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Notes on a Foreign Country

Nonfiction: Politics & Current Events
Unabridged   10.5 hour(s)
Publication date: 08/15/2017

Pulitzer Prize Finalist
New York Times Notable Book
Book Page Best of 2017

Notes on a Foreign Country

An American Abroad in a Post-American World

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781681686844
Digital Download ISBN:9781681686851


Blending memoir, journalism, and history, Notes on a Foreign Country is a moving reflection on America's place in the world. It is a powerful journey of self-discovery and revelation―a profound reckoning with what it means to be American in a moment of grave national and global turmoil.

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Product Description

In the wake of the September 11 attacks and the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Suzy Hansen, who grew up in an insular conservative town in New Jersey, was enjoying early success as a journalist for a high-profile New York newspaper. Increasingly, though, the disconnect between the chaos of world events and the response at home took on pressing urgency for her. Seeking to understand the Muslim world that had been reduced to scaremongering headlines, she moved to Istanbul.

Hansen arrived in Istanbul with romantic ideas about a mythical city perched between East and West, and with a naïve sense of the Islamic world beyond. Over the course of her many years of living in Turkey and traveling in Greece, Egypt, Afghanistan, and Iran, she learned a great deal about these countries and their cultures and histories and politics. But the greatest, most unsettling surprise would be what she learned about her own country―and herself, an American abroad in the era of American decline. It would take leaving her home to discover what she came to think of as the two Americas: the country and its people, and the experience of American power around the world.


"Hansen builds her winning argument by combining personal examination and observation with geopolitical history lessons. She is a fearless patriot, and this is a book for the brave." —Booklist Starred Review

"Remarkably revealing . . . [Hansen's] book is a deeply honest and brave portrait of an individual sensibility reckoning with her country’s violent role in the world." —New York Times

“It’s really quite simple: if you have any interest at all in how the non-Western world views America and Americans, you must read Suzy Hansen’s beautifully composed memoir Notes on a Foreign Country. . . . it should be required reading by government officials—all the way to the Oval Office.” —Hooman Majd, author of The Ayatollah Begs to Differ

Author Bio

Suzy Hansen is contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine and has written for many other publications. In 2007, she was awarded a fellowship from the Institute of Current World Affairs to do research in Turkey. She currently lives in Istanbul.