Category Archives: Global Perspectives

City of Thorns

City of Thorns

Picador
Paperback
400 pages • $17.00
ISBN: 978-1-250-11873-8

Nine Lives in the World’s Largest
Refugee Camp

Ben Rawlence

“The most absorbing book in recent memory about life in refugee camps . . . Mr. Rawlence’s major feat is stripping away the anonymity that so often is attached to the word ‘refugee’ by delving deeply into the lives of nine people in the camp.”—The Wall Street Journal

Situated hundreds of miles from any other settlement, in the midst of an inhospitable northern Kenyan desert landscape largely characterized by thorn bushes, is Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp. Founded in 1992 as a temporary camp for 30,000 refugees fleeing violence and unrest in Sudan, it has since metastasized into a permanent home to some 500,000 people. A city like no other, its half a million residents barter their meager food rations, create homes for themselves from plastic sheets and sticks, and use open sewers. Due to its inaccessible location and the extremely high risk of kidnapping, very few western journalists have visited Dadaab, let alone spent any length of time there. Dadaab and the surrounding region are now largely controlled by al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda’s Somalian cell, and the camp and its desperate residents have become a hotbed for recruiters. Despite these dangers, Ben Rawlence has spent large periods of the last three years in the camp and has followed the lives of six people: Guled, the conscripted child-soldier who flees to the camp across Somalia; Nisho, as old as Dadaab itself, born in the camp twenty five years ago; and Muna, whose marriage to a Christian Lost Boy from Sudan sparks uproar and sectarian violence. Ben’s sensitive portraits of the camp’s inhabitants invite readers to imagine how they might behave should they, like so many millions of people around the world, find themselves imprisoned in such a camp with little hope and with the world’s eyes firmly askance.

© Jonny Donovan

© Jonny Donovan

Ben Rawlence is a former researcher for Human Rights Watch in the horn of Africa. He is the author of Radio Congo and has written for a wide range of publications, including The Guardian, the London Review of Books, and Prospect. He lives in the Black Mountains in Wales with his wife and daughter.

City of Thorns has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Michigan State University and the City of East Lansing (MI)

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A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea

A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea

Flatiron Books
Hardcover
288 pages • $25.99
ISBN: 978-1-250-10599-8

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

Melissa Fleming

“I think Melissa Fleming is one of the most important people in the world. As the world’s foremost advocate for refugees, she has worked tirelessly to put a human face on the greatest crisis of our time. A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea provides a portrait of the refugee crisis that cannot be matched by any amount of cable news coverage.”—Brandon Stanton, author of Humans of New York: Stories 

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.

Walking to Listen

Walking to Listen

Bloomsbury
Hardcover
400 pages • $28.00
ISBN: 978-1-632-86700-1

4,000 Miles Across America, One Story at a Time

Andrew Forsthoefel

A memoir of one young man’s coming of age on a cross-country trek—told through the stories of the people of all ages, races, and inclinations he meets along the highways of America.

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.

Age of Anger

Age of Anger

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Hardcover
320 pages • $26.00
ISBN: 978-0-374-27478-8

A History of the Present

Pankaj Mishra

Pankaj Mishra, one of our most important public intellectuals, reveals the hidden history of our current global crisis.

Modernity, secularism, development, and progress have long been viewed by the powerful few as benign ideals for the many. Today, however, botched experiments in nation-building, democracy, industrialization, and urbanization visibly scar much of the world. As once happened in Europe, the wider embrace of revolutionary politics, mass movements, technology, the pursuit of wealth, and individualism has cast billions adrift in a literally demoralized world. It was from among the ranks of the disaffected and the spiritually disorientated, that the militants of the nineteenth century arose—angry young men who became cultural nationalists in Germany, messianic revolutionaries in Russia, bellicose chauvinists in Italy, and anarchist terrorists internationally. Many more people today, unable to fulfill the promises—freedom, stability, and prosperity—of a globalized economy, are increasingly susceptible to demagogues and their simplifications. A common reaction among them is intense hatred of supposed villains, the invention of enemies, attempts to recapture a lost golden age, unfocused fury and self-empowerment through spectacular violence. In Age of Anger, Pankaj Mishra explores the origins of the great wave of paranoid hatreds that seem inescapable in our close-knit world—from American “shooters” and ISIS to Trump, Modi, and racism and misogyny on social media.

© Windham-Campbell Prize

Pankaj Mishra is the author of From the Ruins of Empire and several other books. He is a columnist at Bloomberg View and The New York Times Book Review, and writes regularly for The Guardian, the London Review of Books, and The New Yorker.

Caring Economics

Caring Economics

Picador
Hardcover
240 pages • $26.00
ISBN: 978-1-250-06412-7

Conversations on Altruism and Compassion, Between Scientists, Economists, and the Dalai Lama

Edited by Tania Singer and Matthieu Ricard

With a Foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

“This work will be appreciated by readers who believe that human beings can and do act beyond their own self-interest—even in the economic sphere.”—Library Journal

Can the hyperambitious, bottom-line-driven practices of the global economy incorporate compassion into the pursuit of wealth? Or is economics driven solely by materialism and self-interest? In Caring Economics, experts consider these questions alongside the Dalai Lama in a wide-ranging, scientific-based discussion on economics and altruism. Begun in 1987, the Mind and Life Institute arose out of a series of conferences held with the Dalai Lama and a range of scientists that sought to form a connection between the empiricism of contemporary scientific inquiry and the contemplative, compassion-based practices of Buddhism. Caring Economics is based on a conference held by the Mind and Life Institute in Zurich in which experts from all over the world gathered to discuss the possibility of having a global economy focused on compassion and altruism. Each chapter consists of a presentation by an expert in the field, followed by a discussion with the Dalai Lama in which he offers his response and his own unique insights on the subject. In this provocative and inspiring book, learn how wealth doesn’t need to be selfish, how in fact, empathy and compassion may be the path to a healthier world economy.

