counter create hit After the Last Border: Two Families and the Story of Refuge in America - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

After the Last Border: Two Families and the Story of Refuge in America

Availability: Ready to download

Simply brilliant, both in its granular storytelling and its enormous compassion --The New York Times Book Review The story of two refugee families and their hope and resilience as they fight to survive and belong in America The welcoming and acceptance of immigrants and refugees have been central to America's identity for centuries--yet America has periodically turned its b Simply brilliant, both in its granular storytelling and its enormous compassion --The New York Times Book Review The story of two refugee families and their hope and resilience as they fight to survive and belong in America The welcoming and acceptance of immigrants and refugees have been central to America's identity for centuries--yet America has periodically turned its back in times of the greatest humanitarian need. After the Last Border is an intimate look at the lives of two women as they struggle for the twenty-first century American dream, having won the golden ticket to settle as refugees in Austin, Texas. Mu Naw, a Christian from Myanmar struggling to put down roots with her family, was accepted after decades in a refugee camp at a time when America was at its most open to displaced families; and Hasna, a Muslim from Syria, agrees to relocate as a last resort for the safety of her family--only to be cruelly separated from her children by a sudden ban on refugees from Muslim countries. Writer and activist Jessica Goudeau tracks the human impacts of America's ever-shifting refugee policy as both women narrowly escape from their home countries and begin the arduous but lifesaving process of resettling in Austin--a city that would show them the best and worst of what America has to offer. After the Last Border situates a dramatic, character-driven story within a larger history--the evolution of modern refugee resettlement in the United States, beginning with World War II and ending with current closed-door policies--revealing not just how America's changing attitudes toward refugees have influenced policies and laws, but also the profound effect on human lives.


Compare

Simply brilliant, both in its granular storytelling and its enormous compassion --The New York Times Book Review The story of two refugee families and their hope and resilience as they fight to survive and belong in America The welcoming and acceptance of immigrants and refugees have been central to America's identity for centuries--yet America has periodically turned its b Simply brilliant, both in its granular storytelling and its enormous compassion --The New York Times Book Review The story of two refugee families and their hope and resilience as they fight to survive and belong in America The welcoming and acceptance of immigrants and refugees have been central to America's identity for centuries--yet America has periodically turned its back in times of the greatest humanitarian need. After the Last Border is an intimate look at the lives of two women as they struggle for the twenty-first century American dream, having won the golden ticket to settle as refugees in Austin, Texas. Mu Naw, a Christian from Myanmar struggling to put down roots with her family, was accepted after decades in a refugee camp at a time when America was at its most open to displaced families; and Hasna, a Muslim from Syria, agrees to relocate as a last resort for the safety of her family--only to be cruelly separated from her children by a sudden ban on refugees from Muslim countries. Writer and activist Jessica Goudeau tracks the human impacts of America's ever-shifting refugee policy as both women narrowly escape from their home countries and begin the arduous but lifesaving process of resettling in Austin--a city that would show them the best and worst of what America has to offer. After the Last Border situates a dramatic, character-driven story within a larger history--the evolution of modern refugee resettlement in the United States, beginning with World War II and ending with current closed-door policies--revealing not just how America's changing attitudes toward refugees have influenced policies and laws, but also the profound effect on human lives.

30 review for After the Last Border: Two Families and the Story of Refuge in America

  1. 5 out of 5

    Erin Wallace

    This is OUTSTANDING. It's going to vie for best nonfiction read of the year for me, I can tell. In the style of books like The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson (which tells the story of the Great Migration through interviews with families who made that journey interspersed with chapters on the history and politics surrounding their journeys), this book tells the stories of two families who came to Austin, Texas as part of the refugee resettlement program. One is a Christian family from M This is OUTSTANDING. It's going to vie for best nonfiction read of the year for me, I can tell. In the style of books like The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson (which tells the story of the Great Migration through interviews with families who made that journey interspersed with chapters on the history and politics surrounding their journeys), this book tells the stories of two families who came to Austin, Texas as part of the refugee resettlement program. One is a Christian family from Myanmar and one a Muslim family from Syria. Goudeau tells their stories with such warmth and compassion, and intersperses context on the (highly variable!) history and political approaches to refugee resettlement over time in the US throughout. This book completely broke me. I have not cried while listening to and had my dreams filled with the stories of strangers in a work of nonfiction ever. I will not stop thinking of Hasna and Mu Naw, their families, what they have been through, and how we can help. Please consider reading their stories, too.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Scott Ferguson

