Sunni Khalid

Influential Books

June 15, 2008|By Liz Atwood

Sunni Khalid is the senior reporter with WYPR's news department. The veteran journalist worked for numerous news organizations reporting throughout Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Caribbean before coming to Baltimore to help create WYPR's news department. He lives in Joppatowne with his wife, Zeinab, a native of Kenya, and three children.

"The Autobiography of Malcolm X" as told to Alex Haley

This book literally changed my life. I read it when I was in my second year of college at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. ... The book gave me a greater understanding of the world. It also encouraged me to learn more about Africa. ... It also got me seriously thinking about Islam. I took my shahada, or vows as a Muslim, the following year, at Malcolm's favorite mosque in Dearborn.

"All Souls Rising" by Madison Smartt Bell

A page-turner. I fell in love with Haiti and Haitian history during my two trips as a reporter there in the months leading up to the return of Jean-Bertrand Aristide. I read as much Haitian history as I could during my assignment, but most of it was contemporary and failed to give me the information I needed about the revolution led by Toussaint L'Ouverture. This historical novel gave a full picture of the rebellion and fleshed out many of its powerful figures, including Toussaint and Boukman.

"Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America's Perilous Path in the Middle East" by Rashid Khalidi

Although I lived in the Middle East for three years and reported throughout the region, I grew exasperated trying to tell friends what I felt about the al-Qaeda attacks on Sept. 11 and the continuing disaster that is U.S. foreign policy. I've known Dr. Khalidi for years. He is not only a careful and excellent scholar, but a tremendous writer. He eloquently and painstakingly answers all the obvious questions that Americans were asking in the wake of Sept. 11.

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