An American Story

Sometimes the best way to quash fear is to show the outcome. While this doesn’t always seem possible in the moment, the human experience is both narrow and vast enough to identify parallels throughout history. In “They Were Immigrants: The Lasting Legacy of my Syrian Grandparents,” Samuel J. Davis does just that and more.

Davis lays out a genuine story of two immigrant families which resulted in his and his family’s existence, prosperity, and love. He does so unflinchingly by revealing both the legends of early generations that were triumphantly shared at the dinner table and the hidden stories that spoke of imperfections.

In telling the story, Davis explicitly states the relevance of this type of story to America today. A reader finds themselves understanding how this very moment was the necessary one for self and family reflection of both a personal past and one that is shared with nearly all Americans.

The cadence is much like a series of short stories that are connected, but allow the reader to hop around to see how particular stories carry through. While this story has wide appeal, audiences who would most find use in this book would be:

  • high school teachers of American history or immigration curriculum
  • college professors or college students focused on personal narrative
  • families of early 20th immigrants seeking a way to start a conversation about their own past

My own copy of this book has been shared with a Little Free Library in the Midwest US. This review copy was self-paid and I received no benefit for this review. You may also be interested in my previous review of a similar family personal account with broad relevance.

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