Category Archives: Global Perspectives

Walking to Listen

Walking to Listen

Bloomsbury
Paperback
400 pages • $18.00
ISBN: 9781632867018
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4,000 Miles Across America, One Story at a Time

Andrew Forsthoefel

“This is a deeply felt account of the trials and tribulations of growing up . . . Enjoy a journey across our country through this fascinating young man’s eyes as he recounts and ponders the stories and life philosophies from people he meets along the way.”

The Boston Globe

At twenty-three, Andrew Forsthoefel walked out the back door of his home in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, with a backpack, an audio recorder, his copies of Whitman and Rilke, and a sign that read “Walking to Listen.” He had just graduated from Middlebury College and was ready to being his adult life, but he didn’t know how. So he decided he’d walk. And listen. It would be a cross-country quest for guidance, and everyone he met would be his guide. Thousands shared their stories with him, sometimes confiding their prejudices, too. Often he didn’t know how to respond. How to find unity in diversity? How to stay connected, even as fear works to tear us apart? He listened for answers to these questions, and to the existential questions every human must face, and began to find that the answer might be in listening itself. Ultimately, it’s the stories of others living all along the roads of America that carry this journey and sing out in a hopeful, heartfelt book about how a life is made, and how our nation defines itself on the most human level.

Forsthoefel, Andrew, (c) Luke Forsthoefel.jpg

© Luke Forsthoefel

Andrew Forsthoefel is a writer, radio producer, and public speaker. After graduating from Middlebury College in 2011, he spent nearly a year walking across the United States. He first recounted part of that journey in a radio story featured on This American Life. He now facilitates workshops on walking and listening as practices in personal transformation, interconnection, and conflict resolution, and is currently based in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Walking to Listen has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Elms College (MA); Lipscomb University (TN); Berkshire School (MA); Holderness School (NH)

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A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea

A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea

Flatiron Books
Paperback
304 pages • $17.99
ISBN: 9781250106001
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The Journey of Doaa Al Zamel

One Refugee’s Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival

Melissa Fleming

With an author interview with Humans of New York’s Brandon Stanton
Winner of the ALA/YALSA Alex Award

“This deeply affecting book recounts the story of a young Syrian, Doaa Al Zamel . . . Fleming brings a moral urgency to the narrative. Doaa is now safe in Sweden, but Fleming pointedly asks, ‘Why is there no massive resettlement program for Syrians—the victims of the worst war of our times?'”—The New Yorker 

Melissa Fleming shares the harrowing journey of Doaa Al Zamel, a young Syrian refugee in search of a better life. Doaa and her family leave war-torn Syria for Egypt where the climate is becoming politically unstable and increasingly dangerous. She meets and falls in love with Bassem, a former Free Syrian Army fighter and together they decide to leave behind the hardship and harassment they face in Egypt to flee for Europe, joining the ranks of the thousands of refugees who make the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean on overcrowded and run-down ships to seek asylum overseas and begin a new life. After four days at sea, their boat is sunk by another boat filled with angry men shouting threats and insults. With no land in sight and surrounded by bloated, floating corpses, Doaa is adrift with a child’s inflatable water ring around her waist, while two little girls cling to her neck. Doaa must stay alive for them. She must not lose strength. She must not lose hope.

© Alessandra Thomsen

Melissa Fleming is Head of Communications and Chief Spokesperson for the United High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and one of the world’s experts on refugees. She is a frequent contributor for The New York TimesThe Washington Post, CNN, and NPR. A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea is her first book.

A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Shawnee State University (OH)

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Butterfly

Butt

St. Martin’s Press
Hardcover
288 pages • $26.99
ISBN: 9781250184405
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From Refugee to Olympian—My Story of Rescue, Hope, and Triumph

Yusra Mardini

“[Mardini] offers an exceedingly rare window into middle-class girlhood in the middle of one of the most destructive wars of our time, and an even rarer start-to-finish account of the arduous migrant journey into Europe.”

