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Random House Publishing Group, Fall 2018

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An American Family
A Memoir of Hope and Sacrifice
By (author): Khizr Khan
9780399592515 Paperback, Trade English General Trade BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs Sep 04, 2018
$24.00 CAD
Active 5.49 x 8.25 x 0.69 in | 0.64 lb 304 pages 16-PP COLOR PHOTO INSERT Random House Trade Paperback Random House Trade Paperbacks
This deeply moving memoir by the Gold Star father and captivating DNC speaker is the story of one family’s pursuit of the American dream and why—especially in these tumultuous times—we must not be afraid to step forward for what we believe in when it matters most.

Timely and timeless, An American Family is an intensely personal immigrant story. Khizr Khan traces his remarkable journey from humble beginnings as one of ten children born on a farm in rural Pakistan, his grandfather reading Rumi beneath the moonlight and instilling in young Khizr a yearning for education that ultimately leads him to Harvard Law. A moving love story builds between Khizr and Ghazala when they meet at University, as he tries to get the girl who is out of his league. Always helping others with the little they have, the Khans move to Texas and become citizens as they build a humble, family-focused life in a place that affords them freedom and dignity. Having instilled the same ideals that brought him to America in the first place, Khan relates the heroic and tragic story of his middle son, U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, who is killed while protecting his base camp in Iraq, and the ways in which their undying pride in him and his sacrifice have helped them endure the deepest despair a parent can know. An American Family is a lyrical and intimate depiction of what being an American really means.

Story Locale: Pakistan, United States

Publication History: Random House HC (10/17)


The Khans received INTERNATIONAL ATTENTION AND ENORMOUS MEDIA COVERAGE FOR THEIR SPEECH AT THE 2016 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION, which Andrew Sullivan called “the fulcrum of [the] election.” It included what the Washington Post called “the most memorable image from the convention.”

RANDOM HOUSE READERS CIRCLE GUIDE: will include a reading guide for community reads groups, book clubs, and teachers as well as AN ACTION GUIDE for community leadership and civic engagement.

CONTINUING INFLUENCE: A minute after the speech ended, a spike in searches for “register to vote” was seen on Google, and sales of pocket Constitutions soared to the top of bestseller lists. Since that time, the subject of immigration has become even more hot-button, as President Trump has enacted his travel ban and there has been a marked rise in anti-immigration fervor.

Since the convention, the Khans have become SYMBOLS OF PATRIOTISM, COURAGE, AND SACRIFICE, giving speeches to audiences of thousands across the country.

POWERFUL, TIMELY THEMES: immigration, anti-Islamophobia, veterans’ rights, patriotism, the meaning of democracy, and standing up for the CONSTITUTIONAL rights of ALL Americans.

“I’d like to say to Mr. and Mrs. Khan: Thank you for immigrating to America. We’re a better country because of you. And you are certainly right; your son was the best of America, and the memory of his sacrifice will make us a better nation—and he will never be forgotten.”—Senator John McCain

One of The Washington Post’s 5 Best Memoirs of 2017

KHIZR KHAN was born in 1950, the eldest of ten children, in Gujranwala, a district in rural Pakistan. He moved to the United States with his wife, Ghazala, in 1980. The couple became American citizens and raised their three sons in Silver Spring, Maryland. Their middle son, U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, a graduate of the University of Virginia and its Army ROTC program, was killed in 2004 while stopping a suicide attack near Baqubah, Iraq, and was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star. Khizr Khan holds a BA degree from Punjab University, an LLB from Punjab University Law College, and an LLM from Harvard Law School. He is a member of the Bar of the United States Supreme Court, the Washington DC State Bar, the New York State Bar and the American Bar Association. The focus of Khan’s law Complex Civil Litigation Electronic Discovery, Health Privacy Compliance Law, Civil Rights and Veterans’ Rights Advocacy. He and Ghazala live in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Author Residence: Charlottesville, VA

Author Hometown: Pakistan

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An American Family is a small but lovely immigrant’s journey, full of carefully observed details from the order in which Ghazala served tea at a university event, to the schedule of the police patrols in the Boston Public Garden where Khan briefly slept while he was in between apartments, to the description of Humayun’s headstone as a ‘slab of white marble with soft streaks the color of wood smoke.’…Most importantly, the book is an effective argument for the depth of Khan’s love for and knowledge of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the amendments to it. He emerges as such an eloquent advocate for both documents, and for American values, that I finished An American Family with my own sense of patriotism and sense of civic obligation revitalized.”—Alyssa Rosenberg, The Washington Post

“[A] moving memoir…a story about family and faith, told with a poet’s sensibility…The book is a wonderful refutation of Trump’s nativism and bigotry, but it is no partisan polemic…. Khizr Khan’s book can teach all of us what real American patriotism looks like.”The New York Times Book Review

“[A] wide-eyed and eloquent memoir…A sense of wonder about America’s promise peppers the entire narrative, even as [Khan] recounts his early struggles in the country while supporting his wife and three boys…. The account is especially resonant now.”Booklist

“Sometimes it takes a newcomer to point out the beauty that old-timers take for granted. America, more than any other country, was founded upon ideals: individual freedoms, equal protection and due process of law. Khan reminds us that these ideals are worth fighting—and even dying—for. The Khans truly are the most American of families.”—BookPage

“An American Family holds its own alongside other fine memoirs of immigration and would be an inspired addition to any college or high school syllabus. The Gold Star father who spoke so movingly at the 2016 Democratic National Convention is just as affecting on the page.”Shelf Awareness (starred review)

“Self-effacing, the author writes movingly…Khan’s aspirational memoir reminds us all why Americans should welcome newcomers from all lands.”Kirkus Reviews

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