From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The U.S. has long lauded itself as a nation of immigrants, but some communities have had considerable difficulty weaving themselves into the American tapestry, notably, Arab-Americans. In this superb snapshot of the Americans of Arab-speaking descent, individuals with roots in Jordan, Yemen, the Palestinian territories and Lebanon share their stories and demonstrate the extent to which, even as they play football, work assembly lines and hold public office, they remain shut out of the national narrative. With a remarkable ability to capture her subjects' voices, Malek, a Syrian-American civil rights lawyer, sketches illuminating responses to her question: What does American history look and feel like in the eyes and skin of Arab Americans? There's the Lebanese-American, too dark for 1960s Birmingham; the Palestinian-American surrounded by anti-Arab violence during the Iranian hostage crisis; the Yemeni-American deployed to Iraq with the Marine Corps. In her effort to demonstrate the impact of foreign affairs on American soil, Malek focuses too heavily on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, giving short shrift to other important stories of upheaval, but this is an excellent book, one certain to put right some of the wrongs it catalogues. (Oct.)
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“Like President Obama's first book, A Country Called Amreeka
explores what it's like to be of two worlds at once…A wonderfully lucid and rational look at 20th century Arab American life. A book like this would be valuable in any era, but particularly now…it's welcome, brave and necessary.” --Dave Eggers, The San Francisco Chronicle
"...[Fills a] gap in our collective understanding of our own history...a worthwhile read. Richly told and beautifully written, [a] valuable contribution to the American story."—Political Affairs
"...Malek deftly illuminates the individual and collective lives of Arab-Americans in the U.S.." —Kelly Kennedy, Army Times
"Alia Malek's impassioned and harrowing set of profiles of Arab-Americans gives vitality and resonance to a cause that is dear to my heart: fostering cross-cultural understanding and respect. Infectiously readable, the profiles in A Country Called Amreeka
add character and texture to the history of the Arab-American community, challenging every tired stereotype and giving us new insight into what it means to be an Arab-American today. This book gives us the faces behind the names, and tells the story of a community that both enriches and embraces the American fabric. A Country Called Amreeka
, and the Americans who inhabit it, are remarkable."
--Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, author of A Leap of Faith: Memoir of an Unexpected Life
"[A] superb snapshot of the Americans of Arab-speaking descent. [Malek has] a remarkable ability to capture her subjects' voices...An excellent book, one certain to put right some of the wrongs it catalogues."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Malek brings powerfully into focus...the story of the relationship between America and its Arab Americans. As the book progresses through time, a bigger story begins to emerge...An incredible journey." — Christian Science Monitor