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A Man of Good Hope
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Published:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2015
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In January 1991, when civil war came to Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, two-thirds of the city's population fled. Among them was eight-year-old Asad Abdullahi. His mother murdered by a militia, his father somewhere in hiding, he was swept alone into the great wartime migration that scattered the Somali people throughout sub-Saharan Africa and the world.This extraordinary book tells Asad's story. Serially betrayed by the people who promised to care for him, Asad lived his childhood at a skeptical remove from the adult world, his relation to others wary and tactical. He lived in a bewildering number of places, from the cosmopolitan streets of inner-city Nairobi to the desert towns deep in the Ethiopian hinterland.By the time he reached the cusp of adulthood, Asad had honed an array of wily talents. At the age of seventeen, in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, he made good as a street hustler, brokering relationships between hard-nosed businessmen and bewildered Somali refugees. He also courted the famously beautiful Foosiya, and, to the astonishment of his peers, seduced and married her.Buoyed by success in work and in love, Asad put twelve hundred dollars in his pocket and made his way down the length of the African continent to Johannesburg, South Africa, whose streets he believed to be lined with gold. And so began a shocking adventure in a country richer and more violent than he could possibly have imagined.A Man of Good Hope is the story of a person shorn of the things we have come to believe make us human—personal possessions, parents, siblings. And yet Asad's is an intensely human life, one suffused with dreams and desires and a need to leave something permanent on this earth.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
01/06/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780385352734
ASIN:
B00LRIRBHY
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Jonny Steinberg. (2015). A Man of Good Hope. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Jonny Steinberg. 2015. A Man of Good Hope. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Jonny Steinberg, A Man of Good Hope. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Jonny Steinberg. A Man of Good Hope. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2015. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 18:33:53
Date Updated:
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        JONNY STEINBERG was born and bred in South Africa. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Three Letter Plague, published by Vintage (also published under the title Sizwe's Test), as well as Midlands and The Number, both of which won South Africa's premier nonfiction literary award, the Sunday Times Alan Paton Prize. Steinberg was also a recipient of one of the inaugural Windham Campbell Prizes. He teaches African Studies and Criminology at Oxford University.



      • name: Jonny Steinberg
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shortDescription
From one of South Africa's most distinguished journalists-the wrenching, masterfully told story of a Somali man whose life has been shaped equally by violence, displacement, and fierce determination.

Asad Abdullahi's life has been one of brutality and struggle, but also of remarkable strength of spirit. He was forced into exile in 1991 at the age of eight after witnessing his mother's murder by Somali militiamen. On his own he moved from town to town, country to country, refugee camp to refugee camp, relying on strangers and distant relatives but often left to fend for himself. When Jonny Steinberg first met Asad in 2010, he and his wife and son were living in a desolate displaced persons camp in South Africa, victims of violence against foreign nationals and seeking what seemed unattainable refugee status in America. From interviews with Asad himself and with people in Europe and the United States who knew Asad's parents, from reports of nongovernmental...
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title
A Man of Good Hope
fullDescription

In January 1991, when civil war came to Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, two-thirds of the city's population fled. Among them was eight-year-old Asad Abdullahi. His mother murdered by a militia, his father somewhere in hiding, he was swept alone into the great wartime migration that scattered the Somali people throughout sub-Saharan Africa and the world.

This extraordinary book tells Asad's story. Serially betrayed by the people who promised to care for him, Asad lived his childhood at a skeptical remove from the adult world, his relation to others wary and tactical. He lived in a bewildering number of places, from the cosmopolitan streets of inner-city Nairobi to the desert towns deep in the Ethiopian hinterland.
By the time he reached the cusp of adulthood, Asad had honed an array of wily talents. At the age of seventeen, in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, he made good as a street hustler, brokering relationships between hard-nosed businessmen and bewildered Somali refugees. He also courted the famously beautiful Foosiya, and, to the astonishment of his peers, seduced and married her.
Buoyed by success in work and in love, Asad put twelve hundred dollars in his pocket and made his way down the length of the African continent to Johannesburg, South Africa, whose streets he believed to be lined with gold. And so began a shocking adventure in a country richer and more violent than he could possibly have imagined.
A Man of Good Hope is the story of a person shorn of the things we have come to believe make us human—personal possessions, parents, siblings. And yet Asad's is an intensely human life, one suffused with dreams and desires and a need to leave something permanent on this earth.

