The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Rodenbeck on Shadid

Max Rodenbeck reviews Anthony Shadid's House of Stone, remembers the man:

The grandson of Lebanese immigrants, Shadid had the flat American accent of his Oklahoma City upbringing and learned to speak Arabic fluently only later on. He would habitually lean forward slightly in interviews, projecting priestly gravitas as if from behind the screen of a confessional. His soft voice rarely seemed to prompt with anything so blunt as a question. The unfaltering kindness in his unblinking brown eyes, magnified by a midwesterner’s gently affirmative rhythmic nodding and accentuated by a Middle Easterner’s sympathetic slow shake of the head, with a raised eyebrow and a barely audible tsk followed by an intake of breath, combined to produce a magically cathartic effect. Long, detailed narrative confessions—great nuggets of journalistic ore—tumbled forth from Shadid’s interlocutors as if induced by a sudden burning need for expiation or redemption.

Get House of Stone on Amazon.