- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Free Press; 58498th edition (October 26, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1416589759
- ISBN-13: 978-1416589754
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,479,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Country Called Amreeka: U.S. History Retold through Arab-American Lives Paperback – October 26, 2010
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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 Magazine
"...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
About the Author
ALIA MALEK is an author and civil rights lawyer. Born in Baltimore to Syrian immigrant parents, she began her legal career as a trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division. After practicing law in the States, Lebanon, and the West Bank, Malek, who has degrees from Johns Hopkins and Georgetown universities, earned her master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. Her reportage has appeared in Salon, The Columbia Journalism Review, and The New York Times. This is her first book.
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Not content with my own observations and impressions, I started looking through the literature for works that recorded and presented the communal history of Arab Americans. I discovered that the corpus was small and unsatisfying. I found Gregory Orfalea's book "Arab Americans: A History" to be one of the richest and most rewarding. Yet, instead of quenching my thirst to understand Arab Americans it made me keener than ever before on studying the socio-anthropology of this community.
Randa Kayyali's "The Arab Americans" was another notable book that I found to offer a great perspective on who the Arab Americans are and why did they come to America. However, I think this book is most valuable to non-Arab Americans who are looking for a better understanding of this integral part of the modern-day American national fabric.
In her book, Alia Malek approaches the story of the Arab American community through the modern history of America spanning nearly half a century. In a very clever and entertaining narrative she intertwines almost every major event in the annals of the Arab American history as influenced by the Middle East conflict with a personal story of an Arab American. The result is a breathtaking sweep of vignettes that illuminate and put in perspective the communal history and culture of Arab Americans. These are stories of victories, failures, sorrows, successes, personal growth, alienation, pride and even personal tragedies, all taken from first hand sources and put in a social and political context that offered me a great understanding and empathy with this community.
Alia has a very colourful style that dramatizes every story and make it worth reading for its pure short-story qualities. Yet, these poignantly told stories are astutely selected so that the sum of their parts, their gestalt, offers a broad mosaic of the successes and tribulations of this community.
Sorry. There's got to be a better book on the Arab-American experience out there somewhere, waiting to be written.