Temple-Raston, Dina 1964-
Temple-Raston, Dina 1964-
Born August 25, 1964, in Brussels, Belgium; daughter of John Clark and Sandra Hughes Temple Raston; married Frank S. Coleman, October 9, 1993. Education: Northwestern University, B.A. (with honors), 1986; graduated from Liaoning University (Shenyang, China), 1989; Columbia University, M.A. Religion: Roman Catholic.
Journalist and writer. Liaoning Provincial Government, Shenyang, China, special foreign assistant, 1988-89; Asiaweek, Hong Kong, China, correspondent, 1990-91; Bloomberg News, Hong Kong correspondent, 1991-93, White House correspondent, 1993-2000; USA Today, economics correspondent, 2000-01; CNN Financial Network, producer, 2001-02; New York Sun, began as foreign editor, became City Hall Bureau Chief, beginning 2002; National Public Radio (NPR), FBI correspondent, 2007—.
Council on Foreign Relations, White House Correspondents Association.
Prize for top essay, Northwestern University, 1986; Discover Award, Barnes & Noble, 2002, for A Death in Texas: A Story of Race, Murder, and a Small Town's Struggle for Redemption.
A Death in Texas: A Story of Race, Murder, and a Small Town's Struggle for Redemption, Holt (New York, NY), 2002.
Justice on the Grass: Three Rwandan Journalists, Their Trial for War Crimes, and a Nation's Quest for Redemption, Free Press (New York, NY), 2005.
(With Anthony D. Romero) In Defense of Our America: The Fight for Civil Liberties in the Age of Terror, William Morrow (New York, NY), 2007.
The Jihad Next Door: The Lackawanna Six and Rough Justice in an Age of Terror, PublicAffairs Books (New York, NY), 2007.
Dina Temple-Raston is a journalist and former foreign correspondent. In her first book, A Death in Texas: A Story of Race, Murder, and a Small Town's Struggle for Redemption, she draws heavily on her skills as a journalist. In 1998, in the small town of Jasper, Texas, a black man was dragged to his death while chained behind a pickup truck. Three white supremacists were charged with the murder and later convicted. In her book, Temple-Raston chronicles what happened to the community in the aftermath of the murder.
Temple-Raston describes Jasper as an economically depressed and segregated community with a large number of white supremacists. However, the residents lived relatively peacefully until the murder of James Byrd. Temple-Raston writes about how the incident left the community in fragments, struggling to make sense of their way of life. A Publishers Weekly reviewer observed that the author "uses this basic crime narrative as the backdrop for a complex, multilayered portrait of a small town coming to grips with its own history of racial hatred." Using extensive interviews and observations during the trials, Temple-Raston "writes not only about the crime but also about the town, its casual segregation, and the terror of its black community," noted Deirdre Root in Library Journal. A Kirkus Re-views writer called the book a "grimly powerful chronicle of a hate crime."
In her next book, Justice on the Grass: Three Rwandan Journalists, Their Trial for War Crimes, and a Nation's Quest for Redemption, Temple-Raston tells a story of genocide in 1994 Rwanda when the Hutu majority were incited by newspapers and radio journalists to slaughter the Tutsi, who dominated positions in government and society. The author examines the journalists' motives and delves into the social and political world of Rwanda at the time. She also reflects on the journalists' trial and updates the reader on Rwanda a decade after the destruction. Vanessa Bush, writing in Booklist, noted that "the author builds toward the tension of mass murders in killing fields," while a Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that Temple-Raston "captures some haunting scenes." In a review in Trial, Sara Hoffman Jurand commented: "Despite the author's excellent research and fine writing, this is a difficult book to read. Like the films Schindler's List and Hotel Rwanda, Justice on the Grass may leave its audience richer for the experience of hearing the tale, but it takes a high emotional toll."
