Nov. 15, 2017
Souad Mekhennet's book "I was Told to Come Alone" was named one of the 10 best non-fiction books of 2017 by the Washington Post:
In her memoir of 15 years of covering jihadists, journalist Mekhennet sets out to answer a perennial question: Why do they hate us? As a Muslim woman and brave, resourceful reporter who speaks English, German, French and Arabic, Mekhennet seems well-suited to the task. She explains the nature of reporting on jihad in her role as a Washington Post national security correspondent, the time spent waiting for sources to call back, puzzling over whom to trust. On several occasions, she gets anonymous tips about imminent danger to her life and whether militants or hostile governments intend to kidnap, torture or rape her. Her portrayals of al-Qaeda and Islamic State fighters and sympathizers in countries around the world make her memoir a work of significant merit. But what of her original question? In her telling, the root of hate is not Islam; it’s not U.S. politics or foreign policy, nor is it American racism or Islamophobia. The answer is elusive and troublingly mysterious.