• Notes on a Foreign Country

  • An American Abroad in a Post-American World
  • By: Suzy Hansen
  • Narrated by: Kirsten Potter
  • Length: 10 hrs and 25 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (198 ratings)

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Notes on a Foreign Country

By: Suzy Hansen
Narrated by: Kirsten Potter
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Publisher's Summary

In the wake of the September 11 attacks and the US-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.

©2017 Suzy Hansen (P)2017 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What listeners say about Notes on a Foreign Country

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  • Overall
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A MUST-READ for all Truth-Seeking American wh

Like the author of this book I too was brainwashed and misled about our country's past and even the present. I actually came to the U.S. with my family in 1971 from India when I was 7 and have been here since. I am also a female, moderate Muslim on a journey to seek the truth about the role America played in Muslim countries. There HAD to be a valid reason why so many Muslims abroad are so ANGRY and even violent towards The West.

Suzy's book not only helped me pull out of my amnesia but it also opened Pandora's box on America's ugly doings all around the world that history books don't share. I had an educational awakening. I liked it when Suzy was asked, "why is it that we know your history (because of America's involvement in their country) but you do not know ours?" In today's dirty political climate it's our responsibility to educate ourselves about the wrong that's being done especially to the countries with little resources (perhaps because we stripped them of theirs!).

I'm recommending this book to most of my friends and family. And will probably look at the books Suzy quotes from. I appreciate her bravery to travel as she has and to become better informed about the country we love and call home. But there is work to be done. Big time.

6 people found this helpful

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Timely read on Muslim perception of the U.S .

This book I think is written primarily for Americans seeking a better understanding of the role of the US in the Middle East. She does this in a most effective way by writing about her own transformation and understanding of the Muslim world and why we have failed to understand it. Much of this is gleaned from the relationships she formed during her years living as a journalist in Istanbul as well as her travels in the region. This book challenged my own thinking and I feel gave me a better understanding of the history in this region and the US's role in complicating it. This has been one of my favorite books this year. Frankly I am at a loss to find other books on this region that are as moving as this one.

5 people found this helpful

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One of the most transformative books I have ever read!

This is an an amazing, eye-opening book. I will never think the same again about America's role in the world again.

5 Stars. Highly recommended!
--The Rev. Stephen York

5 people found this helpful

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Insightful, interesting and eye-opening - must read for all Americans

What an insightful journey this book has been. I wish everyone in America read it

5 people found this helpful

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Perspectives on how the world sees us

and how we see ourselves as Americans We are no longer a superpower in the world

4 people found this helpful

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Necessary reading

Truth and perspectives at times difficult to take, but this is so well written and researched it makes a compelling case. Necessary reading for understanding America ‘s role in the world and finding a just path forward.

3 people found this helpful

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Learned so much.

I was born in Istanbul, but didn't know many things. Learned about Ataturk and U.S.A.
This book must be read by all humans.
Didn't like the narrator, she should have learned real Turkish names. She was reading /talking like Americans will pronounce them.

3 people found this helpful

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Incredibly boring

I stopped with an hour left. The story isn't enthralling at all. It's 10 hours of reading an encyclopedia.

2 people found this helpful

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AMERICA'S CHALLENGE

In her thirties, Suzy Hansen chooses to relocate to Turkey, in part because of a writing assignment but also as a life changing experience. Hansen’s view of the world is disappointing in that it represents a population cohort positioned to inherit America’s future. Hansen reports facts with a journalist’s interpretation of other’s perception of American foreign policy without history’s context.

Hansen presumes America is in decline. America is not in decline, but other countries are advancing, and America is becoming an equal, not a hegemon. The lesson America must re-learn is the importance of sovereignty and culture difference. There should be no more Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan invasions. This is not to argue isolationism which seems implied by Hansen’s stories. America must use its financial strength to influence other nations to become better stewards of their citizens, whether through democratic ideals or their chosen form of governance.

Hansen ignores many facts to make her case for America’s failures. It is difficult to listen to “Notes on a Foreign Country” because it only reports on mistakes, not America’s example as a free Republic.

1 person found this helpful

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Hard but Must read for ALL Americans

I should probably be giving thus book 5 stars based on content & if I Audible allowed. I would give it 4.5 stars.

This book was a hard read for me, not because of the writing but because it busted my fantasy of the USA. I still love my country (the USA) however after this read I look at it differently. I must say I don't believe everything she said about the USA & some of the other countries' events (maybe & probably naively so) but wow the things I did learned & look at differently (because i read this book) are significant.

1 person found this helpful