    Wow!!! There is a reason this book was on the front page of the New York Times. It is amazing in so many ways. First, of course, are the amazing stories of two refugee families from Syria and from Myanmar. Their stories are heartfelt and I felt so connected to them, even though I have never been a refugee or been to their countries. The writing took me to those places and situations and made it real. Second, throughout the book I learned about the history of refugee policies and practices in the Wow!!! There is a reason this book was on the front page of the New York Times. It is amazing in so many ways. First, of course, are the amazing stories of two refugee families from Syria and from Myanmar. Their stories are heartfelt and I felt so connected to them, even though I have never been a refugee or been to their countries. The writing took me to those places and situations and made it real. Second, throughout the book I learned about the history of refugee policies and practices in the USA and, as I already knew, the current time is one of our lowest and most shameful times. Goudeau is a gifted writer, a dedicated friend to many, and a compassionate soul for our refugee neighbors.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    An account of two female refugees living in Austin, TX. The author also includes chapters on Refugee Resettlement Laws from 1945 to the present. One woman is Karen and is married with a family. Her marriage, in danger in Burma and Thailand, breaks in the United States. The other is from Syria and her family has died and broken apart as people had to flee in different ways. I felt bad that they ended up in Texas. Austin is a pretty liberal area of Texas and Texas loves refugees, but the pay is lo An account of two female refugees living in Austin, TX. The author also includes chapters on Refugee Resettlement Laws from 1945 to the present. One woman is Karen and is married with a family. Her marriage, in danger in Burma and Thailand, breaks in the United States. The other is from Syria and her family has died and broken apart as people had to flee in different ways. I felt bad that they ended up in Texas. Austin is a pretty liberal area of Texas and Texas loves refugees, but the pay is low, housing is expensive and Medicaid isn’t usually available to adults, and Texas didn’t expand it. It also doesn’t include dental care. The refugees struggle to get by but becomes harder once Trump comes to office. In fact the Syrian refugee ends up separated from family when Trump declares the Muslim Ban when they’re in the air and heading to the US. I was glad the author knew about the Karen and didn’t call them Burmese, she says she spent two summers in Northern Thailand and the largest Karen refugee camp is in Tak, a Northern Thai province. They’re the second largest ethic group in the world without their own country. Their land was broken into 3 countries in an 1908 treaty Siam signed with the British and French. I was more disappointed in the author’s knowledge of her Syrian refugee. Their story in Syria is told, but she fails to ascertain what ethnic group she is. Mostly Kurds were accepted into the US Resettlement Program. The Kurds are a people broken into several countries after 1918 when the Ottoman Empire broke up. They are the largest ethnic group in the world without a country. Colonial powers broke up the Ottoman lands. She might not be Kurd but I’m shocked the author didn’t find out.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kylie Martinez

    To be honest, I thought this book was a contemporary fiction book, so I was surprised that it read so factually in the beginning. But, then, as I learned more about the history of immigration laws and the story of two refugee women, I grew to appreciate The Last Border. I felt that Goudeau did a really great job at structuring her book to make you interested, while still providing you with enough background to help you frame the stories of the refugees. With the election coming up, I would urge To be honest, I thought this book was a contemporary fiction book, so I was surprised that it read so factually in the beginning. But, then, as I learned more about the history of immigration laws and the story of two refugee women, I grew to appreciate The Last Border. I felt that Goudeau did a really great job at structuring her book to make you interested, while still providing you with enough background to help you frame the stories of the refugees. With the election coming up, I would urge people to read more about immigration and—if you are like me and don’t necessarily want to comb through news articles and data reports—this book helped me see hard truths about our foreign policy.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    Oh! Oh! This book was so good. Its the first book in a while where I feel that 5 stars isn’t enough. I started it only a few days ago and I truly couldn’t put it down. The stories of two refugee women in Austin, Texas stirred me in a way few other stories ever have. I cried so many times while reading this book. It mixes chapters of Hasna and Mu Naw’s stories with facts about the history of refugee resettlement in the US, and the human toll taken by anti-refugee sentiment from the top down in re Oh! Oh! This book was so good. Its the first book in a while where I feel that 5 stars isn’t enough. I started it only a few days ago and I truly couldn’t put it down. The stories of two refugee women in Austin, Texas stirred me in a way few other stories ever have. I cried so many times while reading this book. It mixes chapters of Hasna and Mu Naw’s stories with facts about the history of refugee resettlement in the US, and the human toll taken by anti-refugee sentiment from the top down in recent years. So necessary, so gripping. I’ll be recommending this to everyone I know. (Seriously!)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Caroline Hedges

