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Suzy Hansen | Notes on a Foreign Country

The Midtown Scholar Bookstore and the World Affairs Council of Harrisburg are pleased to welcome journalist Suzy Hansen to Harrisburg as she discusses and signs copies of her new book, Notes on a Foreign Country: An American Abroad in a Post-American World. 

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About the Book: 

In the wake of the September 11 attacks and the U.S.-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. She came to understand that anti-Americanism is not a violent pathology. It is, Hansen writes, “a broken heart . . . A one-hundred-year-old relationship.”

Blending memoir, journalism, and history, and deeply attuned to the voices of those she met on her travels, Notes on a Foreign Country is a moving reflection on America’s place in the world. It is a powerful journey of self-discovery and revelation—a profound reckoning with what it means to be American in a moment of grave national and global turmoil.

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About the Author: 

SUZY HANSEN is contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine and has written for many other publications, including Vogue, Bookforum, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, GQ, The Baffler, and The New York Review of Books. In 2007, she was awarded a fellowship from the Institute of Current World Affairs to do research in Turkey. She currently lives in Istanbul. Notes on a Foreign Country is her first book.

Earlier Event: September 22
Nathaniel Gadsden's Spoken Word Cafe
Later Event: September 26
Coffee, Cake, and True Islam