My Father, My People, and Their Long Journey Home
Published by Terra Nova Books in print and digital formats, available through SCB Distributors and at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes. WINNER: New Mexico/Arizona 2015 Book Awards, Best History Book, and Finalist in Biography/Memoir; New Mexico Press Women 2015 Communications Contest, Second Place, Biography/Autobiography.
In the middle years of the twentieth century, the fabric of society that had swaddled the Jews of Aleppo, Syria, for more than two thousand years was being rent apart by the powerful surge of Arab anti-Semitism.
To Selim Sutton, a merchant with centuries of roots in the Syrian soil, it was clear that his family must find a new home. With several young children and no prospect of getting enough visas, he devised a savvy plan for getting his family out: “exporting” his sons. For the oldest of them, Meïr—soon to be renamed Mike—thus began an odyssey that was to take him more than halfway around the world, to Shanghai where he survived the Japanese occupation throughout World War II, and then on to a new life in America.
It is a tale that his daughter, journalist Claudette Sutton, tells now in Farewell, Aleppo, a poignant narrative blending her family’s individual lives with the broader story of a people’s survival over millennia, in their native land and far away, through the strength of their faith and their communities. Multiple threads come richly together as she observes their world from inside and outside the fold, shares an important, and nearly forgotten, epoch of Jewish history, and explores universal questions of identity, family, and culture.
Read the book Bernard Kalb, former New York Times, CBS and NBC News correspondent, calls:
"A multi-faceted biography of her father and his long-ago journey from ancient Aleppo to skyscraper America, the story of the vanished Syrian-Jewish culture in Aleppo, now a battleground in Syria's civil war, [and] a look at how that culture still survives. A treasure of a book."
Foreword Reviews says:
"Sutton merges the best of family biography with relevant and fascinating historical, social, and religious knowledge. Incorporating elements of history, religious struggles, pursuit of dreams, and the strength of kinship to create a stirring tribute to the foresight of her grandfather and the strength and perseverance of his offspring, Sutton craftily weaves interesting story lines into an encouraging and intriguing narrative."