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Behind the Burqa: Our Life in Afghanistan and How We Escaped to Freedom by”Sulima” and “Hala” as told to Batya Swift Yasgur (2002)

An inspiring story of two women who escaped a tragic and unfortunately common lifestyle in Afghanistan and who fled to the United States. An engaging read that includes a brief section on resources for helping the current refugee situation, as well as insight into just how difficult it can be to enter the United States even after one has landed here with the promise of freedom.

5/5

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Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do by Claude M. Steele (2011)

The title of the book was taken from the story of a black man who realized he could dissuade white people’s fear by whistling classical music. Steele, a social psychologist, reveals how stereotypes perpetuate themselves and how the fear of being stereotyped affects human behavior. An interesting read, though a bit too reliant on controlled research experiments at the expense of offering the everyday examples and practical steps that I was hoping to find here.                                                                                                                                               4/5

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His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph Ellis (2005)

      A thorough look into both the political and personal life of our first president. This book does a notable job at humanizing the man who is often sequestered to the extreme of sainthood. Follows his journeys as an upstanding military figure to his days as a reluctant but successful national leader. Occasionally bogged in details, but a rewarding read nonetheless.

4/5

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