Synopses & Reviews
For four and a half years, Pamela Constable, a veteran foreign correspondent and award-winning author, has traveled through South Asia on assignment for the Washington Post
. Following religious conflicts, political crises, and natural disasters, she also searched for signs of humanity and dignity in societies rife with violence, poverty, prejudice, and greed.
In Afghanistan, she made numerous visits while the country suffered under the hostile rule of the Taliban, attempted to reach the capital in a convoy that was ambushed and saw four journalists killed. She finally moved to Kabul in late 2001 to chronicle the country's post-Taliban rebirth. In Pakistan, she covered a military coup in 1999, immersed herself in the mysterious world of Muslim mosques and academies, and discovered both the extremist and tolerant faces of Islam. In India, she attended one of the largest spiritual gatherings of Hindu pilgrims in history and then rushed to the horrific aftermath of a devastating earthquake. She repeatedly visited the Kashmir Valley, where Pakistani-backed Muslim guerrillas are waging a seemingly endless war with Indian security forces. In Nepal, she covered the crown prince's massacre of the royal family and journeyed to remote villages where communist rebels brought rigid moral order to life. In Sri Lanka, she explored a tropical paradise where reclusive insurgents trained children to become suicide bombers in pursuit of a utopian ethnic homeland.
Between extended sojourns in South Asia, Constable returned to the West to reflect on the risks and rewards of her profession, revisit her roots, and compare her experiences with Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity. Her book is a uniquely personal exploration of the rich but solitary life of a foreign correspondent, set against a regional backdrop of extraordinary political and religious tumult.
"Fragments of Grace is likely to become a classic: part personal memoir of a journalist filing from some of the dangerous datelines in the world, part political history of South Asia on the cusp of the 21st century, and part travelogue. The book is written with a wonderfully evocative sense of place and a novelist's intuition." Peter Bergen, author of Holy War, Inc.
"Pam Constable's reporting from Afghanistan has been an example of the last best hope of journalism: the use of old fashioned travel writing to capture the elusive quality of places and place facts in their proper context, both of which go missing in the mindless search for breaking news." Robert D. Kaplan, author of Soldiers of God
"It is her reverence for many of the people she has met along the way that gives her writing its special haunting quality. Pam Constable has also woven a poignant self-portrait. This is the odyssey of a foreign correspondent who turns her searing gaze on herself as well as others." Anne Garrels, author of Naked in Baghdad
"For five years Pam Constable was our window on the coups, wars, revolutions, and assassinations that tore apart South Asia....This book is a bravura performance, forcing the reader to think beyond the headlines to a better understanding of how all of our lives are affected by events halfway around an ever-shrinking world." Stephen P. Cohen, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
For the past four and half years, the veteran foreign correspondent for the Washington Post has traveled through South Asia following religious conflicts, political crises, and natural disasters. She documents her search for signs of humanity and dignity in societies rife with violence, poverty, prejudice and greed. Photos. Maps.
A uniquely personal exploration of the rich but solitary life of a foreign correspondent, set against a regional backdrop of extraordinary political and religious tumult.
About the Author
Currently based in Kabul, Afghanistan, Pamela Constable has been covering South Asia for the Washington Post since April 1999, spending four years as the region's bureau chief. She is the coauthor with Arturo Valenzuela of A Nation of Enemies: Chile Under Pinochet. She has been awarded an Alicia Patterson Fellowship and the Maria Moors Cabot Prize, and she recently completed her tenure as the Pew International Journalism Program's journalist-in-residence.
Table of Contents
Chapter One Into the Fog
Chapter Two The River
Chapter Three Ashes in the Snow
Chapter Four The Hidden Heart
Chapter Five The Wrath of Allah
Chapter Six A Country Without Faces
Chapter Seven Tropic of Terror
Chapter Eight The Face in the Coffin
Chapter Nine Rebirth