The New York Times

When young Syrian refugee Yusra Mardini realized her boat’s engine shut down as she was traveling from Syria to Greece with other refugees, there was no hesitation: she dove into the water. Surfacing, she heard desperate prayers and sobbing from the passengers in the sinking boat above her. Between the waves, her elder sister Sarah screamed at her to get back on the boat. But Mardini was determined. She was not going to let Sarah do this alone. Grabbing the rope with one hand, she began kicking up the black water, inching the boat towards the distant shore. This bold act of bravery saved the lives of a boatload of refugees heading to Turkey from Syria. After her arrival in Greece, Mardini, focused and undeterred, worked toward a lifelong goal: to compete in the Olympics. She succeeded, and competed in 2016 on the Refugee Olympic Team in Rio de Janeiro. Butterfly tells her story, from Syria to the Olympics to her current work with the UN as a Goodwill Ambassador. Mardini is eager to tell her story in the hopes that readers will remember that refugees are ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, chased from their homes by a devastating war. In today’s political climate, this story is guaranteed to inspire and educate readers from every background.

Mardini, Yusra

© Thomas Duffé

Yusra Mardini is an Olympic swimmer and a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador. She competed in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro as a member of the Refugee Olympic Athletes Team. Mardini is from Damascus, Syria.

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I Was Told to Come Alone

I Was Told to Come Alone

St. Martin’s Griffin 
Paperback
368 pages • $17.99
ISBN: 9781250180575
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My Journey Behind the Lines of Jihad

Souad Mekhennet

“Much more than a book of journalism, admirable as hers is: it is a remarkable record of a Muslim woman struggling to understand those who kill in the name of her religion, and to explain their actions to the uncomprehending Western world to which she belongs.”

The Economist

In this compelling and evocative memoir, Souad Mekhennet, a reporter for The Washington Post, journeys behind the lines of jihad—starting in the German neighborhoods where the 9/11 plotters were radicalized, the Iraqi neighborhoods where Sunnis and Shia turned against one another, and culminating on the Turkish/Syrian border region where ISIS is a daily presence. In her travels across the Middle East and North Africa, she documents her chilling run-ins with various intelligence services and shows why the Arab Spring never lived up to its promise. She then returns to Europe, first in London, where she uncovers the identity of the notorious ISIS executioner “Jihadi John,” and then in France, Belgium, and her native Germany, where terror has come to the heart of Western civilization. Mekhennet’s background has given her unique access to some of the world’s most wanted men, who generally refuse to speak to Western journalists. She is not afraid to face personal danger to reach out to individuals in the inner circles of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, ISIS, and their affiliates; when she is told to come alone to an interview, she never knows what awaits at her destination. Mekhennet—“a brave, resourceful, canny and tireless reporter” (The Washington Post)—is an ideal guide to introduce us to the human beings behind the ominous headlines.

© Stocks Photography

© Ben Kilb

Souad Mekhennet is a correspondent for The Washington Post’s national security desk, and she has reported on terrorism for The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, and NPR. She is the co-author of The Eternal Nazi, Children of Jihad, and Islam. She was a 2012 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, and she is a visiting fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Policy at Harvard, the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and the Geneva Center for Security Policy.

Notes on a Foreign Country

Notes on a Foreign Country

Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Paperback
288 pages • $15.00
ISBN: 9780374537838
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An American Abroad in a Post-American World

Suzy Hansen

“A deeply honest and brave portrait of an individual sensibility reckoning with her country’s violent role in the world . . . Hansen is doing something both rare and necessary.”

—Hisham Matar, The New York Times Book Review

In the wake of the September 11 attacks and the U.S.- led invasion of Iraq, Suzy Hansen, who grew up in an insular conservative town in New Jersey, was enjoying early success as a journalist for a high-profile New York newspaper. Increasingly, though, the disconnect between the chaos of world events and the response at home took on pressing urgency for her. Seeking to understand the Muslim world that had been reduced to scaremongering headlines, she moved to Istanbul. Over the course of her many years of living in Turkey and traveling in Greece, Egypt, Afghanistan, and Iran, she learned a great deal about these countries and their cultures and histories and politics. But the greatest, most unsettling surprise would be what she learned about her own country—and herself, an American abroad in the era of American decline. It would take leaving her home to discover what she came to think of as the two Americas: the country and its people, and the experience of American power around the world. Blending memoir, journalism, and history, and deeply attuned to the voices of those she met on her travels, Notes on a Foreign Country is a moving reflection on America’s place in the world. It is a powerful journey of self-discovery and revelation—a profound reckoning with what it means to be American in a moment of grave national and global turmoil.

