Picks and Pans Review: Remembering...Daniel Pearl

07/08/2002 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Even as a kid, Daniel Pearl never feared aggression. "If you tried to bully him, he would not cry nor bully back," his father, Judea, 65, recalled in his March eulogy. "He would just look you in the eyes till you realized for yourself how silly you looked."

That quiet confidence took Pearl to perilous situations in India, Iran, and the Balkans—before he was murdered by Muslim extremists following his Jan. 23 abduction in Karachi, Pakistan. His parents, in their first interview since their son's death, recall that he was supposed to visit Iraq during the Persian Gulf War. "We asked him not to, and he said, 'I'm going to [avoid] it this time for you,' " says his mother, Ruth, 65, a Los Angeles computer consultant. "We were very concerned about his safety. I think he wasn't happy about it."

Pearl's witty newspaper articles are collected in the new book At Home in the World: Collected Writings from The Wall Street Journal (Wall Street Journal Books, $24. Proceeds go to Pearl's widow, Mariane, 34, and the couple's 6-week-old son Adam). "I would wish for the book to sustain Danny's legacy," says Ruth.

A Stanford graduate and a talented violinist, Pearl had "considered going into computers but preferred to work with people," says Judea, himself a professor of computer science at UCLA. "He was playful, warm, secure and embracing; he brought light into any surroundings he entered." Are they proud to have raised him? "He did it all himself!" says Judea. "In a certain way, he raised us up. He taught us to be totally honest."

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