|Claudette E. Sutton||
A multi-faceted biography of her father and his long-ago journey from ancient Aleppo to skyscraper America—and against that background, Claudette Sutton offers us not only the story of the vanished Syrian-Jewish culture in Aleppo, now a battleground in Syria's civil war, but also a look at how that culture still survives, still nourishes Syrian Jews now living in America. A treasure of a book.
- Bernard Kalb, former correspondent for the New York Times, CBS News and NBC News, moderator of CNN's Reliable Sources and Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs
Claudette Sutton takes the reader on a courageous journey as she tells the story of her father, whose world changed with the winds of World War II. Farewell, Aleppo is a story of how people are shaped by their past. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to explore this rich culture that many people do not know very much about.
- Elise Cooper, Jewish Book Council
Sutton merges the best of family biography with relevant and fascinating historical, social, and religious knowledge. Farewell, Aleppo is much more than a recounting of her family’s story. 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.
- Foreword Reviews
An engaging, evocative, deeply touching book that is part memoir, part history and part a personal journey....virtually a love-story of a daughter to a father.
– James McGrath Morris, author of Pulitzer, and Eyes on the Struggle
This book is a jewel box, and Sutton's father's shimmering memories of growing up Jewish in Aleppo, Turkey, and Shanghai are the precious jewels. I could taste the food, feel the anxiety after the founding of Israel, experience the highs and lows of life in Shanghai during the Second World War. The specificity of the Mizrahi lifestyle––which continues in America to this day–– will be of great interest to readers.
- Judith Fein, author of The Spoon From Minkowitz and Life is A Trip
Sutton manages to walk that fine, fine line of making the personal universal and the universal personal. [She] interviewed her dad over a period of nearly twenty years and did a tremendous amount of research for this book, but the sprawling story of “China Mike” is somehow concise, a tidy 155 pages in a pleasing design with photos, maps, and enough historical context to complete the reader’s understanding. We are indebted to her for this outstanding book.
- Barbara Gerber, author of "Love and Death in a Perfect World"
Farewell, Aleppo: My Father, My People, and Their Long Journey Home offers the reader a graceful blend of “China Mike's” biography and a history of the Jewish people of Aleppo. When I finished Claudette Sutton's tribute, I felt I'd traveled many miles and gotten to know Miro, Son of Selim Sutton. A true father-daughter story, Farewell, Aleppo is loving, informative and unforgettable.
-Elaine Pinkerton Coleman, author of From Calcutta with Love and The Goodbye Baby
There certainly must have been something unique about the Jews of Aleppo to have allowed them to survive there for thousands of years and preserve a sense of tradition and community in America for the last 100 years. A remarkable tale of the power of family, tradition, culture and history. Makes the current devastation of Aleppo during the Syrian Civil War all the more tragic.
- Ellen Zieselman, retired Curator of Education, New Mexico Mexico Museum of Art; Youth Director, Temple Beth Shalom
Farewell, Aleppo evokes a vanished culture and celebrates the loving heart of family connection in a changing world. Claudette Sutton’s retelling of her father’s life opens a doorway into an exotic place and time, inviting us to step into this lost world and savor it. Meir Sutton’s youth in Aleppo’s ancient Jewish community, his adventures on his own in Shanghai during WWII, and his eventual relocation to the States make a fascinating read. As Meir transforms to Mike, his life branches in unexpected directions, yet throughout it all his family roots remain strong. As we share his story we can pause for a moment to consider the importance of place and family connection in our own lives. Claudette Sutton tells her father that his stories are their family jewels. Many thanks to her for sharing these beautiful treasures with us.
- Susan McDuffie, author of the award-winning Muirteach MacPhee historical mysteries
Knowing that the future of Syrian Jews were at risk, Mike Sutton had not only the courage of youth, but also the clear vision of what he must do for his family in pre-WWII Aleppo. This is both a heart-wrenching tale of the diaspora of Syrian Jews and a heart-warming peek inside a devoted family’s life.
- Judith Nasse, co-author of Millicent Rogers: A Life in Full
Vivid, heart-wrenching, humorous. Sutton’s exhaustive research and lively prose immerses the reader in the mysterious and little-known world of Aleppo’s Jewish culture during the turbulence of the Second World War.
- Nina Bunker Ruiz, writer and editor
"A treasure of a book."
- Bernard Kalb
"A must-read for anyone who wants to explore this rich culture."
- Jewish Book Council
"Engaging, evocative, deeply touching."
- James McGrath Morris
"Sutton walk(s) that fine, fine line of making the personal universal and the universal personal."
- Barbara Gerber