© Kathy Ryan

Suzy Hansen is contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine and has written for many other publications. In 2007, she was awarded a fellowship from the Institute of Current World Affairs to do research in Turkey. She currently lives in Istanbul.

Factfulness

Factfulness

Flatiron Books
Hardcover
352 pages • $27.99
ISBN: 9781250107817
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Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think

Hans Rosling
with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund

Factfulness by Hans Rosling, an outstanding international public health expert, is a hopeful book about the potential for human progress when we work off facts rather than our inherent biases.”

—Former U.S. President Barack Obama

When asked simple questions about global trends—what percentage of the world’s population live in poverty; why the world’s population is increasing; how many girls finish school—we systematically get the answers wrong. So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess teachers, journalists, Nobel laureates, and investment bankers. In Factfulness, Hans Rosling, together with his two long-time collaborators, Anna and Ola, offers a radical new explanation of why this happens. They reveal the ten instincts that distort our perspective—from our tendency to divide the world into two camps (usually some version of us and them) to the way we consume media (where fear rules) to how we perceive progress (believing that most things are getting worse). Our problem is that we don’t know what we don’t know, and even our guesses are informed by unconscious and predictable biases. It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think. That doesn’t mean there aren’t real concerns. But when we worry about everything all the time instead of embracing a worldview based on facts, we can lose our ability to focus on the things that threaten us most. Factfulness is an urgent and essential book that will change the way you see the world and empower you to respond to the crises and opportunities of the future.

Hans Rosling was a medical doctor, professor of international health and renowned public educator. He was an adviser to the World Health Organization and UNICEF, and co-founded Médecins sans Frontières in Sweden and the Gapminder Foundation. His TED talks have been viewed more than 35 million times, and he was listed as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. Hans died in 2017.

Ola Rosling  and Anna Rosling Rönnlund, Hans’s son and daughter-in-law, are co-founders of the Gapminder Foundation. They have both received international awards for their work.

Rolling Blackouts

Rolling Blackouts

Drawn & Quarterly
Hardcover
304 pages • $24.95
ISBN: 9781770462557
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Dispatches from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq

Sarah Glidden

“Glidden’s clean, spare cartoons take a behind-the-scenes approach. Readers expecting a book about the region and its recent history may be surprised at how many pages are taken up with heartfelt conversations on the theme, ‘What is journalism?'”

—Christine Smallwood, Harper’s Magazine

Cartoonist Sarah Glidden accompanies her two friends—reporters and founders of a journalism non-profit—as they research potential stories on the effects of the Iraq War on the Middle East and, specifically, the war’s refugees. Joining the trio is a childhood friend and former Marine whose past service in Iraq adds an unexpected and sometimes unwelcome viewpoint, both to the people they come across and perhaps even themselves. As the crew works their way through Turkey, Iraq, and Syria, Glidden observes the reporters as they ask civilians, refugees, and officials, “Who are you?” Everyone has a story to tell: the Iranian blogger, the United Nations refugee administrator, a taxi driver, the Iraqi refugee deported from the U.S., the Iraqis seeking refuge in Syria, and even the American Marine. Painted in her trademark soft, muted watercolors and written with a self-effacing humor, Rolling Blackouts cements Glidden’s place as one of today’s most original nonfiction voices.

© Alex Stonehill

Sarah Glidden is the author of How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, published in 2010 and translated into five languages. Glidden’s work has appeared in various newspapers and magazines and anthologized in The Best American Comics. She lives in Seattle, Washington.