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Publisher's Summary

The incredible true story of a boy living in war-torn Somalia who escapes to America - first by way of the movies, years later through a miraculous green card.

Abdi Nor Iftin first fell in love with America from afar. As a child, he learned English by listening to American pop artists like Michael Jackson and watching films starring action heroes like Arnold Schwarzenegger. When US marines landed in Mogadishu to take on the warlords, Abdi cheered the arrival of these real Americans, who seemed as heroic as those of the movies.

Sporting American clothes and dance moves, he became known around Mogadishu as Abdi American, but when the radical Islamist group al-Shabaab rose to power in 2006, it suddenly became dangerous to celebrate Western culture. Desperate to make a living, Abdi used his language skills to post secret dispatches to NPR and the Internet, which found an audience of worldwide listeners. But as life in Somalia grew more dangerous, Abdi was left with no choice but to flee to Kenya as a refugee.

In an amazing stroke of luck, Abdi won entrance to the United States in the annual visa lottery, though his route to America - filled with twists and turns and a harrowing sequence of events that nearly stranded him in Nairobi - did not come easily. Parts of his story were first heard on the BBC World Service and This American Life. Abdi Nor Iftin' is now a proud resident of Maine, on the path to citizenship, and his dramatic, deeply stirring memoir is truly a story for our time: a vivid reminder of why Western democracies still beckon to those looking to make a better life.

©2018 Abdi Nor Iftin (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Absolutely remarkable and always as compelling as a novel… An essential immigrant story, one that is enlightening and immediate." (Booklist)

"[A] wrenching yet hopeful autobiography... Iftin’s extraordinary saga is not just a journey of self-advancement but a quest to break free from ethnic and sectarian hatreds." (Publishers Weekly)

"A searing memoir...that impressively remains upbeat, highly inspiring, and always educational." (Kirkus)

What members say

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Gripping

Sometimes we cant even imagine the lengths through which people have to go through to make a better life for themselves. Because of Abdi's courage and unshakable faith I am a stronger person... I no longer take for granted the privileges that have been afforded to me by my predecessors...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Exquisitely told autobiography!

Call Me American is the life of a Somali boy and his family as they struggle to survive in Somalia during the civil war, fall of government, and the rise of Al-Shabaab and the restrictive life imposed on the citizens. Abdi ability to create a world through his words I felt as if I was next to him as he grew and became a man who won opportunity to come to America with a visa and green card.

He also gives us some chapters about the struggle to find his place in America. His challenges in becoming American and yet be a Muslim during a very prejudiced and ignorant time in the United States.

Thank you Abdi Nur Iftin for sharing and allow us to see through your eyes and understand through your words how things were in Somalia during the 90’s and on. I wish your family health and well being. In time I hope that change will continue to happen and the United States will continue to evolve so that your brother and others may get to live in a country where Freedom is cherished, celebrated, and fought for and endured for us all.

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Loved this

With the debate over immigration raging in America this should be a must read book

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  • Brian
  • LAKE FOREST, CA, United States
  • 07-14-18

Understanding both sides of immigration

I think the book does a great job on providing perspective not only from immigration issues but the need to have stronger vetting and at the same time allow for Refugee immigration. there is a sweet spot and they both can coexist. But allowing extreme reaction on either side is also not helpful. great book great insight. Motivational and shows the benefit of positive thinking.

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  • MM
  • 07-10-18

A must read

Amazing and heart touching story. This is a must-read for anyone with refugees in their communities. I’ll be buying a copy for each of my kids.

Welcome to America, Abdi Nor Iftin!