Al' America: Travels Through America's Arab and Islamic Roots

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$16.95  $15.76
New Press
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.0 X 1.0 inches | 0.65 pounds

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About the Author
Jonathan Curiel is a journalist in San Francisco and the author of Al' America: Travels Through America's Arab and Islamic Roots (The New Press). As a reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle, he has had his journalism on Arabs and Muslims honored by Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. He has taught as a Fulbright scholar at Pakistan's Punjab University and researched the history of Islamic architecture as a Thomason Reuters Foundation Research Fellow at England's Oxford University. He lives in San Francisco, California.
Jon Curiel author of Al' America: Travels Through America's Arab and Islamic Roots wins 2008 American Book Award.
Amid a heightened wave of xenophobia directed at Arabs and Muslims, San Francisco Chronicle writer Curiel reminds readers of a rich store of cultural borrowings and relationships that have gone deep into the very fabric of American society, including its most precious symbols and artifacts. While many will readily recall the Arabic strains in 1960s rock groups like the Doors, less obvious is the formative personal background at work in a classic like Miserlou (Turkish for The Egyptian) by Dick Dale. Still fewer Americans are likely aware of the blues' significant debt to Arab and Muslim musical traditions (imported by Muslim West Africans kidnapped into slavery). While the relative interest and import of these and other examples varies, Curiel's cultural odyssey moves swiftly and engagingly across time and geography, as he excavates everything from the Moorish architecture of New Orleans and the Alamo to the stories of the Arab and Muslim victims among the 9/11 World Trade Center dead. His research and focused interviews with leading scholars and musicians yield many surprises and leave little doubt about a crucial historical connection too easily forgotten in facile appeals to American identity.