Kahassai fled the Ethiopian Red Terror that killed his father and hundreds of thousands of others, trekking through a snake-infested jungle while hyenas followed him at night to find safety. Georgette crossed the Congo while the Hutus and Tutsis struggled for control as millions of defenseless people were murdered and displaced.
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Asmi and Leela were children in Bhutan when soldiers burned their villages and drove out the Nepalese-speaking Hindus. Roy narrowly escaped Afghanistan after the Americans began bombing Kabul to drive our the Taliban. Mahn made it out of Vietnam only after his 22nd attempt. Mohammed survived daily beatings when imprisoned in Syria, though many of his fellow prisoners died.
What do these people have in common beyond tales of horror and hardship that caused them to flee their countries, leaving their homes, families, and previous lives behind? They all found a new place to live in Denver, Colorado, in the middle the country. But would they be welcome? Would they find a new home, a new beginning, in the "Queen City of the Plains", the golden door to their future? Or would they forever be the homeless, the tempest-tost?
In Tempest-Tost, author Robert Dodge attempts to answer that question by describing the circumstances that caused these Denver refugees to flee their homes and their experiences after they arrived in the Denver. This is the refugee story behind the headlines and political posturing. This is what coming to America has meant to refugees in America, as represented by various refugees communities that over the years have come to think of Denver, Colorado, as home.
Through their eyes.
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What members say
As americans its easy to lose sight of what others have to go through. Great deep dive on shat refugees go through.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
- Krystal S.
A timely listen for today's refugee narrative
This book is a very timely read, not only for what's going on in the United States and with the president we currently have, but also for anyone to better understand what it means to be a refugee, the process it takes to become a refugee, and the challenges that refugees deal with once resettling in a new country.
Robert Dodge does a very good job telling the story of refugees through the lens of the Denver, Colorado, community. A strong point in his favor is how he alternated the chapters with cold, hard facts, brief histories of the countries the refugees were fleeing, and then followed it up with personal anecdotes from refugees who have found their way to Denver and the stories of how they got there. It gave a nice balance to the book and really informed the reader (or listener, in my case).
I thought his chapters that focused on the facts, however, were stronger than those featuring the refugees. As I listened to the audiobook, the refugees' stories were incredibly moving, but I wanted more in-depth features on them. It felt more like a long form news feature than a book. I just wanted more personal stories to really get a feel for who these refugees were. In a sense, I wanted to know them in my heart and feel their pain.
As for the narrator, Benjamin Fife, I felt he did a decent job, though his accents sometimes made me uncomfortable. This was my first time listening to a nonfiction book, so I don't know if narrators typically attempt accents of the people that are quoted, but it didn't always sit right with me. Notably, I felt the Vietnamese accent toward the end of the book was very unfortunate. I had a laugh, however, at the attempt at Bush's Texas accent. I think the production of the audiobook could also have been better as I often heard static or rustling as the narrator went along, and sometimes Fife wasn't always steady in his delivery. However, I have definitely listened to worse narrators and those minor issues never turned me away from the book.
I received this book for free at my request and have provided this voluntary review.
- Darrell Wong
Full disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
Tempest-Tost describes the experiences of several refugees who had to flee their homelands for one reason or another; with the underlying cause due to persecution and the desire for a better life. Now the refugees in the story didn't just pack up immediately and move out at the first sign of trouble and never look back. They tried to live in their homelands, but couldn't and have aspirations to return when/if the situation improves in their homeland.
Believe this old adage fits the story best, "before you judge someone, walk a mile in their shoes". I didn't know about the sufferings of these refugees and I think I'm better for knowing their struggles. The tendency to vilify and demonize refugees is on the rise in the USA and Europe. This is similar to what LGBTQ people faced in decades past. LGBTQ people were able to be more accepted by fostering understanding and acceptance. This book is trying to share experiences of some refugees and foster understanding. Now neither I nor the book are advocating for open borders; to reiterate NO open borders. But we should allow for understanding of the plight of refugees and vet them properly so that those who truly need help can get it.
I found the book enlightening and if you are interested about hearing the accounts of refugees, then pick the book up.
One thing I didn't quite like was the speed of the narration. It was more drawn out than I liked. This is the only audiobook to date that I had to speed the narration to 1.25 times the normal speed to listen.