Writer and journalist. Time, reporter and columnist, 1997-2005. Worked as a reporter for Entertainment Weekly. Guest on television shows on CNN, Fox News, and NBC.
Understanding September 11th: Answering Questions about the Attacks on America, Viking (New York, NY), 2002.
Understanding the Holy Land: Answering Questions about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Viking (New York, NY), 2005.
Author and journalist Mitch Frank is a political reporter and columnist for Time magazine and Time Online. A former Hollywood reporter for Entertainment Weekly, Frank further honed his journalistic skills with his coverage for Time of the embattled 2000 U.S. presidential election. While working on a story in the late summer of 2001, however, Frank found himself close to the scene of the devastation of the September 11th terrorist attacks, reporting only three blocks away from the World Trade Center when it collapsed, noted a Time Online biographer. Subsequently, Frank wrote Understanding September 11th: Answering Questions about the Attacks on America. In the book, Frank "boldly tackles the largest questions about the 9/11 attacks, in remarkably simple, accessible language," commented Gillian Engberg in Booklist. Frank approaches the topic from a journalist's standpoint, asking simple but direct questions, then finding and presenting the answers. He addresses the characteristics of terrorism and jihad; the differences between al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations; the identity of the hijackers; the nature of Islam; and the reasons for attacking the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Frank carefully explains the political, cultural, and religious underpinnings of the attacks; explores the areas where Islam and terrorism intersect and diverge; details multiple reasons for U.S. political and economic interest in the Middle East; and clarifies why the Middle East should matter to Americans. Engberg called Understanding September 11th "direct, unflinching, intelligent, and humane." A Publishers Weekly critic praised Frank's work as a "useful framework for examining the possible motives for the terrorist attacks and the U.S. government's subsequent responses."
Frank adopts a similar question-and-answer framework in Understanding the Holy Land: Answering Questions about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. As he did in Understanding September 11th, Frank asks, then answers, important questions about the long-term conflict between Palestine and Israel and its effects on the Middle East and the rest of the world. "In simple, straightforward language, making no assumptions about any prior knowledge, Frank tackles the task of sorting out the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," noted Patricia D. Lothrop in the School Library Journal. He offers explanations of how Israel was founded, the nature of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), the claims made by both sides in the dispute, and other topics important to understanding the conflict. A School Library Journal reviewer named the book an "accessibly readable overview" of an enormously complex, politically volatile, and emotionally charged subject. In Frank's "intelligent work," readers will discover why both Israel and Palestine "have ample reason to lay deep historic, religious, and ethnic claims" to the territory that comprises Israel.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, September 1, 2002, Gillian Engberg, review of Understanding September 11th: Answering Questions about the Attacks on America, p. 113.
Childhood Education, spring, 2003, Jeanie Burnett, review of Understanding September 11th, p. 177.
Horn Book Magazine, May-June, 2005, Betty Carter, review of Understanding the Holy Land: Answering Questions about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, p. 348.
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2005, review of Understanding the Holy Land, p. 416.
Publishers Weekly, July 29, 2002, review of Understanding September 11th, p. 74.
School Library Journal, September, 2002, Wendy Lukehart, review of Understanding September 11th, p. 244; March, 2005, Patricia D. Lothrop, review of Understanding the Holy Land, p. 228; October, 2005, review of Understanding the Holy Land, p. S50.
Time Online,http://www.time.com/ (October 2, 2003), biography of Mitch Frank.