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An American Family: A Memoir of Hope and…

An American Family: A Memoir of Hope and Sacrifice

by Khizr Khan

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746239,319 (4.5)10



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An American Family:A Memoir of Hope and Sacrifice๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐ŸŒ
By Khizr Khan

Khizr Khan, the DNC speaker and his wife, Ghazal are Gold Star parents, who lost their son US Army Captain, Humayun,in 2004 during the Iraq War. This amazing memoir of a man whose dream and promise of a new life, far from the poverty and violence of Pakistan, where he was a farmer. Khans rise from sleeping on park benches, to Harvard Law School, the sacrifices he made and the pride he felt becoming a US citizen and being able to give his family a better life.
Moving story. ...a reminder to us all what it really means to America great again.

Highly recommended. ..keep the tissues handy, this is a tearjerker.... ( )
  over.the.edge | Sep 16, 2018 |
This is sure to be one of my top books of the year. A deeply affecting account by Khizr Khan of his life and his family; it brought me to tears more than once, and it deserves a very wide audience indeed. ( )
  JBD1 | May 10, 2018 |
"You have sacrificed nothing. And no one!"

One of the surprise speeches that caught fire on social media and media during the 2016 Democratic National Convention was given by a bald Muslim lawyer who told a story of his family, himself and "the American Dream." This book is Mr. Khan's story and how he came to stand in front of the convention to give the speech in front of the world.

We follow Khan in his childhood in Pakistan, from having very little but watching his country around him clash with each other. In the meantime he grows up, gets an education and eventually finds his way to the United States. Along the way he meets his future wife, Ghazala, and eventually starts a family, which includes their middle son Humayun. He would be one of the first Muslim soldiers to die in the Iraq War, saving the lives of his fellow soldiers.

The Khans deal with their grief as best they can and as the 2016 election gears up, he gets a call from the Hillary Clinton campaign. Although his family was against the speech, Khan chose to give it anyway and we get a little bit of the editing process (of which Ghazala does the editing). The main narrative ends just as the Khans step onto the stage at the DNC with a brief epilogue.

The book was very sweet in many ways. It explains Khan's love for the United States, how he had been affected by the generosity of the first Americans he meets and helps explain why he's been carrying around a copy of the Constitution. Sometimes it's a bit of a mixed bag: I found it moving and informative but there were parts where it dragged. But overall it worked. It helped me understand his speech a little better (it's only about 6 minutes long so if you haven't seen/listened to it I'd recommend it). It also addressed some of the criticisms such as why Ghazala stood silently at the convention: Khan describes how they together decided how the family would be raised and the trade-offs that came with being a one-income family and how she was plunged into grief after the death of their son. If you watch his speech it's clear it's still a very raw thing for the both of them. On the upside I also really liked reading about their courtship and marriage and how they seem suited for each other.

I suppose if there's any thing I found missing it would be the lack of discussions of racism or bigotry (aside from the presidential campaign). Khan may have decided it was not important enough or that's not part of this particular story but I wouldn't be surprised if people found that lacking or point to Khan's book as a story of immigrant exceptionalism while conveniently ignoring some of the barriers and issues immigrants face when they arrive to the US.

In the end I'd say the book is a 3.5 alone: perhaps if things were different I might be more critical. But it's a book that should be read (and of course those who should won't). And I'm bumping it up because I think the book does a really good job in "understanding the room": people are interested because of Khan's speech specifically and probably not so much in his background (plus he notes he tried to respect the privacy of family/friends/colleagues/etc. when writing the book). So we don't get long tangents about unrelated things or a text that attempts to cover far too many topics ('I Am Malala' suffers from the latter, for example). I really wish more books/authors/publishers could practice more awareness about this.

I wish the Khans well and thank them for their sacrifice.
( )
  acciolibros | Feb 28, 2018 |
Luba - non fiction...a very compelling read especially in these times. ( )
  TNbookgroup | Jan 30, 2018 |
You probably know of author Khizr Khan even if you don't recognize the name. He was the Muslim gold star father who spoke at the Democratic National Convention. However, he doesn't fit into a Democrats-only box. He is also inspired by Republican Ronald Reagan's vision of the United States as a city on a hill and statements by George W. Bush. He spoke at the DNC due to a deep love for America and the feeling that the anti Muslim rhetoric had reached a frightening turning point.

This is a very intelligent, thoughtful man who has a lot to say regarding reasonable discourse about divisive matters. He also has a flair for telling his story.

Born in Pakistan, he came from a family of farmers. His father, although uneducated, was an insightful man who instilled a love of God, fellow humans and education in his son.

As a student, Khan found a copy of the US Declaration of Independence and Constitution in a used book store. He was completely unfamiliar with US history, but was immediately struck that some people believe that some truths about freedoms and rights were self-evident and God given. His homeland of Pakistan did not recognize of these concepts.

So began his journey to America.

This is probably one of the most uplifting books you will read this year. Don't miss the experience. ( )
4 vote streamsong | Jan 24, 2018 |
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"In fewer than three hundred words, Khizr Khan electrified viewers around the world when he took the stage at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. And when he offered to lend Donald Trump his own much-read and dog-eared pocket Constitution, his gesture perfectly encapsulated the feelings of millions. But who was that man, standing beside his wife, extolling the promises and virtues of the U.S. Constitution?" --Amazon.com… (more)

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