    As someone living in America on a nonresident visa, I have a empathy for anyone trying to make a life in a foreign country. What the two women lived through in their home countries is harrowing, desperate and heartbreaking. To live in fear every day, to know your home could be destroyed, your children taken from you and brutalized, I applaud these women for making tough choices in appalling circumstances. I thought the author did a great job of bringing these women's hardships to life both in the As someone living in America on a nonresident visa, I have a empathy for anyone trying to make a life in a foreign country. What the two women lived through in their home countries is harrowing, desperate and heartbreaking. To live in fear every day, to know your home could be destroyed, your children taken from you and brutalized, I applaud these women for making tough choices in appalling circumstances. I thought the author did a great job of bringing these women's hardships to life both in their home countries and in America. The refugee resettlement program is something that every decent country should have, It is sad to see the anger and frustration bubble up across America and Europe for 'these people'. Surely everyone should be reading these people's stories, learning about what it is they are escaping from, how when they arrive in their relocated country they aren't given everything for free. This book has been written at just the right time, I hope it finds its way into libraries and bookshops of America and that people will take the time to read it and show compassion for refugees from any country.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Logan Price

    A combination of personal stories and informative summaries that results in an impactful glimpse into refugees and the historical development of refugee policy. This book shows how big decisions, trends, and events affect real people. I pray the US reverses the trends we've seen the past 5 years to once again have a culture and policy that joyfully welcome refugees from all religions all over the world. Favorite Quote: To be clear: The writers who must lead these conversations and must be centere A combination of personal stories and informative summaries that results in an impactful glimpse into refugees and the historical development of refugee policy. This book shows how big decisions, trends, and events affect real people. I pray the US reverses the trends we've seen the past 5 years to once again have a culture and policy that joyfully welcome refugees from all religions all over the world. Favorite Quote: To be clear: The writers who must lead these conversations and must be centered in any discussion are those who once identified as refugees. They must always speak first.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Malcolm Everett

