In cities and towns all over the country, refugees arrive daily from the four corners of the earth, from Afghanistan and Sierra Leone, from Kosovo and Ho Chi Min City, the new Americans see our country through fresh eyes, and their experiences have never been so well described as in this book. For three years, Mary Pipher dedicated herself to understanding the experience of coming to America. And the people who spring to life on the pages of this book become as real to the reader as neighbors and friends. Never again will you pass an exotic looking newcomer and see them as a stranger.
The stories of these newcomers and their hair-raising escapes, their hopes and the speed of their adjustment to 21st century America, help us to see our country through fresh eyes. Pipher shows us the effects of trauma on identity, and she identifies the characteristics of strong people who can survive terrible events, and then go on to build better lives. These are the lessons we can learn from the people who speak in this book: a better understanding of who we are, and a richer understanding of where we are. The gifts of the refugees are manifold. Their stories will make you laugh and weep--and give you a deeper understanding of the wider world in which we live.
Our new Americans are experiencing the age-old, mythic journey from slavery to freedom, and the ups and downs of arriving in the promised land. Mary Pipher tells these stories, and their great lessons, as only she can.
by Mary Pipher