Trofimov was born in Kiev, Ukraine, in July 1969. From there
one winter day he was plucked by his parents and transported
to the tropical paradise of Madagascar, where he owned a pet
lemur monkey and learned to read (French) under a banana tree
in the garden.
then, he was addicted to travel. Holder of a Master of Arts
degree from New York University, Trofimov worked as a reporter
in the U.S., France and the former Soviet Union before he
first set foot in the Middle East in the spring of 1994, just
as the Oslo peace process began.
Jerusalem, he learned Arabic and Hebrew and covered his fair
share of suicide bombings, shootings and Katyusha rocket attacks,
traveling from Lebanon to Gaza to the Persian Gulf. One afternoon
in 1997, he drove into a West Bank shootout with his wife
- barely a week after the birth of their first baby.
Trofimov moved to Rome, Italy - where he wore a pinstriped
suit and a tie every day, writing about Europe's corporate
magnates and slick politicians, first for Bloomberg News,
and then for The Wall Street Journal, which he joined in 1999.
A few hours
after Sept. 11, 2001, the Journal asked Trofimov to return
to the Middle East. Trading the suit for khaki pants and hiking
boots, he's been on the road ever since, rarely spending more
than a week or two in Rome between assignments that took him
from Baghdad to Bosnia to Beirut. His book, Faith at War,
is the result of these wanderings across the Islamic world,
encapsulating experiences of two major wars and countless
smaller conflicts in over a dozen Muslim lands after the Sept.