    This is a compassionate, carefully crafted book about those who have been displaced by war and oppression. It inspired me to read more about refugee policy in general, as well as brush up on the history that I’d forgotten from school (like McCarthyism and The Patriot Act). After the Last Border demonstrates how woefully ignorant the average American is when it comes to the refugee process. There’s so much on the individual level and behind the scenes that we don’t see—the difficulties before, du This is a compassionate, carefully crafted book about those who have been displaced by war and oppression. It inspired me to read more about refugee policy in general, as well as brush up on the history that I’d forgotten from school (like McCarthyism and The Patriot Act). After the Last Border demonstrates how woefully ignorant the average American is when it comes to the refugee process. There’s so much on the individual level and behind the scenes that we don’t see—the difficulties before, during, and after. This book bears witness to the struggles of two refugees and their families, telling the stories of a woman from Daraa, Syria at the outbreak of the civil war as well as that of a Karen woman from Myanmar, with both of them being relocated to Austin, Texas. These two narratives are interspersed with a chronology of refugee policy in the United States. I’d classify this as a “nonfiction novel,” since the narrative portions required some artistic invention. The account even traces up to the present day, demonstrating the added difficulties that resulted from the Trump administration’s “Muslim ban” and the rebranding of family reunification to “chain migration.” I hadn’t considered how the services around refugees had been dismantled as a result of that policy change; now, we will have to rebuild those networks. And I hope that the family reunification principle will become front and center again so that refugees can survive and thrive with their loved ones. At first, I was concerned that this book might repeat the mistakes of American Dirt, but from the foreword and afterword, it’s clear that Goudeau has treated this topic with sensitivity and compassion. The afterword in particular addresses the collaborative creation process of this book through her interviews with the two women and explains the reasoning behind her narrative choices, all of which gave me a deep respect for her integrity as an author. Goudeau does not include herself in this narrative at all, instead ensuring that the story remains centered on the refugees and their stories. She also includes a list of books written by refugees in the appendix for further reading. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Soneela Nankani, who did a fantastic job reading in a clear but dynamic voice. I could listen to her read books all day. (And I just now realized that I listened to her read Aru Shah and the End of Time!) On the downside, I felt distant from the secondary figures in these stories, but that was by design, as the author explains in the afterword. In an effort to make the work as anonymous as possible, characterizing details were omitted. My other two complaints are quite shallow and subjective: 1. The book was too long for my tastes. I understand, though, that the author must’ve had a tremendous amount of raw material, so it’s likely much shorter than the original draft. Plus, these are real people’s lives, and I’m sure there are portions of their own stories that they felt were important to include. 2. The focus on the minutiae bored me at times, since real life involves a lot of waiting around. That being said, witnessing the difficulties in daily tasks through the eyes of a refugee is valuable. It just doesn’t always make for a riveting reading experience. Overall, After the Last Border is a well-researched book designed to pull on the heartstrings. The author’s intent was clearly to show a general American audience—through an accessible style—the struggles of refugees. It is a call to action, delivering a universal message of empathy and humanity.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Heart-breaking yet hopeful; inspiring yet infuriating. This book was amazing. A great combo of history and personal stories. The writing was beautiful. It was neat this was written in Austin. I feel like I've been in those apartments with their flimsy furniture. I have drank tea with people from far away, both refugees and economic immigrants. There is so much goodness in our people and systems and such craziness too. I am so glad this was written and hope many read, care, and try to continually h Heart-breaking yet hopeful; inspiring yet infuriating. This book was amazing. A great combo of history and personal stories. The writing was beautiful. It was neat this was written in Austin. I feel like I've been in those apartments with their flimsy furniture. I have drank tea with people from far away, both refugees and economic immigrants. There is so much goodness in our people and systems and such craziness too. I am so glad this was written and hope many read, care, and try to continually hold the USA to our high ideals in practical ways. There are so many difference between refugees, except they all have complex trauma. But I have heard about people like the Syrian family who had a nice house and life and war ended that and while they are safer in America their quality of life isn't better (want more of those stories read The Ungrateful Refugee). While the other family had been in tents in camps so both their safety and overall quality of life is better in the states. I wonder if her mother was more like Hasna and Hasna's kids are more like her? Anyway, read this book and pray for peace and be welcoming!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This was trmy last book of 2020, and what a fitting end to the year it was. This book just blew me away, one of the best I read this year. The author tells the story of America's history of refugee settlement, from ugly horrors such as turning back a ship of Jews who returned to Germany and died in the death camps to opening our borders to accommodate people displaced by wars in Vietnam and Cambodia in the 1970s to the decision by the current administration to end much of existing refugee policy This was trmy last book of 2020, and what a fitting end to the year it was. This book just blew me away, one of the best I read this year. The author tells the story of America's history of refugee settlement, from ugly horrors such as turning back a ship of Jews who returned to Germany and died in the death camps to opening our borders to accommodate people displaced by wars in Vietnam and Cambodia in the 1970s to the decision by the current administration to end much of existing refugee policy that promoted family reunification. This history is told through the stories of two women who emigrate to Austin, Texas, one a Christian woman from Myanmar and the other a Muslim woman from Syria. Mu Naw arrived in 2007 when refuge policy supported displaced families in ways it did not when Hasna emigrated from Syria in 2016--the policies of the current administration meant that her family members could not join her. The author alternates the story of these two women and their lives in their own countries and then their lives in America--showing the desperation that led them to leave their own countries and the best and worst of life in America. I am hoping the author will write more about Hasna and her family in the future as her story in America started later than Mu Naw's. A gripping, highly readable book and an appropriate end to 2020 when we look ahead to a new administration that we hope will have a more expansive and humanitarian view about refugees

  11. 4 out of 5

    Aimee W.

    Beautiful and heart-breaking. I’ve been incredibly blessed to work with refugees in other countries but this book has inspired me to look for opportunities to meet the refugees in my own community. The way Jessica has woven the stories of two women and their families with the history and policy of the US with regard to refugees is absolutely phenomenal. I cannot recommend this book enough. I want every American to read this and to begin to grasp what it means to be a refugee and how these precio Beautiful and heart-breaking. I’ve been incredibly blessed to work with refugees in other countries but this book has inspired me to look for opportunities to meet the refugees in my own community. The way Jessica has woven the stories of two women and their families with the history and policy of the US with regard to refugees is absolutely phenomenal. I cannot recommend this book enough. I want every American to read this and to begin to grasp what it means to be a refugee and how these precious people have come to be in this situation. “No one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.” —Warsan Shire

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jess Villie

    This book was fascinating, informative, and sobering! I loved how the author wove together the personal stories of two refugee families inside of the history of refugee resettlement in the US. I recommend reading it though. It was a little difficult to keep track on audio of the shifting timelines and storylines.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Katie Proctor

    This book is INCREDIBLE. The writing is beautiful, the stories of the resilient refugee families will be ones I think about for a long time, and the information about the history of refugee policy in the US was so well-researched and put together. So good.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Wiehe

    Fantastic nonfiction book. It reads like a fiction book and breaks your heart as you are fighting for Hasna and MuNaw. The chapters on American history on refugees were equally fascinating and disappointing. I would recommend this book to everyone!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Anna Beckmeyer

    Refugees are so strong

  16. 5 out of 5

    Donna Hester

    What a fascinating way to tell two such personal stories intertwined with historical data. I challenge anyone to read it and not feel more connected to the plight of refugees. It packs a wallop but at the same time the stories are so delicately told that the seismic shift sneaks up on you. I will be thinking about this book for a long time. It’s one of those books that will forever change the way people act.

