What We Are Reading Today: The Ungrateful Refugee by Dina Nayeri

Updated 10 September 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: The Ungrateful Refugee by Dina Nayeri

The Ungrateful Refugee is a clarion call for human dignity, especially for those who have been forced from their home countries.

Author Dina Nayeri details her experience fleeing Iran as a child and ties it to several other refugees’ stories — people who fled persecution and certain death to give themselves and their families a better life.

Nayeri “tears the flimsy distinction between ‘economic migrant’ and ‘refugee’ to shreds as she argues for a common humanity no matter the circumstances and reveals callous and inhumane Western attitudes and policies toward immigrants,” said a review in goodreads.com.

The Ungrateful Refugee “is a blend of memoir and nonfiction that recounts Nayeri’s experiences as a young refugee, with additional narratives from other refugees from Iran who looked to Europe and the US as safe havens only to go through years of brutal hardship and callous bureaucracy,” added the review.

“It should come as no surprise that this book is full of righteous anger at the way refugees are treated by the Western world. This is absolutely a book for our times.”


What We Are Reading Today: Sorting Out the Mixed Economy by Amy C. Offner

Updated 19 September 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Sorting Out the Mixed Economy by Amy C. Offner

In the years after 1945, a flood of US advisors swept into Latin America with dreams of building a new economic order and lifting the Third World out of poverty. 

These businessmen, economists, community workers, and architects went south with the gospel of the New Deal on their lips, but Latin American realities soon revealed unexpected possibilities within the New Deal itself, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.

 In Colombia, Latin Americans and US advisors ended up decentralizing the state, privatizing public functions, and launching austere social welfare programs. By the 1960s, they had remade the country’s housing projects, river valleys, and universities. 

They had also generated new lessons for the US itself. When the Johnson administration launched the War on Poverty, US social movements, business associations, and government agencies all promised to repatriate the lessons of development, and they did so by multiplying the uses of austerity and for-profit contracting within their own welfare state.