Call Me American: A Memoir

Call Me American: A Memoir

The incredible true story of a boy living in war-torn Somalia who escapes to America--first by way of the movies; years later, through a miraculous green card.

Abdi Nor Iftin first fell in love with America from afar. As a child, he learned English by listening to American pop artists like Michael Jackson and watching films starring action heroes like Arnold Schwarzenegger. When U.S. marines landed in Mogadishu to take on the warlords, Abdi cheered the arrival of these real Americans, who seemed as heroic as those of the movies.

Sporting American clothes and dance moves, he became known around Mogadishu as Abdi American, but when the radical Islamist group al-Shabaab rose to power in 2006, it suddenly became dangerous to celebrate Western culture. Desperate to make a living, Abdi used his language skills to post secret dispatches to NPR and the Internet, which found an audience of worldwide listeners. But as life in Somalia grew more dangerous, Abdi was left with no choice but to flee to Kenya as a refugee.

In an amazing stroke of luck, Abdi won entrance to the U.S. in the annual visa lottery, though his route to America--filled with twists and turns and a harrowing sequence of events that nearly stranded him in Nairobi--did not come easily. Parts of his story were first heard on the BBC World Service and This American Life. Now a proud resident of Maine, on the path to citizenship, Abdi Nor Iftin's dramatic, deeply stirring memoir is truly a story for our time: a vivid reminder of why western democracies still beckon to those looking to make a better life.

Title:Call Me American: A Memoir
ISBN:9781524732196
Format Type:

About Abdi Nor Iftin


    Call Me American: A Memoir Reviews

  • Dan Friedman

    In his Call Me American: A Memoir, Abdi Nor Iftin provides an indispensable and eloquent addition to the canon of American immigrant literature. Iftin adroitly relates his story of growing up in Mogad...

  • Nancy

    "My future was a mystery, but at least I was leaving hell forever." from Call Me American by Abdi Nor IftinAbdi's Somalian parents were nomadic herders of camel and goats. His mother bore battle scars...

  • Linda

    In the dictionary, as a definition to the word "optimist" should be Abdi Nor Iftin's photograph. He grew up in Somalia where he learned English by watching American movies (Arnold Schwartzenegger?) an...

  • BookOfCinz

    "Call Me American" A Memior by Abdi Nor Iftin did a number on me. I felt for Abdi and what his family went through and might still be going through. The world can be so tiring at times.... *sigh*This ...

  • Katie B

    Growing up in war-torn Somalia, Abdi Nor Iftin narrowly escaped death more than a few times. Watching American movies provided a source of comfort to him and it's how he was able to learn English. But...

  • Nicole O

    This memoir tells the story of Abdi Iftin, affectionately known as Abdi American, who survives several civil wars in Somalia and comes to emigrate to America through grit, perseverance, and a little b...

  • Nicole

    I had the opportunity to hear Abdi speak with Portland’s Mayor Strimling last month and was very touched by his story. I learned a lot about Somalia from this book, and my eyes were opened even more...

  • (a)lyss(a)

    "I didn't want to die for them; I wanted to live in a beautiful American city with paved roads, gorgeous women, money, cards, and jobs."I received a copy of this book from firsttoread.com in exchange ...

  • Sarah

    I read this book early as a digital galley thanks to the First To Read program through Penguin Books. In Call Me American, Abdi Nor Iftin tells his life story, the story of a child growing up in Somal...

  • Angela Gibson

    This book is a memoir that teaches a current events lesson about Somalia and provides a first person account of what it truly means to live in a country of never ending war.The story of Abdi Nor Iftin...