  17. 4 out of 5

    La Crosse County Library

    I probably never would have read this title without a recommendation from Booklist or Book Page. It is not a subject I normally read about [immigration]. The first-person recounting of the two women's experiences with war and being a refugee were riveting. Interspersed in their stories were explanations of U.S. immigration history and policy that helped greatly. A few days after I finished the book, I saw a news blip that the government was cutting back the number of refugees being accepted to b I probably never would have read this title without a recommendation from Booklist or Book Page. It is not a subject I normally read about [immigration]. The first-person recounting of the two women's experiences with war and being a refugee were riveting. Interspersed in their stories were explanations of U.S. immigration history and policy that helped greatly. A few days after I finished the book, I saw a news blip that the government was cutting back the number of refugees being accepted to below 50,000. I had no idea such a government program existed before this. This is not a story about refugees illegally crossing the U.S. border. It is about two women, one from Myanmar and one from Syria. The first [Mu Naw] had been in a refugee camp from childhood. The other [Hasna] whose family had tried to stay apolitical, fled to Jordan when the Syrian civil war invaded her lovely home and killed family members. Mu Naw came to Houston TX a decade before Hasna. Neither knew English and struggled with jobs and family life, even how to cook or use an air conditioner. Luckily there were support services to help. After Trump's election and travel bans in 2016-17 Hasna's family was not allowed to join her in the U.S. even though the refugee program was based on keeping families together. I would give this book a 5 since it held your attention even though it is non-fiction. Sue Stranc

  18. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Pershey

    An extraordinary book. Made me cry, made me rage. Made me consider the incredibly difficult and awe-inspiring lives of refugees. In addition to the well-researched and ethically rendered stories of Mu Naw (from Myanmar) and Hasna (from Syria), Goudeau also includes interludes outlining the history of refugee resettlement in the US. The number of refugees permitted to enter the US through the intense vetting of the Refugee Admissions Process each year is established by an annual Presidential Dete An extraordinary book. Made me cry, made me rage. Made me consider the incredibly difficult and awe-inspiring lives of refugees. In addition to the well-researched and ethically rendered stories of Mu Naw (from Myanmar) and Hasna (from Syria), Goudeau also includes interludes outlining the history of refugee resettlement in the US. The number of refugees permitted to enter the US through the intense vetting of the Refugee Admissions Process each year is established by an annual Presidential Determination. Just some numbers for your consideration. Ronald Reagan capped refugees at 142,000 in 1982. George H. W. Bush capped refugees at 142,000 in 1993. Bill Clinton capped refugees at 121,000 in 1994. Barack Obama capped refugees at 80,000 in 2009, 76,000 in 2012, and 85,000 in 2016. Donald Trump capped refugees at 18,000 in 2020, and 15,000 in 2021. I have no words for these numbers. At least not words fit for polite company. This book is definitely a contender for best book of the year for me, and I’ve read some truly excellent books this year.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Terra Brimberry

    What a timely book! Jessica Goudeau does a great job of telling difficult personal stories combined with a deep-dive into the immigration history of our country. This is well worth reading and you will learn so much about the beautiful people that are forced out of their own homes and countries and come to the US to start again - and we sure don't make it an easy journey for them. I promise it will make you take a whole new look at what you think might be the "immigration problem" in our country What a timely book! Jessica Goudeau does a great job of telling difficult personal stories combined with a deep-dive into the immigration history of our country. This is well worth reading and you will learn so much about the beautiful people that are forced out of their own homes and countries and come to the US to start again - and we sure don't make it an easy journey for them. I promise it will make you take a whole new look at what you think might be the "immigration problem" in our country.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lynne