Before taking a job as Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) correspondent in 2007 at National Public Radio (NPR), Temple-Raston took a two-year sabbatical during which time she wrote two books, learned Arabic, and completed a master's at Columbia University's School of Journalism. One of the two books written during this time is In Defense of Our America: The Fight for Civil Liberties in the Age of Terror, which she wrote with Anthony D. Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the oldest non-governmental organization in the United States dedicated to upholding civil liberties and human rights. The book recounts several different tales of Americans' struggles for liberty and fairness since 9/11, including the story of John Walker Lindh, an American who was captured during the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan while serving as a soldier for the Taliban. "This cautionary tale of humanitarian missteps and misdeeds makes for timely—and timeless—reading," wrote Carol Haggas in a review of the book for Booklist. A critic for Levellers remarked, "I read many books on politics, but few which move me to tears. I also read very few political books that, instead of having a dry pedantic tone, read like a fast-paced, contemporary adventure novel. In both instances, this is one of the few exceptions…. I expected it to be a good book; I did not expect it to be the gripping tour de force that it is."
The second book that Temple-Raston completed during her two-year sabbatical is The Jihad Next Door: The Lackawanna Six and Rough Justice in an Age of Terror. It is the story of six young American-born Yemeni Muslims in Lackawanna, a suburb of Buffalo in western New York, whose lives took a turn for the worse when the FBI arrested five of them not too long after 9/11 for attending a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. "In this breezy, well-written detective story, Temple-Raston … chronicles their journey from Lackawanna to Pakistan and Afghanistan. Once the men reach the al-Qaeda training camp, they become frightened and return to New York. Temple-Raston's main point is that the Lackawanna six were victims," Washington Post Book World critic Geneive Abdo observed. Temple-Raston "provides useful accounts of the contrasting perspectives of Americans in general and the Lackawanna Yemeni-American community," declared Curled Up with a Good Book critic Amitrajeet A. Batabyal. The author "rightly notes that circumstances in the U.S. had changed so rapidly in the aftermath of the dastardly events of 11 September 2001 that it was very difficult for the detained Yemeni-Americans to obtain not only adequate legal representation but also, more generally, a fair trial," added Batabyal. "Temple-Raston does a fair, impartial job of laying out the essential civil-rights issues here. An elegant examination of how the rules of justice have changed since 9/11," asserted a Kirkus Reviews critic.
When Temple-Raston was asked by BustedHalo.com critic Rev. Astrid Joy Storm what initially sparked her interest in this story of the Lackawanna Six, she replied: "In America today, Muslims have become in a lot of ways the new blacks. There's an expression in the black community that they are ‘born suspect.’ Now Muslims are ‘born suspect.’ People who should know better will narrow their lids when they see a Muslim come on the airplane or get on the bus with a backpack. There are certain assumptions people make about Muslims in this country now, and that got me interested."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Book, January-February, 2002, Ruth Lopez, review of A Death in Texas: A Story of Race, Murder, and a Small Town's Struggle for Redemption, p. 76.
Booklist, December 1, 2001, Vanessa Bush, review of A Death in Texas, p. 613; February 1, 2005, Vanessa Bush, review of Justice on the Grass: Three Rwandan Journalists, Their Trial for War Crimes, and a Nation's Quest for Redemption, p. 936; May 15, 2007, Carol Haggas, review of In Defense of Our America: The Fight for Civil Liberties in the Age of Terror, p. 8; September 1, 2007, Donna Seaman, review of The Jihad Next Door: The Lackawanna Six and Rough Justice in an Age of Terror, p. 28.
Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2001, review of A Death in Texas, p. 1473; August 1, 2007, review of The Jihad Next Door.
Library Journal, November 15, 2001, Deirdre Root, review of A Death in Texas, p. 85.
Publishers Weekly, October 22, 2001, review of A Death in Texas, p. 60; January 31, 2005, review of Justice on the Grass, p. 56.
Trial, November, 2005, Sara Hoffman Jurand, review of Justice on the Grass, p. 74.
Washington Post Book World, January 30, 2008, Geneive Abdo, review of The Jihad Next Door.
BustedHalo.com,http://www.bustedhalo.com/ (September 4, 2008), Rev. Astrid Joy Storm, interview with Dina Temple-Raston and review of The Jihad Next Door.
Curled Up with a Good Book,http://www.curledup.com/ (September 4, 2008), Amitrajeet A. Batabyal, review of The Jihad Next Door.
Levellers,http://levellers.wordpress.com/ (October 1, 2007), review of In Defense of Our America.
National Public Radio Web site,http://www.npr.org/ (September 4, 2008), biographical information on Dina Temple-Raston.