Tania Singer is the director of the Department of Social Neuroscience at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany.

Matthieu Ricard is a French Buddhist monk who resides at Schechen Tennyi Dargyeling Monastery in Nepal. He is the author of many bestselling titles, including The Monk and the Philosopher and The Quantum and the Lotus.

It Takes a School

It Takes a School

Henry Holt and Co.
Hardcover
272 pages • $27.00
ISBN: 978-1-250-11346-7

The Extraordinary Story of an American School in the World’s #1 Failed State

Jonathan Starr

An inspiring story of how an American hedge fund manager created a unique school in Somaliland whose students, against all odds, have come to achieve success beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.

Jonathan Starr, once a cutthroat hedge fund manager, is not your traditional do-gooder, and in 2009, when he decided to found Abaarso, a secondary school in Somaliland, the choice seemed crazy to even his closest friends. Why,” they wondered, “would he turn down a life of relative luxury to relocate to an armed compound in a breakaway region of the world’s #1 failed state?” It Takes a School is the story of how an abstract vision became a transformative reality, as Starr set out to build a school in a place forgotten by the world. It is the story of a skeptical and clan-based society learning to give way to trust. And it’s the story of the students themselves, including a boy from a family of nomads who took off on his own in search of an education and a girl who waged a hunger strike in order to convince her strict parents to send her to Abaarso. Abaarso has placed forty graduates and counting in American universities, from Harvard to MIT, and sends Somaliland a clear message: its children can compete with anyone in the world. Now the initial question Starr was asked demands another: “If such a success can happen in an unrecognized breakaway region of Somalia, can it not happen anywhere?”

© Patrick Adams

Jonathan Starr founded and led the private investment firm Flagg Street Capital, worked as an analyst at SAB Capital Management and Blavin and Company, Inc., and as a research associate within the Taxable Bond Division at Fidelity Investments. His work in Somaliland has been written about in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Business Week, CNN, and The Christian Science Monitor.

A Long Way Gone

A Long Way Gone

Sarah Crichton Books/
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Paperback
240 pages • $13.00
Map
ISBN: 978-0-374-53126-3

Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

Ishmael Beah

“[Beah’s] honesty is exacting, and a testament to the ability of children ‘to outlive their sufferings, if given a chance.’”—The New Yorker

This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. At the age of twelve, Beah fled attacking rebels in Sierra Leone and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he had been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts. At sixteen, he was removed from fighting by UNICEF, and through the help of the staff at his rehabilitation center, he learned how to forgive himself, to regain his humanity, and finally, to heal. “Everyone in the world should read this book. Not just because it contains an amazing story, or because it’s our moral, bleeding-heart duty, or because it’s clearly written. We should read it to learn about the world and about what it means to be human.”—Carolyn See, The Washington Post Book World

Ishmeal Beah © John Madere

© John Madere

Ishmael Beah is a UNICEF Ambassador and Advocate for Children Affected by War; a member of the Human Rights Watch Children’s Rights Advisory Committee; and president of the Ishmael Beah Foundation. Radiance of Tomorrow, his first novel, is also published by Sarah Crichton Books. You can follow him on Twitter at @IshmaelBeah.

A Long Way Gone has been adopted for more than fifty First-Year Experience programs:

Adams State College (CO); Appalachian State University (NC); Ball State University (IN); Boston University; Central College (IA); Coastal Carolina University (SC); College of the Holy Cross (MA); College of Wooster (OH); Columbus State University (GA); Community College of Baltimore County; Cushing Academy (MA); Durham Technical Community College (NC); Eastern Kentucky University; Florida Community College, Jacksonville; Florida Gulf Coast University; Grand Valley State University (MI); Greensboro College (NC); Gwynedd-Mercy College (PA); Henderson State University (AR); Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis; Iowa Lakes Community College; Johnson State College (VT); Juniata College (PA); Kennesaw State University (GA); Lakeland College (WI); Millersville University (PA); Morningside College (IA); New York Institute of Technology; Newbury College (MA); Northern Arizona University; Otterbein College (OH); Pennsylvania State University, Abington; Ramapo College (NJ); Rhode Island College; The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey; Roger Williams University (RI); Stockton College (NJ); Stonehill College (MA); SUNY, Brockport; SUNY, Buffalo; SUNY, Old Westbury; SUNY, Potsdam; Syracuse University (NY); Texas A&M International University; University of Akron; University of Iowa; University of Kentucky; University of Maine; University of North Carolina, Greensboro; University of North Carolina, Wilmington/University College; University of Pittsburgh, Johnstown; University of Tennessee; University of Toledo; University of Utah, Logan; University of Vermont; University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh; Utah State University; Valparaiso University (IN); Washburn University (KS); Webster University (MO); Wright State University (OH)