Joel's Reviews > Denial: A Memoir of Terror

Denial by Jessica Stern
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's review
Jul 20, 10

Read in July, 2010

I had dinner with Jessica Stern one night a few years ago. Cyril Taylor invited us to dinner with a Harvard professor and it turned out it was Jessica Stern. She's one of the countries foremost experts on terrorists and has published at least one book and several articles on the subject. Her approach was unusual - she went out and actually spent time interviewing them (in the same vein as Daniel Pearl was doing when he was caught and executed). When I asked about if she was fearful doing this type of work she said she had a preternatural calmness in the face of potential threat. In the course of our conversation as I tried to understand where that came from, she said it came from when she was a young teenager. She and her sister were at a relative's house doing homework, waiting for their babysitter to pick them up when a man broke in and raped them both at gun point. This book is her story of the rape and how it shaped her and her relationships and her work in her adult life. It is disturbing on the one hand, and hopeful on the other. Terrible acts of violence are committed upon people and still the resiliency of the human spirit compels them to live. Extremely well written.
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