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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content: "Steinberg, (Sizwe's Test, 2008), an intuitively gentle writer, patiently and thoughtfully teases out the memories of a young Somali man, Asad Abdullahi, a 'boy kicked through life like a stone,' often using Asad's own words....Steinberg's book includes simple maps of Asad's long journey to find refugee status in America, one that covers decades of memories, some beautiful (his mother's plaited hair) and many disturbing (beatings, deaths, homelessness, and loss)....Steinberg himself retraces some of Asad's steps, and his caring, questioning prose illuminates how, after all Asad has endured and all he remembers, he can still be a man who carries hope with him. A remarkable story, skillfully etched." Library Journal "Steinberg succeeds in illuminating the history, sociology, and even some of the complex politics of the Somali people dispersed throughout eastern and Southern Africa....Important for readers interested in conflicts in Africa."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        September 8, 2014
        South African journalist Steinberg (Sizwe’s Test) vividly recounts one Somali man’s experience of diaspora, resulting in a book that is part biography and part contemporary history. Steinberg first met Asad Abudullahi in 2010, in the wake of the South African riots that targeted the thousands of refugees, among them Asad, drawn there by the promise of a better life. In 1991, Asad, not yet in his teens, fled the anarchy in his native country, ending up in Kenya. He honed his survival instincts in Nairobi’s slums before traveling to Ethiopia in search of members of his fractured family. In Ethiopia, he found work as a truck driver’s assistant and grew “broad shouldered and tall,” his body a “badge of elegance… legacy of hardship.” When Asad eventually reached South Africa in 2004, he took on the dangerous work of running a shop in one of the country’s poorest townships. The gaps in Asad’s account sometimes elicit skepticism from Steinberg, but, on the whole, his deep empathy for his subject overrules his doubts. The extent of Asad’s loneliness struck Steinberg during one interview where he began to comprehend the tenuous, fleeting nature of Asad’s connections to everyone he encountered during his harrowing odyssey. The book’s subject matter may be unfamiliar to most Americans, but Steinberg’s thoughtful approach and Asad’s attitude of droll resilience make for a tale that any reader can appreciate.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        November 1, 2014
        Steinberg (Little Liberia: An African Odyssey in New York City, 2011, etc.) weaves together the many personas of a man whose story is at once unique and an archetypal example of an all-too-large collective.Asad Abdullahi is many things: refugee, entrepreneur, father, dreamer. In the beginning, though, his identity was simple: a happy child with loving parents living in a city he called his own. That city was Mogadishu, Somalia, and in 1991, Asad's idyllic family life was shattered due to their identity as members of the Daarood tribe. When violence against Daarood men became common, Asad's father started sleeping away from home to keep the family safe. One morning, he simply didn't return. Soon after, Asad's mother was murdered by militiamen. As his family and other Daarood refugees fled the violence and eventually their country, Asad was repeatedly separated from those he knew and loved. Upon his eventual arrival in Kenya, the ritual of leaving everything he knew behind became the norm. He created new, nontraditional family units, but he always separated himself from them because, as Steinberg writes, "he is a person with an enormous appetite for risk." Asad's adolescent years were marked by a pattern of being taken in and looked after just long enough for him to believe he could improve his life by moving on. So he moved continuously on and sometimes up, carrying the scars of failures and mistakes with him along the way. Steinberg's solid prose is perfect for the task of sharing Asad's history. He probes the darkest moments of his subject's life without ever becoming maudlin, telling the story starkly and bluntly. He ably demonstrates to readers Asad's absolute refusal to give up while reminding them that, despite his tribulations, in many ways, his path was his own to form. For truly capturing the power of dreams and the resilience of human nature, this book deserves a wide audience.

        COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        December 1, 2014

        South African journalist Steinberg (African studies & criminology, Oxford Univ.; Three Letter Plague) follows Assad Abdullahi from the time the eight-year-old Assad witnessed his mother murdered in their Mogadishu home by rival clan militiamen bent on overthrowing the government of Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, through stays with and separations from distant refugee relatives in Kenya and Ethiopia, to years of struggle to survive and support others in postapartheid South Africa, where the native population subjected the Somalis among them to theft, violence, and death. Through chronicling the life of this courageous and determined young man, Steinberg succeeds in illuminating the history, sociology, and even some of the complex politics of the Somali people dispersed throughout eastern and southern Africa. Based on interviews with Assad conducted during three years in South Africa and with people who knew him or his family members elsewhere in Africa and England, Steinberg presents a more sympathetic view of Somali culture (as personified by Assad and those close to him) than Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Nomad, though he ignores none of the worst manifestations of Assad's people. VERDICT Important for readers interested in conflicts in Africa. [See Prepub Alert, 7/28/14.]--Joel Neuberg, Santa Rosa Junior Coll. Lib., CA

        Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        November 1, 2014
        Steinberg (Sizwe's Test, 2008), an intuitively gentle writer, patiently and thoughtfully teases out the memories of a young Somali man, Asad Abdullahi, a boy kicked through life like a stone, often using Asad's own words: My fear was a very lonely fear, brother. When he was just eight, right after his father disappeared, Asad's mother was shot to death in front of him, and his long, fragmented odyssey began, extending from Somalia to Kenya, Ethiopia, and South Africa. Steinberg's book includes simple maps of Asad's long journey to find refugee status in America, one that covers decades of memories, some beautiful (his mother's plaited hair) and many disturbing (beatings, deaths, homelessness, and loss). Still, stretching behind him were his tribal and family connections, however tenuous and fragile, that made him feel he belonged, however transparently. Steinberg himself retraces some of Asad's steps, and his caring, questioning prose illuminates how, after all Asad has endured and all he remembers, he can still be a man who carries hope within him. A remarkable story, skillfully etched.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

popularity
66
publisher
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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