debates with Pope about whether to kill him. Danger is often present in Pope’s stories, and his daring stories reflect his determination to break out from templates in which Middle East news, in his view, is presented in America. Perceptions that radicals represent the whole of Islam is one that Pope seeks to dispel, an intention realized in his journey to Shiraz, Iran (associated with a fourteenth-century Persian poet) that indeed textures a variegated Islam, while his drive to find a new angle also characterizes the many wars he’s been compelled to cover, such as the Lebanese civil war and the American-led invasion of Iraq. His criticisms of the invasion and of Israel may grate some readers, but those interested in the interpersonal rather than the international will enjoy Pope’s bold curiosity in meeting people all over the Middle East. — Gilbert Taylor

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