Sharp, provocative, timely reading.



An Austin-based journalist and immigrant activist interweaves narratives of two refugees with a history of modern American refugee resettlement policies.

World War II transformed the United States into a global leader in refugee resettlement. However, as former Catapult columnist Goudeau shows in her moving debut, the American dream has since become out of reach—both within and without U.S. borders—to immigrant asylum-seekers. Drawing on extensive interviews with two refugees she helped to resettle as well as historical research, the author draws attention to a resettlement problem that has reached crisis proportions. She centers the narrative on two women: Mu Naw, a member of a persecuted minority in Myanmar, and Hasna, a refugee from the Syrian civil war. Both were granted a chance to resettle in the U.S. in the first and second decades, respectively, of the 21st century, a time when the number of refugees globally had reached all-time highs but the number of refugees offered resettlement in the U.S. had reached historic lows. Yet because Mu Naw was Christian and Hasna was Muslim, the two had distinctly different experiences. Mu Naw faced the inevitable discrimination that came with immigrant status. Nevertheless, many white Americans offered the social and financial support that allowed her and her family to leave poverty behind and become middle class within the span of a decade. Hasna, who arrived in the U.S. just a few months before the election of Donald Trump in 2016, found herself facing a far more hostile atmosphere and uncertain future. Most of the people who helped her and her family were Syrian American. When American travel bans against Muslims, including Syrian refugees, went into effect in 2017, her hopes of reuniting the members of her war-fractured family faded. In a detailed text that moves smoothly around in time, Goudeau effectively humanizes the worldwide refugee crisis while calling much-needed attention to a badly broken American immigration system.

Sharp, provocative, timely reading.

Pub Date: April 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-55913-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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