    I won a copy of After the Last Border in a Goodreads giveaway, so thank you to Viking for providing print copies. The stories of Mu Naw and Hasna were both harrowing and inspiring, and I admire Jessica Goudreau for doing her utmost to get them right. I have always felt empathy toward refugees, but news stories more often than not turn people into numbers. I didn't need any persuading to believe that the United States should welcome refugees, and my hope is that those who doubt the humanity of th I won a copy of After the Last Border in a Goodreads giveaway, so thank you to Viking for providing print copies. The stories of Mu Naw and Hasna were both harrowing and inspiring, and I admire Jessica Goudreau for doing her utmost to get them right. I have always felt empathy toward refugees, but news stories more often than not turn people into numbers. I didn't need any persuading to believe that the United States should welcome refugees, and my hope is that those who doubt the humanity of the millions of displaced people around the world will read this book. (Unfortunately I have my doubts that they will be inclined to do so). The author put the two women's stories into context by interspersing chapters about the history of U.S. immigration policy from 1880-2018 throughout the book in a way that didn't make me feel bogged down with facts before returning to Mu Naw and Hasna's accounts of their personal experiences. Recommendations for further reading at the end of the book will keep me reading about this topic.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Aarthy

    Where do I even begin..Or more so, how do I even begin to describe such a profound work of writing and storytelling. I will admit the plight of refugees is one that is very close to my heart. Being a daughter of refugees, I always get super emotional when I think of what my parents endured having to flee war. Jessica Goudeau is a great writer. Like every review has mentioned I had to remind myself that this is not a work fiction. This is very real stories about very real people and the tragedies Where do I even begin..Or more so, how do I even begin to describe such a profound work of writing and storytelling. I will admit the plight of refugees is one that is very close to my heart. Being a daughter of refugees, I always get super emotional when I think of what my parents endured having to flee war. Jessica Goudeau is a great writer. Like every review has mentioned I had to remind myself that this is not a work fiction. This is very real stories about very real people and the tragedies that is happening now. She was able to write such powerful and heart wrenching stories in an almost beautiful way. I cannot imagine how much research, work, endless scripts, interviews, she went through but she did an amazing job. The story. I had to take so many deep breaths, even found myself to be needing a moment to meditate at the stories. The stories of both Mu Naw and Hansa are bits of every adjective I could describe. They are tragic yet powerful. Beautiful yet ugly. Happy yet deeply saddening. I kept having to utter to myself this is not fair. I cried so many times reading their stories. This stories that this book captured are so raw that I reflected on many new thoughts I had never thought of before. For example, the way she explores complex trauma in refugees through Mu Naw and Hansa. As a daughter of refugees I can attest, like many children can that refugees are resilient. They are great providers and will go to the end of the world for their children. But having lived though humanity's worst crisis, it is not a secrete that many of them have mental health issues. The way the author describes both the new mothers, having to navigate a new country, the depression, fear and uncertainly that kicks in and how that fundamentally changes them as a human being - it really hit home for me. I was able to learn and understand some questions I had about my parents through this book. In fact it made me really wish I could have understood their trauma more as a child. This book is probably one of the dearest things I have ever read. I am so glad it came my way. I hope refugees in the world find peace one day.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nivee

    What a phenomenal read. It is as captivating as it is heart-breaking as Jessica Goudeau shares the story of two refugee families, told between the lines of American history with refugees, politics and resettlement. Her writing captures the hardships, love, and complexities of Mu Naw and Hasna and their families, but is ultimately a reflection of the lives and journey that many refugees take as they flee to seek safety and security, and leave everything behind. Reading this, I almost feel like I What a phenomenal read. It is as captivating as it is heart-breaking as Jessica Goudeau shares the story of two refugee families, told between the lines of American history with refugees, politics and resettlement. Her writing captures the hardships, love, and complexities of Mu Naw and Hasna and their families, but is ultimately a reflection of the lives and journey that many refugees take as they flee to seek safety and security, and leave everything behind. Reading this, I almost feel like I know Mu Naw and Hasna. As a first-generation Canadian-Tamil, and growing up at a time where the number of displaced individuals is at its highest, while developed countries continue to grow with wealth and resources, this was another example of what's wrong in the world and with us humans. Stories of the millions of people struggling and fleeing and trying to rebuild their lives are not a story of them vs. us, but a story about humans period. We need to do better. It is easy to see the amount of research, and consideration that went into writing this, everything from the details that were gathered about the women's lives to the chapters on American history and politics, both providing context to the journey's the journey's that bring refugees to America and their lives thereafter. As many readers agree, from time to time I found myself in disbelief that this is a non-fictional read, not because of the context of what is written, but instead the style of writing. I don't know much about resettlement programs for refugees, but when reading about American history and then seeing how much was unraveled over the last 4 years... is unbelievable. I hope that the remaining agencies are able to continue on for the next couple months in hope that this election brings a better voice to American policies. I don't think I have read something quite like this, and this book deserves more recognition than it has currently received. A MUST READ, refugee policies and politics is something we all need to be knowledgeable about as a global community, so EDUCATE.

