An American Family, by Khizr Khan
A MEMOIR OF HOPE AND SACRIFICE
One of the very few high points of last year’s presidential campaigns was the speech at the DNC nomination convention by Gold Star father, Khizr Khan. His short, heartfelt speech was timely in reminding an increasingly disillusioned country that the strength and exceptionalism of our nation is due in large part to immigrants. Interestingly, the wildly popular Broadway show, Hamilton, also definitively reaffirms that sentiment. I would like to recommend Mr. Khan’s new book, An American Family and say that it is a story that we’ve heard countless times. This time, a bright and determined Pakastani boy from a poor farming family is able to secure an education that takes him to Dubai, then Texas, then finally to Cambridge MA to complete his law degree at Harvard. He and his wife Ghazala scrimp and make sacrifices so their three sons, one of whom is Humayun, can have the opportunity to participate in the American Dream. Humanyun begs his parents to allow him to join ROTC while at U. VA. and upon graduation, enlists. He dies while protecting his unit in Iraq, one of many Muslim service people who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. His father reluctantly accepts an invitation to speak at the convention in the wake of Trump’s proposed Muslim ban. Khan’s statement “that there are roughly 2 groups of people; those who have freedom and those who want it” are wise words to remember in these unsettled times. As others have more eloquently stated, Khizr Khan’s speech makes me want to be a better American.
Review by Sarah Ehrenson
Named by the Washington Post one of the 5 best memoirs of 2017.