The Arab Islamic world is known for religious extremism, ethnic conflicts, and, now, the overthrow of seemingly unshakable regimes. But if anything has become clear, it’s that our understanding of the region remains shrouded and incomplete. The seeds of revolution, radicalism, and—possibly—reform are buried in the individual stories of millions of people whose lives determine the fates of their societies, people whose motivations are as common, and as strange, as our own. Here is one of those stories—and the story of how this world is being transformed, one life at a time.
Joseph Braude is the first Western journalist ever to secure embed status with an Arab security force, assigned to a hardened unit of detectives in Casablanca who handle everything from busting al-Qaeda cells to solving homicides. One day, he’s given the file for a seemingly commonplace murder: a young guard at a warehouse killed in what appears to be a robbery gone wrong. Braude is intrigued by the details of the case: the sheer brutality of the murder; the identities of the accused—a soldier—and the victim, a shadowy migrant with links to a radical cleric; and the odd location: a warehouse owned by a wealthy member of one of the few thriving Jewish communities in the Arab world. After interviewing the victim’s best friend, who tearfully insists that the true story of the murder has been covered up by powerful interests, Braude commits to getting to the bottom of it.
Braude’s risky pursuit of the shocking truth behind the murder takes him from cosmopolitan Marrakesh to the proud Berber heartland, from the homes of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the country to the backstreets of Casablanca, where migrants come to make fortunes, jihad, and trouble, but often end up just trying to survive with dignity.
The Honored Dead is a timely and riveting mystery about a society in transition, the power of the truth, and the irrepressible human need for justice.
©2011 Joseph Braude (P)2011 Random House
Joseph Braude in The Honored Dead: A Story of Friendship, Murder, and the Search for Truth in the Arab World, takes the reader inside an Arab security force in Casablanca. In so doing, he provides a true crime story about a robbery (or something) that has gone wrong and a victim left for dead. The story lopes along until Braude, an American, starts interviewing family members and friends of the dead man. Then he confronts security force officials to solve the murder. Along the way, the reader gets an inside look at how the culture works, conflict between the "old ways" and new ways of looking at the world conflict, and the courage it takes to unravel a murder mystery there. Thoughtful, interesting, and informative to the reader of true crime and the general reader with an interest in the region in general. The reading of Benson Simmonds is a plus.
The premise of the story is compelling, it starts out promisingly. The initial pacing was good but the author does not stay as focused in the middle. Although I enjoy context in a story, when context overshadows the plot I am disappointed. I did gain a perspective on Morocco.
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