  23. 5 out of 5

    bamlinden

    I’ve not read a more compelling book in a long time. This could rank in my all-time top five very easily. After The Last Border is a three-pronged story. Mu Naw is a Christian from Myanmar, who did everything she could to survive for decades in refugee camps in Thailand. Hasna is a Muslim from Syria who loved her country, the sense of community and support she felt and was blessed with a large and loving family. Her path eventually led to her being forced from her country due to civil unrest, Th I’ve not read a more compelling book in a long time. This could rank in my all-time top five very easily. After The Last Border is a three-pronged story. Mu Naw is a Christian from Myanmar, who did everything she could to survive for decades in refugee camps in Thailand. Hasna is a Muslim from Syria who loved her country, the sense of community and support she felt and was blessed with a large and loving family. Her path eventually led to her being forced from her country due to civil unrest, They both have separate, but equally captivating journeys that would see them end up in Austin, Texas as part of the American refugee program - a program that has had its own long and storied history (that is examined in depth). These three stories are beautifully intertwined, each providing a very vivid sense of surrounding and urgency. Each chapter painted a scene that I felt I was a part of. I was in the buildings, running alongside them as they escaped their dire situations and I was reaching out to console as they battled just huge challenges that I have never even had to consider, let alone face. The stories are both tragic and inspiring, hopeless and yet breathe a spirit of optimism that I can’t shake. These women epitomize resilience...and to such a different level than I could possibly fathom. The moments of happiness in this book are the truest sense of joy. Simple, honest and authentic. The challenges and despair are images that I can’t even register at times. But to read it in this context, feels more real than any news story or magazine article. These are real people...whose voices resonate louder than ever in my head. Author Jessica Goudeau does an outstanding job in carefully crafting these stories. The names have been changed, some aspects and details altered to protect those she is writing about. But the message and humanity shines through vibrantly. The captivating stories of Mu Naw and Hasna are often heartbreaking, but their resiliency is undeniable. Highest recommendation on this one.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Danielle Patterson Raphale

    This book traces the real-life narratives of two different refugee women, one from Myanmar and one from Syria, through the tragic upheaval of their and their families' lives due to religious, ethnic and political persecution by their home countries' governments. Interspersed between their stories Goudeau has written a beautifully well-explained summarization of the history of US attitudes and policies around refugee resettlement in the US. To me, it has often felt difficult to understand the sit This book traces the real-life narratives of two different refugee women, one from Myanmar and one from Syria, through the tragic upheaval of their and their families' lives due to religious, ethnic and political persecution by their home countries' governments. Interspersed between their stories Goudeau has written a beautifully well-explained summarization of the history of US attitudes and policies around refugee resettlement in the US. To me, it has often felt difficult to understand the situations in places like Syria and Myanmar, to keep straight the different groups and factions fighting and the US involvement (or lack thereof). Goudeau's writing has made all that feel clear to me now, something for which I am truly grateful. Her compassionate, engaging narrative makes the women you are reading about feel like good friends of yours, their families your families, their children your children, their fears and losses your fears and losses. You cannot not read this book without shedding tears of sorrow and outrage. I know I held my toddler son tighter these past few days. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning about the experiences of refugees, who wants to gain a better understanding of the plight of refugee settlement in our political present day, or to anyone who wants to read a book that is so gripping they will stay up late and wake up early just to sneak in one more chapter.

