A Mighty Book

As is the case with most books-to-film, the movie version can only encompass so much. A Mighty Heart (which opens today), is as sentimental as one might suspect, though of course the best details of the story are left within the pages of Mariane’s book. In the film version, Mrs. Pearl has many flashbacks of sweet moments spent with her husband as she works with the authorities to locate Danny.

The book has more of those moments, as well as Danny’s OCD habit of keeping lists on what he loves about the world and his wife, and a detailed memo to his bosses’ at the WSJ on the protection of journalists in hot zones, written after he returned from the Balkans in late 1999. It was very Jerry Maguire “mission statement,” only while Maguire's memo got him fired, Danny’s was simply ignored. His back up plan was the constant communication he kept with his wife, and her intuition was the alarm that went off the minute he was late for dinner the last night she ever saw him.

Mariane is Buddhist and Danny Jewish, but both believe in truth above all else. She wrote, “We believe we can change the world by changing the way people think about one another.” Thus the reason they traveled around the world in search of stories to tell to anyone willing to read them.

In 2002, former colleague and friend Helene Cooper edited a book of Danny’s top 50 stories from the Journal, At Home in the World. It’s a terrific way to get to know the man through his work, and see how he took in the world and gave it back to us. A Mighty Heart, on the other hand, is the story of how he loved a woman and how that love made this world a better place for us all.

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