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The Arab Americans

A History

Published by Olive Branch Press
Distributed by Simon & Schuster



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About The Book

Gregory Orfalea’s new and definitive work spans a century and a half of the life of Arab immigrants and their descendants in the United States. In The Arab Americans: A History, Orfalea has marshaled over 150 interviews and 25 years of research to tell the story that begins in 1856, when camel driver Hajdi Ali (or Hi Jolly) was hired by Jefferson Davis to cut a “camel trail” across the Southwest, and continues through the 2005 arrest of a former Virginia high school valedictorian accused of plotting with al-Qaeda. Once seen as the “benevolent stranger,” as the author points out, today Arab Americans are “the malevolent stranger.” His book, however, is an assault on such ignorance, both celebration and warning. The Arab Americans is the culmination of a life’s work, a landmark in the history of what it means to be an American. It is also the history of a community uniquely repressed in American scholarship, history, literature, and politics. The Arab Americans fills a sizable void, and it could not be more timely. With American troops sprawled across the Arab and Muslim world, Orfalea’s work is like light in a dark tunnel—facts, not stereotypes; people, not shadows; the vibrant world of a lost American experience come to life. Orfalea brings to this work an historian’s love of meticulous and telling detail, a poet’s ear, and a novelist’s sense of story. The cumulative effect is symphonic and its arrival none too soon.

About The Author

Gregory Orfalea is the author of Messengers of the Lost Battalion: The Heroic 551st and the Turning of the Tide at the Battle of the Bulge. He is also director of the Center for Writing at Pitzer College, where he teaches creative nonfiction and the short story.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Olive Branch Press (December 30, 2005)
  • Length: 448 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781566565974

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