  25. 4 out of 5

    JoBeth

    One of the best books I've read narrating and illuminating the lives of refugees. "Mu Naw, a Christian from Myanmar struggling to put down roots with her family, was accepted after decades in a refugee camp at a time when America was at its most open to displaced families; and Hasna, a Muslim from Syria, agrees to relocate as a last resort for the safety of her family--only to be cruelly separated from her children by a sudden ban on refugees from Muslim countries. Writer and activist Jessica Go One of the best books I've read narrating and illuminating the lives of refugees. "Mu Naw, a Christian from Myanmar struggling to put down roots with her family, was accepted after decades in a refugee camp at a time when America was at its most open to displaced families; and Hasna, a Muslim from Syria, agrees to relocate as a last resort for the safety of her family--only to be cruelly separated from her children by a sudden ban on refugees from Muslim countries. Writer and activist Jessica Goudeau tracks the human impacts of America's ever-shifting refugee policy as both women narrowly escape from their home countries and begin the arduous but lifesaving process of resettling in Austin--a city that would show them the best and worst of what America has to offer." I found the structure breathtakingly effective. Goudeau alternates Mu Naw's and Hasna's family stories, occasionally interspersing a short chapter on the history US refugee policies, just about the time I was thinking, "So why can't they...?" I recommend the book highly to anyone wanting to understand US refugee policies and the impact they have on the lives of two very different and equally compelling women and their families.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    Excellent account of two refugee women and their families, set within the framework of a century of refugee resettlement policy in the US. As someone who works within the US refugee admissions program and has spent a lot of time with Syrians of all stripes and Burmese ethnic minorities, I’m impressed with what this book manages to distill and humanize. The stories of “Mu Naw” (a Karen woman from Myanmar who spent time in Thai refugee camps) and “Hasna” (a Syrian woman from Daraa who fled to Jord Excellent account of two refugee women and their families, set within the framework of a century of refugee resettlement policy in the US. As someone who works within the US refugee admissions program and has spent a lot of time with Syrians of all stripes and Burmese ethnic minorities, I’m impressed with what this book manages to distill and humanize. The stories of “Mu Naw” (a Karen woman from Myanmar who spent time in Thai refugee camps) and “Hasna” (a Syrian woman from Daraa who fled to Jordan) track their journeys to Austin, Texas, and the journeys of other family members as well. Definitely recommend to anyone looking for an accessible window into “refugee” life (which is the story of any human life when external unbidden realities force a family to leave a home, never a decision taken lightly, and far from the only defining feature about those humans) and refugee policy in the United States, especially the consequences of Trump and Stephen Miller from 2017-2020 (also covered in devastating detail in Border Wars).

  27. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    This was another book recommended by my mom. I loved how the book alternated between the stories of women seeking refuge, to the history of refugees in the US. It was devastating to consider the shock families encounter when they leave everything they know to live in a westernized, individualized country. This book also helped me understand more about the crisis in Syria. This book would also be a great one to recommend to someone who may benefit from having their view on Trump challenged. You g This was another book recommended by my mom. I loved how the book alternated between the stories of women seeking refuge, to the history of refugees in the US. It was devastating to consider the shock families encounter when they leave everything they know to live in a westernized, individualized country. This book also helped me understand more about the crisis in Syria. This book would also be a great one to recommend to someone who may benefit from having their view on Trump challenged. You get really invested into these women’s stories and at the end of the book, you learn about the incredibly tragic impact of the ‘Trump travel ban’ ( or more accurately... the racist Muslim ban). It’s not explicitly ‘anti-Trump’ but it does highlight how horrific this policy was.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    This book is fantastic and something everyone should read. Goudeau takes you to Myanmar and Thailand with Mu Naw. You can imagine yourself in Syria and Jordan with Hasna. The picture of them in their small apartments in Austin is clear. She also paints an amazing picture of the trials these families faced not only before they came to the United States but also after arrival. You probably have an idea in your head of what you imagine a refugee to be and you're probably wrong. This book is a great This book is fantastic and something everyone should read. Goudeau takes you to Myanmar and Thailand with Mu Naw. You can imagine yourself in Syria and Jordan with Hasna. The picture of them in their small apartments in Austin is clear. She also paints an amazing picture of the trials these families faced not only before they came to the United States but also after arrival. You probably have an idea in your head of what you imagine a refugee to be and you're probably wrong. This book is a great opportunity to get some information about real people put into horrible, no-win situations.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Marla

    I loved this book. The format was interesting. It went back and forth telling the stories of two separate refugee women, each of these stories took place at different times in recent history. Each woman has a different country or origin. Interspersed with these stories Jessica gives a retelling if the history of refugee resettlement policy in the US. I learned a lot I didn’t know. I loved getting a glimpse outside of my own small worldview, and into the lives of these two women and their familie I loved this book. The format was interesting. It went back and forth telling the stories of two separate refugee women, each of these stories took place at different times in recent history. Each woman has a different country or origin. Interspersed with these stories Jessica gives a retelling if the history of refugee resettlement policy in the US. I learned a lot I didn’t know. I loved getting a glimpse outside of my own small worldview, and into the lives of these two women and their families. It makes me want to learn more and become more involved in the process of welcoming and caring for refugees.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Close

    This is by far one of the best books I have read this year. The stories completely enveloped me. I now feel like I personally know Mu Naw and Hasna. I feel as if I carry their stories deep in my heart. I loved how the background on US refugee policy woven throughout the book, allowing the stories to give a face for the policies.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.